Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) has served Canada and Canadians continuously since its founding in Ottawa on August 10, 1914. The Regiment was established as a result of the offer of Captain Andrew Hamilton Gault, a Montreal entrepreneur, on August 3 to provide $100,000 to finance and equip a battalion for overseas service. On August 6, 2014, Captain Gault’s offer was provisionally accepted by the Canadian Government. Authority was formally granted on August 10 (by way of a Report to the Privy Council of Canada) to raise and equip an infantry battalion and the Charter of the Regiment was signed.
Eight days later it was completed, as former soldiers flocked from every part of Canada to Landsdowne Park in Ottawa, where the Regiment was assembled. Out of 1,098 ranks accepted into the new Regiment, 1,049 had seen previous service in South Africa or in the regular forces of the British Empire. In addition to personnel from the Royal Navy and Marines, almost every unit in the British Army was represented.
Lieutenant-Colonel Francis D. Farguhar, DSO (Distinguished Service Order), an officer of the Coldstream Guards who was Military Secretary to His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, The Governor-General of Canada, was selected to command the new battalion. Farquhar suggested the Regiment bear the name of the Duke’s youngest daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught. The request was made to the Princess who graciously consented to the Regiment bearing her name.
Being the first Canadian arms unit into battle in World War I, indeed the only Canadian unit in the line in 1914, the Regiment began a history of service to Canada and Canadians that continues today. The PPCLI has been in every major operation undertaken by Canada including Sicily, Italy and Western Europe in World War II; Korea, and Germany as part of NATO; UN peacekeeping operations; and the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Domestically, the Regiment has participated in numerous operations including the Olympics of 1976, 1988 and 2010; flood relief in the Red River Valley on several occasions; and the ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in 1998. More than 1,859 members of the Regiment have given their lives and countless others have suffered wounds or injury (in many cases resulting in permanent disability) from their service to Canada.
The Regiment’s mission today has not changed and remains: to provide an excellent infantry regiment for service to Canada. The serving component of the Regiment is located in Edmonton, Alberta (1 PPCLI, 3 PPCLI, the Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4 PPCLI) and a Regimental Headquarters); Shilo, Manitoba (2 PPCLI); as well as Patricias serving in various capacities throughout the Canadian Forces in Canada and elsewhere around the globe. The retired component consists of members of the PPCLI Association in 14 branches located across Canada.
In 2014, the Patricia’s commemorated their 100th anniversary with a series of centennial events celebrated across Canada.
For more information on the PPCLI please visit: www.ppcli.ca.