Birth of a Regiment



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This website was developed to support the work of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Foundation. As the charitable arm of the Regiment, the Foundation is committed to working for the Soldiers. It raises funds to support a wide range of activities ranging from programs for injured soldiers and their families dealing to preserving the heritage of the Regiment.

In 2014, the Patricia’s will celebrate 100 years of service to Canada. Throughout is history the Regiment has been first in the field in every major conflict from the First World War to Afghanistan. Viewers are encouraged to visit the other sites maintained by the regiment to learn more about current operations and plans to celebrate the centennial in 2014.

PPCLI Foundation
PPCLI Association
PPCLI Museum
PPCLI Kit Shop

About this site

My interest in is subject comes from 28 years service with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. During that time I served with all three regular battalions. I had the honour of Commanding the First Battalion in Calgary from 1983 to 1985. Although I have done my best to maintain a sense of objectivity in my approach, my background will inevitably influence my writing. Once a Patricia – always a Patricia.

I had the good fortune to meet some of the soldiers who served with the Regiment during the First World War. Major General Arthur Potts joined the Regiment as a private soldier with the Second University Company in September 1915. He was the first to formally welcome me to the Regimental family at his home in Kingston Ontario when I was a young cadet at the Royal Military College. Later I met Brigadier General Jimmy de Lalanne from the same company who was also commissioned from the ranks. He was, for many years, the heart of the old Patricia’s in the Montreal area. He ensured that I fully understood the Montreal roots of the Regiment while I was serving at Mobile Command Headquarters in St Hubert.

Others like Pinky Carvosso, five times wounded with the Patricia’s and Shorty Colquhoun the scouting officer taken prisoner of war in February 1915 took time in their old age to join in study groups to help young officers and NCOs understand the history and traditions of the proud Regiment they served. They are, of course, now all gone, but I trust that this site will in some small way honour their memory.

I developed this site in 2011 as part of my program of studies in History at the University of Victoria. My thanks to the faculty for agreeing to this unusual approach to completing the thesis requirement for my MA. In particular I have benefited greatly from the guidance and encouragement of:

Dr. David Zimmerman in military history,
Dr. John Lutz in digital history,
Dr. Eric Sager in the the use of historical databases,
Dr. Rick Rajala in Canadian History.

My thanks as well to Dr. Sara Beam and Dr. Greg Blue for gently introducing an old soldier to the discipline of history.

I have also benefited greatly from the assistance of Mr Landon Cunningham who designed the basic page set up and navigation approach used for the site and developed the search tool for the data base. He also helped greatly in teaching me how to use the underlying WordPress tool that powers this site. In particular he was most was patient in resolving the inevitable minor technical challenges that arise in any project of this scope. Thanks to my son Neil Kempling for translating the web site into a readable pdf document for those who still prefer the paper medium.

My thanks also to the Staff of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry who provided access to their archives and have agreed to the use of archival material on this site.Most of the images and documents have come from their marvelous collection.

The Canadian Great War Project provided the initial excel spreadsheet containing a substantial data set for First World War Patricia. Their support enabled me to use a virtually complete set of data for the analysis provided on this site.

Library and Archives Canada on-line access to attestation documents and war diaries enabled my to fill in many of the gaps in the data. Any errors or failing of the site are of course mine alone. In due course, I will add a blog function to the site to allow interested visitors to comment, correct or provide further input to the story of the Patricia’s.

James S. H.Kempling, Colonel (retd), PPCLI

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