Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

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Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry
Cap badge of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
Active 10 August 1914 – present
Country  Canada
Branch Badge of the Canadian Army (lesser).png Canadian Army
Type Mechanized infantry
Light infantry
Size Regiment
Part of Royal Canadian Infantry Corps
  • RHQ – Edmonton
  • 1st Battalion – Edmonton
  • 2nd Battalion – Shilo
  • 3rd Battalion – Edmonton
Nickname(s) The Pats, The Patricias, VP, The Picklies (Impolite) or Princess Pat's (impolite-it's a hair net!)
Colours 2nd Battalion entitled to wear US PUC streamer on regimental colour
March Quick – "Has Anyone Seen the Colonel / Tipperary / Mademoiselle from Armentières" (medley)
Slow – "Lili Marlene"

Streamer PUC Army.PNG

  • United States Army Presidential Unit Citation (2nd Battalion)
  • Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation – 2nd Bn PPCLI Battle Group: Medak Pocket, Croatia, Operation Harmony, 1993
  • Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation – 3rd Bn PPCLI Battle Group: Afghanistan, Operation Apollo, 2002
  • Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation – 1st Bn PPCLI Battle Group: Afghanistan, Operation Archer, 2006
Colonel-in-Chief The Right Honourable Adrienne Louise Clarkson PC CC CMM COM CD FRSC(hon) FRAIC(hon) FRCPSC(hon)
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major-General -Retired- W. Brian Vernon CD
Abbreviation PPCLI

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI, generally referred to as The Patricias[a 1]) is one of the three Regular Force infantry regiments of the Canadian Army of the Canadian Armed Forces. It is named for Princess Patricia of Connaught, then daughter of the Governor General of Canada. The regiment is composed of four battalions including a Primary Reserve battalion, for a total of 2,000 soldiers. The PPCLI is the main lodger unit of Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton in Alberta and CFB Shilo in Manitoba, and attached to 3rd Canadian Division; as such it serves as the "local" regular infantry regiment for much of Western Canada. The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (LER), a Reserve Force battalion, is affiliated with the PPCLI but is not formally part of it. As part of this affiliation, the LER carries the designation '4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry'.

The regiment is a ceremonial structure, and the four battalions are independent operational entities, under the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG) for the Regular Force and the 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG) for the Primary Reserve. Although the regiment carries the designation of 'light infantry', two of its battalions are mechanized infantry, and the unit has never been organized as a traditional light infantry regiment.[a 1]

The PPCLI was raised on the initiative of Captain Andrew Hamilton Gault in 1914, to participate in the Canadian war effort for the First World War. It was the first Canadian infantry unit to enter the theatre of operations, arriving in France on December 21, 1914. The regiment has also participated in the Second World War, the Korean War and the War in Afghanistan, as well as in numerous NATO operations and United Nations peacekeeping missions.[b 1] The regiment has received 39 battle honours, three Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendations and the United States Presidential Unit Citation.[b 1]


The regiment is composed of three battalions, all of which are Regular Force units and part of the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1CMBG). Each battalion is a distinct operational entity in the Canadian Forces' order of battle.[a 1] The two first battalions are mechanized infantry, while the third one is light infantry. The regimental headquarters are located on CFB Edmonton.

Battalion Base Brigade Type
1st Battalion CFB Edmonton (Alberta) 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Mechanized infantry
2nd Battalion CFB Shilo (Manitoba) 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Mechanized infantry
3rd Battalion CFB Edmonton (Alberta) 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group Light infantry

1st Battalion[edit]

The 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (1PPCLI) is located at Lancaster Park on CFB Edmonton in Alberta. 1PPCLI is a mechanized infantry battalion of the Regular Force and uses the LAV III (light armoured vehicle) as its primary fighting vehicle.[b 2] The battalion is made of three rifle companies, combat support company comprising reconnaissance and signals platoons as well as a sniper group, and administration company. The current commander is Lieutenant-Colonel Wade Rutland[1] Its Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM) is Chief Warrant Officer Darren Hessel, CD.[1]

2nd Battalion[edit]

