80 Years Since Loyalty Address

*All bibliographic information and photos provided by The Martin H. Ainley Archives Centre

Born in Montreal, Norman Thomson Young was raised by his aunt and uncle in Winnipeg after his parents passed away when Young was just 2 years old. He attended the University of Manitoba and graduated in 1923 with a gold medal in history and a lieutenancy in the officers' training corps before heading to England to study at Oxford University for 2 years. He spent 4 years in Africa with the education branch of the British Colonial Service before returning to Winnipeg in 1929 where he began planning the establishment of Ravenscourt School. For the following ten years, Young used all his experience and training to work toward building a school that aimed to send out its students with "vigorous, flexible minds, rather than heads full of miscellaneous information; to teach not merely a curriculum but an attitude towards life." His legacy lives on in the school's mission to develop graduates who will pursue excellence in post-secondary studies and beyond, continue to develop creativity, curiosity and critical thinking skills, commit to a lifelong healthy lifestyle, demonstrate concern and compassion through commitment to service in the local and global community, distinguish themselves with strong leadership, communication and inter-personal skills, and approach challenges with confidence, integrity and resilience. 
Captain Young died on August 19, 1942 as he commanded 'B' Company of the Camerons on Dieppe harbour, leaving behind his wife Grace (Moody), son Christopher, and daughters Sheila, Catherine and Elspeth.  

Below is Captain Young's Loyalty Address:

Loyalty
 
(An address delivered to the school by Mr. Young on May 20th, 1939, on the occasion of his
 leave-taking before going to Camp Shilo with his regiment, the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders).

 
Germany is strong and will be hard to defeat, because its leaders have taught German Youth to obey. In Hitler’s Germany, if you don’t obey you are sent to a concentration camp or shot.

In France and in British countries our leaders do not demand obedience on pain of death; they ask for loyalty.

How strong is this spirit of loyalty in each one of us Canadians? Unless it burns even brighter than the German spirit of discipline and obedience we shall be conquered. A country which gives its people the free choice to be loyal or disloyal, to do what is right or what is wrong, is taking a big risk, a noble risk. In Britain and in Canada we have chosen to take this risk, and, partly as a result, we stand in peril.

Each one of you must have asked himself: “What can I do to help to defend my country and the Allied cause?” The answer is this: Be loyal – to your King and country, to your School, to your family at home, to all that you know to be right. You are not yet old enough to fight with bullets and bombs. Each one of you is old enough to work with all your heart and mind and strength for Canada, for your home, and for your Society of Comrades – your School. Be loyal to these, and you will help to win this war against Evil.

Perhaps you will understand better what I mean by Loyalty if I give you some examples of disloyalty. You are being disloyal to Canada and the Empire if you say to yourself: “I am not interested in Canadian or British History or in studying the problems of my country. I’d rather read the Movie, Sport, or Comic pages in the paper than read those dull things.” If he is asked to do some voluntary work in the community such as helping at Fresh Air Camps, the disloyal boy will say “Nix! – I’ve got a big summer planned for myself at our camp at the Lake.” You are being disloyal to your home and your parents if you say to yourself: “I’d rather go to a movie or a ball-game than do my share of work around home.” You are being disloyal to your School if you say to yourself: “I don’t like studying, and I’ll do as little as I can get by with. I’m not falling for the bunk about helping my House win the Shield. My Prefect has no right to tell me what to do – I’ll do as I please.” That spirit would not only mean the end of Ravenscourt; it would mean the end of Canada and the British Empire. The opposite of all this is the spirit of Loyalty, which I know you all have, and which will win the war and remake the world.

You have the duty of being loyal to the School’s ideals of Comradeship, Courage, and Steadiness of Purpose. It is your duty to fight any appearance of Fifth Column disloyalty – at home, at School, anywhere you meet it. For in the years that seem to you far ahead, but really are very near, you will be called upon to protect and rebuild this country. You must take your present duties, at School, and at home more seriously than ever before. You must work harder for your House, your Prefects, your Masters. Only in this way will you be worthy of the Old Boys, such as Roger Henderson, who are fighting today in order that you may continue to live in the British Commonwealth of Nations, under a King who demands nothing, but places his trust in the Loyalty of each one of his subjects. I will write to you. I want you to write to me – and I want above all things to hear that every boy in the School is loyally doing his Duty on the Home Front. – Norman Young, Lieutenant.
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St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.