Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Welcome to the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Museum at The Military Museums. PPCLI is one of three regular force infantry regiments in the Canadian Armed Forces.
The mandate of the PPCLI Museum is to preserve, perpetuate and promote the history and heritage of the Regiment in order to educate and inspire the public while increasing cohesion within the Regimental Family.
Highlights of the museum include:
- A rare collection of weapons from the 20th Century, both allied and German
- A fully restored Bren Gun carrier
- Lifelike dioramas depicting First World War trench life, fighting in Italy and Sicily, Peacekeeping, and Afghanistan.
- Touch and feel displays of soldiers’ clothing and equipment.
- Three Victoria Crosses earned by members of the Regiment in the First World War.
- Guided tours with advance request (contact info below).
Founding of the Regiment
This museum tells the over one hundred year story of one of Canada’s most renowned infantry regiments. The Regiment was founded by Andrew Hamilton Gault and Lieutenant Colonel Francis Farquhar at the outbreak of the First World War.
Gault’s personal contribution of $100,000 was essential for initial recruitment, financing and equipping. The Regiment bears the name of HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Her father, HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, was Governor-General of Canada from 1911 to 1916 and a personal friend of Alberta’s Senator James Alexander Lougheed.
The First World War
The journey begins with a look at the birth of this Regiment in Ottawa, and its sailing across the Atlantic as Canada’s first Regiment to deploy overseas. From there the museum progresses through a life-size trench of the First World War, which encompasses a highly detailed scaled model replicating a First World War Trench. This is accompanied by the famous painting by W.B. Wollen, ‘The Battle of Frezenberg’ and a diorama depicting the battle.
Visitors then experience the “interwar” period of the Regiment. This was a period of garrison life, training exercises, “parade square bashing” and Royal visits as Canada endured the Great Depression.
The Second World War
The outbreak of the Second World War takes the Regiment once again across the Atlantic. Visitors are introduced to aspects of protecting England from any invasion. Then they accompany the Regiment into Sicily and Italy. As the end of the Second World War nears, the inclusion of the liberation of the Netherlands is illustrated. The highlight of this exhibit is a fully restored and operational Bren Gun Carrier and a display of rare World War Two weapons.
Korea and the Cold War
The journey then visits the Korean War with a focus on the Battle of Kapyong, where 2nd Battalion PPCLI earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its efforts in halting a Chinese advance on Seoul. Cold War service saw the PPCLI take on an airborne role and make several deployments to Germany. Visitors can explore weapons from the era and understand the role played by the PPCLI in NATO Cold War strategy.
UN Peacekeeping and Peace Support Operations
PPCLI was involved in numerous UN Peacekeeping and Peace support operations from Cyprus to the former Yugoslavia. Lifelike dioramas combined with historical narrative illustrate the demands and challenges of peacekeeping and operating in an environment where atrocities were widely committed.
PPCLI was amongst the very first units within the coalition to deploy, just mere months after the events of 11 September 2001. Following this the Regiment had multiple deployments in Afghanistan until the end of the mission in 2014. A scale diorama of a LAV III typifies operations in Afghanistan.
Memorial Hall of Honour
The story concludes with the Memorial Hall of Honour, in which the names of the Regiment’s fallen are etched in granite. The Hall of Honour reminds visitors of the Regiment’s sacrifice, but also embodies the fighting spirit linking the first Patricias and those serving today. In the same vicinity is a very rich display of a great many individuals honours and awards as donated by members or their families, including three Victoria Crosses. All of the Regiment’s Colours are also available for viewing.