The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) is based at Kapyong Barracks on CFB Shilo, Manitoba.[b 3] The battalion is a mechanized infantry unit of the Regular Force and is part of the 1CMBG. The battalion is composed of three rifle companies (A, B and C), one combat support company, and one command and administration company.[b 3] Each rifle company is made of three platoons and a headquarters element, and has 15 LAV 6.0 infantry fighting vehicles.[b 3] The combat support company is composed of a reconnaissance platoon and a signals platoon.[b 3] The current battalion commander is Lieutenant-Colonel Wayne K. Niven [b 4] Its Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) is Chief Warrant Officer James M. Smith.[b 5]

3rd Battalion[edit]

The 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (3PPCLI) is based at Lancaster Park on CFB Edmonton, alongside the 1st Battalion. The battalion is a light infantry unit of the Regular Force, and the only one in Western Canada.[b 6] The battalion is composed of three rifle companies, one combat support company and one administration company. 3PPCLI also maintains an airborne and mountain operations capability. The Commanding Officer (CO) is Lieutenant-Colonel D.D. Prohar, M.M.V., M.S.M., C.D..[b 7] The Regimental Sergeant Major is Chief Warrant Officer M.A. von Kalben, CD.[b 8]


Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry originated in Ottawa, Ontario on 10 August 1914. The Permanent Active Militia (Regular Force) component was formed on 1 April 1919 and the Canadian Expeditionary Force component of the regiment was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

Following the Second World War on 1 March 1946, the Canadian Active Service Force regiment was disbanded and the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, CIC was redesignated Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, CIC. On 27 June 1946, the regiment was embodied in the post-war Permanent Force (Active Force).

On 7 August 1950, the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, RCIC was authorized to be formed as an Active Force unit embodied in the Special Force. On 1 January 1952, it ceased to be embodied in the Canadian Army Special Force.

On 30 November 1950, the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, RCIC was authorized to be formed as an Active Force unit embodied in the Special Force. On 1 November 1953, it ceased to be embodied in the Canadian Army Special Force. On 8 January 1954, it was reduced to nil strength and the battalion was disbanded on 21 July 1954. On 27 April 1970, the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was authorized to be formed as a Regular Force unit.[2]


On 3 November 1997, the regiment was granted the perpetuation of the 260th Battalion Canadian Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force (Siberia).[2]


Early history and First World War (1914–1919)[edit]

Brigadier Andrew Hamilton Gault statue, near the National Arts Center in Ottawa

At the outbreak of World War I, when Canada was lacking regular military forces, the then-Captain Andrew Hamilton Gault raised the Patricias. Hamilton Gault offered $100,000 (around 2 million in 2006 Canadian Dollars) to finance and equip a battalion in order to participate in the Canadian war effort overseas.[a 2][b 9] The government temporarily accepted his offer on August 6, 1914, and officially authorized it on August 10, 1914. The Department of Militia and Defence contributed to the equipment of the unit.[a 2][b 9] The charter of the regiment was signed on August 10, and the Governor General of Canada, HRH The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, approved the existence of the regiment.[b 9]

A sandstone slab memorial at Lansdowne Park was dedicated to the founding of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at this location in August 1914.[3]

Princess Patricia of Connaught
The 3rd Canadian Division CEF distinguishing patch of the PPCLI

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis D. Farquhar was instrumental in assisting Hamilton Gault in founding the regiment. Colonel Farquhar, Military Secretary to Canada's Governor-General, asked the Duke of Connaught for permission to name the regiment after his daughter, Princess Patricia of Connaught.[a 3] She was pleased to accept this honour and thus the Princess Patricia's were established.[a 3] The name Light Infantry in the battalion name was chosen by Captain Gault, who served during the Second Boer War and liked the impression of an irregular force that the name inspired.

Farquhar and Gault moved expeditiously to mobilize the regiment. The day after authority was granted, August 11, 1914, the two men began an aggressive recruitment campaign.[a 3] Due to the patriotic outpouring following the August, 4 declaration of war, some 3,000 applicants were recruited within eight days.[a 3] By August, 19 a full complement of 1,098 had been selected, of those, 1,049 had previously served in South Africa or in the British Army.[a 3] Lieutenant-Colonel Francis D. Farquhar, DSO, became the first commander of the battalion.[a 3] The regiment's first formal parade was conducted on August, 23 in Ottawa during which Princess Patricia presented the regimental standard. [a 4] Princess Patricia, the Colonel-in-Chief, designed and made by hand the regimental flag to be presented on that occasion. It is a crimson flag with a circular royal blue centre. In the circle are gold initials V P which stands for Victoria Patricia. The regimental standard became known as the "Ric-A-Dam-Doo". This flag was carried in every regimental action during World War I. It was not officially adopted as a regimental colour and consecrated as such until after the First World War.[a 4][a 5]

As a Canadian regiment mobilized in a time of wartime shortages, the regiment was equipped with weapons from a variety of sources. Private soldiers initially carried the Canadian .303 Ross rifle, while officers, gunners, and noncommissioned officers normally carried the 1914 Colt Canadian-contract .45 M1911 pistol.

