OCdts. On Parade

William Rodney (former RRMC Professor of History/Dean of Arts)

The modern-European history exam that I gave to the science and engineering students at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria was intended to gauge the officer cadets’ knowledge of geography, current international affairs, history and their writing skills. “Who was the last Bourbon monarch of France?” was one of the questions. No one identified Charles X (1824-30). However, one enterprising cadet, rather than admit defeat, offered, “Jack Daniel.”

–William Rodney (from Reader`s Digest Humor in Uniform, 1995)

Flight Lieutenant (Ret`d) William Rodney D.F.C. is now enjoying retirement after his last posting as professor of history at Royal Roads Military College (now Royal Roads University) on Vancouver Island. He served as Dean of Arts, Royal Roads Military College 1979-88. He was born, raised and educated in Alberta. He earned a degree from the University of Alberta, then an MA from Cambridge and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He was later appointed a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the Royal Geographical Society.

Rodney has written several books, many articles and radio documentaries. For Kootenai Brown, he received the University of British Columbia’s Medal for Popular Biography. The book also won an Award of Merit and Distinction from the American Association for State and Local History. Literary awards, however, are only one aspect of Rodney’s life. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and survived an operational tour with the RAF Bomber Command. This duty was extremely hazardous, with some 50 percent of the air crew killed in action. During his service Rodney won the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

His Air Force recollections c. 9 March 2005, are in the University of Victoria Military Oral histories. Accession No. 2005-029. William Rodney`s books include: `Kootenai Brown: The Unknown Frontiersman` (2010); `Deadly Mission: Canadian Airmen Over Nuremberg, March 30/31st 1944` (2008); `Joe Boyle King of the Klondike (1974); `Soldiers of the International : A History of the Communist Party of Canada, 1919-1929` (1968); `Neutralism in the Northern NATO States` (1965).

Researched by: E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003)

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