The cup donated by Lord Earl Grey as a trophy for General Efficiency by Coast Artillery units is normally kept in the Officers’ Mess at CFB Shilo.
UBIQUE ("you beek") is the Latin motto of the Canadian Engineers and the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. It means "everywhere," referring to the fact that both these regiments have fought in all Canadian battles.
In this context it takes the place of battle honours for sappers and gunners. In my case, it refers to the fact that this occasional column is going to be all over the place in subject matter.
This time out, I want to talk about the Grey Cup (almost certainly not the one you are thinking of) and explain how an artillery museum becomes part of the TSN coverage on Grey Cup Sunday.
• The Facts: There is a silver cup in Shilo, normally kept in the Officers’ Mess, which was made in 1908 by Mappin and Webb in Birmingham, England. This can be easily determined by reading the hallmarks on the cup. It was donated by his excellency Lord Earl Grey as a trophy for General Efficiency by Coast Artillery units.
It was presented only once, to one of the companies in 1st Halifax Regiment, presumably before Lord Grey finished his term as the ninth governor general of Canada in 1911.
Lord Grey was a very active governor general, being a key player in, among other things, the formation of the Royal Canadian Navy in 1910 and the building of the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. He was a champion of Canadian unity. Lord Grey was a great patron of the arts and established the Grey Competition for Music and Drama.
He also loved sports and is best known today for donating a cup for Canadian football. He offered the cup in 1909, but there was a delay in making the first presentation to the winning team (Toronto by the way) until March of 1910. The reason for the delay is unknown.
• The Myth: The story goes that the Grey Cup in Shilo was originally intended to be the football trophy, but that his excellency was somewhat "under-whelmed" when it arrived from England. He did not feel it was grand enough to be the football trophy. I can imagine Lord Grey gazing at it and thinking "no, no, this won’t do at all," and then telling his staff to "do something appropriate with it."
He eventually ordered a larger cup from Birks Jewellers as the football trophy. So, the artillery had a little competition and the football trophy was duly presented, albeit with a slight delay. Please bear in mind that there is absolutely no proof for any of the myth.
• The Grey Cup Broadcast: When TSN was in Brandon to cover the Memorial Cup, they visited the RCA Museum to see the Kingston Cup (more on that another time) and to interview veterans and serving soldiers amid the artifact guns. At that time, they were also shown our Grey Cup. A few months ago, TSN contacted us to see if we could elaborate on the story a bit more. The answer was that the facts surrounding the two trophies are known, and they do allow for the myth to be true, but we cannot prove anything.
Having said that, there is absolutely no doubt that the trophy in Shilo is a Grey Cup. It is, in fact, an older sibling of the much more famous football trophy.
And so, a few weeks ago, Brian Williams and a crew came to Shilo to film the much-less famous Artillery Grey Cup. It will be in the museum on exhibit until we close in December, should you be inclined to visit. You can also see it on Sunday during the TSN coverage of the 100th Grey Cup.
I bet Lord Grey would be amused.
» Marc George is a retired soldier who served 25 years in the Canadian Army. He is currently the Director of The RCA Museum in Shilo. He can be contacted via email@example.com
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 24, 2012