Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment will visit Small Arms in Lakeview on Sept. 7, 2014

The following text, to which I’ve added headings, is from the Summer 2014 newsletter of the Small Arms Society

You can access the newsletter, which includes a focus on military history, here:

Arms2Arts newsletter- Summer 2014


Canada’s First-into-Battle WWI Regiment is Coming to Small Arms

On September 7, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry will be marching into Mississauga.

They’re arriving here as part of a nation-wide ceremony to honour the regiment’s 100th anniversary; and Mississauga was an important part of the regiment’s storied history.

The regiment was called to service on Aug. 10, 1914

The “Princess Pats” was formed immediately after World War I began, when a Montreal textiles merchant, Andrew Hamilton Gault approached the government of Canada with an offer of $100,000 (about $2.5 million today) to raise a battalion to be the first Canadian unit to serve in the battlefield.

The regiment was named in honour of Princess Patricia, the daughter of the Duke of Connaught, who was then Governor General of Canada. Although based in Western Canada today, the regiment continues to draw soldiers from all parts of the country.

A Memorial Baton will be carried by soldiers of the PPCLI from Edmonton to Ottawa between August 10 (the date of the regiment’s call to service) and September 18, when it was formed in Ottawa.

Frezenberg, Belgium: The regiment commenced with 547 soldiers; 154 survived

The Memorial Baton Relay will end in Lansdowne Park in Ottawa. The Memorial Baton will then be taken to Frezenberg, Belgium for a ceremony on May 8, 2015 to rededicate a memorial there honouring the PPCLI. The regiment played a critical role in stopping a German offensive here that threatened to overrun allied lines. The regiment commenced the battle with 547 soldiers. Only 154 survived.

Ceremonies in Port Credit and Lakeview will take place on Sept. 7, 2014

The Memorial Baton Relay will pass through the following communities, between August 10 and September 18:

Alberta: Edmonton, Camrose, Wainwright, Calgary, Suffield and Medicine Hat

Saskatchewan: Regina and Moosomin

Manitoba: Brandon, Shilo and Winnipeg

Ontario: Thunder Bay, Elk Lake, Espanola, London, Toronto, Highway of Heroes, Trenton, Kingston and Ottawa. The ceremonies in Port Credit and Lakeview will be on September 7.

Quebec: Montreal and Mont St-Hilaire

The Memorial Baton contains the Roll of Honour of the regiment, symbolizing the national character of the Princess Pats. The passing of the torch represents the enduring character of the regiment from generation to generation. The Roll of Honour is a list of the 1,600 soldiers of the PPCLI killed in action since World War I.

Baton relay stops on Sept. 7, 2014 in Mississauga

September 7 will be a special day in Mississauga for the baton relay. The first Canadian commander of the PPCLI was Agar Adamson, whose home still stands at the south end of Enola Avenue. Adamson’s wife, Mable Cawthra served as a nurse.

At 11 a.m., a plaque will be unveiled at the Adamson family crypt at Trinity Anglican Church at 26 Stavebank Road North in Port Credit by Adrienne Clarkson. The former Governor General of Canada is the colonel-in-chief of the PPCLI; carrying on the tradition from the first days of Princess Patricia, that a woman will always be the honorary commander of this honoured regiment.

Agar Adamson commanded the regiment from June 1916 until May 1918

Adamson commanded the regiment from June 1916 until May 1918, and led the troops in several battles including Canada’s historic victory at Vimy Ridge. Agar’s ashes, and those of his wife, are interred in the family crypt.

Adamson Estate

After the plaque dedication, the Memorial Baton Relay will head to the Adamson Estate, 850 Enola Avenue, where a second plaque will be unveiled. The relay will continue to the Small Arms building, arriving at about 11:30 a.m., where the Centennial Display Team will showcase the regiment’s history.

This showcase includes a 25-foot light armoured vehicle, a flying kitchen, a 50-foot tractor trailer mobile museum and a Kiddie Commando Camp with obstacle course, bouncy castle and camouflage face painting. There will also be a Bren gun carrier. Brens were made at Small Arms building after WWII. Ron Baldwin of Wounded Warriors will have a display, as will Army, Navy and Air Force, Lakeview #262.

Hope you can join us for this family-friendly event.

[End of text from Arms2Arts newsletter]

Further reading

The Patricias: A Century of Service (2013)

A blurb at the Toronto Public Library for the latter study reads:

  • Formed in peacetime, forged in wartime, and formidable at all times, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2014.
  • In The Patricias: A Century of Service, the Regiment’s remarkable record of being “first in the field” of every war that Canada has fought in from the First World War to Afghanistan is gloriously documented in absorbing detail. Featuring engaging text that graphically describes the history of the Regiment from its founding in the summer of 1914 through to the spring of 2014 and augmented with hundreds of rare photographs from the battlefields to the barracks, detailed maps and memorabilia, and informative sidebars featuring testimonials from the soldiers in their own words, The Patricias: A Century of Service grippingly recounts the story and glory of this legendary unit that has served and protected this country both within Canada’s own borders and around the world with resounding pride and courage.
  • Written by renowned historian Dr. David Bercuson and assembled by a team of experts including acclaimed archivist Donald B. Smith and retired PPCLI Major-General Robert Stewart, The Patricias: A Century of Servicehonours the bravery of those men whose commitment to serving and saving Canada has made us the nation we are today. The book comes complete with a DVD that features photographs and captions, CBC news broadcasts from Sicily, Northwest Europe, and Korea, a selection of maps, historic newsreels, and film footage, the regiment’s “Roll of Honour,” regimental music, and materials related to the regiment’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

[End of text]

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Revised Second Edition (1972)

Letters of Agar Adamson, 1914 to 1919: Lieutenant Colonel, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (1997)

The Fighting Canadians: Our Regimental History from New France to Afghanistan (2008)

Additional resources can be accessed at the Toronto Public Library website.

First World War

Overviews of the First World War, with a focus on the front line experiences of soldiers, is available from many studies including:

The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme: An Illustrated Panorama (2013)

A blurb at the Toronto Public Library website notes:

  • A 24-foot-long black-and-white drawing printed on heavyweight accordian-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase. The set also includes a 16-page booklet featuring an essay about the first day of the Battle of the Somme by Adam Hochschild and original annotations to the drawing by Sacco himself.


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