To mark the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), the regiment is donating 10 handmade wooden benches to communities up and down Vancouver Island, and Ladysmith is the recipient of one of these gifts.
The regiment will be 100 years old on Aug. 10, and the PPCLI will celebrate “A Century of Service to Canada” from August 2014 to May 2015.
In celebration of the upcoming 100th anniversary, the members of the PPCLI Association Mid-Island Branch donated a wooden bench that was hand-made by Branch member Fred Raven to the Lodge on 4th. The bench is constructed of cedar and is fitted with a PPCLI 100th anniversary laser-etched memorial plate.
During the dedication ceremony June 19 at the Lodge, Joanne McMurray, director of care at the Lodge, explained that PPCLI Association Mid-Island Branch member Tom Hale had approached her a couple of weeks earlier and asked if the Lodge would like to receive one of the anniversary benches.
“I was very happy to say yes, we would love the opportunity of having the bench here at the Lodge on 4th for the residents and for the community of Ladysmith as a whole,” she said.
During the ceremony, Ladysmith Deputy Mayor Steve Arnett read from a poem written for the PPCLI by City of Edmonton poet laureate Mary Pinkoski to recognize the regimen’s 100th anniversary: “Lest we forget / they stand on guard for strength and freedom / they are valour’s deep red urgency and peace’s golden sunset / they have traversed seas to bring security and safety / to people they have never met.”
Arnett shares a birthday with the regiment and was born in 1951, the same year the PPCLI earned a Presidential Citation for its efforts in the Korean War.
“It’s especially meaningful for me to be here today as an official Canadian Armed Forces brat on behalf of the Town,” he said. “My late father was RCAF, my late father-in-law was RAF, and they would be proud to be associated with such an event honouring such a distinguished regiment as the Patricia’s … Our town welcomes you and the gift you are bestowing on us and wishes you continued success on the next 100 years of service to our beloved country of Canada.”
Hale thanked McMurray and the staff at Lodge on 4th and the residents on behalf of the PPCLI Association Mid-Island Branch.
“We are happy to be here, and in a sense of goodwill in our community, we would like you to take this bench, and we hope that you enjoy it for years to come,” he said.
PPCLI was formed by Brigadier General Andrew Hamilton Gault, who, at his own expense, raised the PPCLI, the last privately raised regiment in the British Empire, in 1914. The regiment was named after the Governor General’s daughter, Princess Patricia of Connaught, who designed and made by hand the regimental flag.
The Patricia’s have served with distinction in World War I and II and the Korean War and have provided service in both Canada and Germany. The regiment was also involved in numerous peacekeeping tours, as well as the war in Afghanistan. The regiment has received 39 battle honours, two mentions of the commander in chief, and the United States Presidential Citation.