The regiment left Ottawa on August, 28 and boarded the SS Megantic in Montreal, Quebec.[a 4] However, because of enemy action in the Atlantic Ocean, the regiment had to deboard at Lévis, Quebec.[a 4] During the period of Training at Lévis, following extensive tests on the Ross rifle, the Patricias issued the first of what would be many damning reports of the suitability of the Ross rifle for combat. The regiment finally left on September, 27 from Quebec City on board the Royal George for England in company with the rest of the first Canadian contingent.[a 4]

The Canadians entering Mons

Upon arrival in England on October, 18 the regiment was first stationed at Bustard Camp on Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge.[a 4] On November, 16 the unit joined the 80th Brigade of the British Expeditionary Force at Winchester. At that time the regiment abandoned the troubled Ross rifle in favour of the British Lee–Enfield.[c 1][a 4] On 20 December, the regiment departed for the port of Southampton with the rest of the brigade and embarked for France arriving the next day.[c 2] On this date the PPCLI was the only Canadian infantry unit on the battlefield, only the 1st Canadian Medical Corps was there before.[a 4]

The Patricias first took their place in the trenches on January 6, 1915, at a location known to the British Army's soldiers as "Dickiebush".[c 3]

When Francis Farquhar, the first commanding officer was killed in action at St Eloi on March 20, 1915, he was replaced by Lt Col H. Buller, another British regular who had served with him of the staff of the Governor General before the war. On May, 8 the stout defence of Bellewaerde Ridge during the Battle of Frezenberg established the reputation of the Patricias but at tremendous cost. When they came out of the line they had lost 500 men in three days. The tattered remains were commanded by a lieutenant, all other officers having been killed or wounded. The PPCLI served for a year with the 80th Brigade before joining the new 7th Brigade within the 3rd Canadian Division on December 22, 1915.[a 4] In 1916 the regiment fought major battles at Mount Sorrel and on the Somme. It was not until October 1916 that the first Canadian, Lt Col Agar Adamson, was appointed to command the regiment. In 1917 as part of the Canadian Corps, the regiment took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, and Passchendaele later the same year.[a 4] In 1918 the regiment fought at Amiens, Jigsaw Wood and Canal du Nord as part of the great battles of the Hundred Days that ended the war. The 4th Company, PPCLI, entered Mons with other Canadian troops early on November 11, 1918, before the armistice took effect at 11 AM.[a 6][c 4]

Princess Patricia inspecting the PPCLI in 1919

During the Battle of Passchendaele Sergeant George Harry Mullin earned the Victoria Cross, the highest honor in the Commonwealth.[a 4] Sergeant Robert Spall won the regiment's second Victoria Cross at Parvilliers on August 12 and 13, 1917.[a 4]

A former Patricia, Lt. Hugh McKenzie, who had risen from Private to Company Sargeant-Major before accepting his commission and transferring to the Canadian Machine Gun Corps was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions during Passchendaele. He had already won the Empire's second-highest award for gallantry, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, while serving with the regiment as well as the French Croix de Guerre. On 30 October 1917, he was a member of the 7th Canadian Machine Gun Company, Canadian Machine Gun Corps, leading a section of four machine guns in support of the regiment. Seeing that one of the PPCLI companies was hesitating to advance in the face of a German machine gun position on dominating ground, he handed command of his troops to an NCO and went to rally the men of his old regiment. Lt. McKenzie organized an attack and captured the enemy position. Once on the position, however, he realized that it was itself under dominating enemy machine gun fire from a nearby pillbox. Lt. McKenzie organized parties to capture the pillbox by making both frontal and flanking attacks. He was killed while leading the frontal attack.[4] When the awarded of his Victoria Cross was announced in the London Gazette on 12 February 1918, his surname was misspelled as "Mackenzie."[5]

The return of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Ottawa, March 1919

On February 4, 1915, Private Guy Dwyer became the Patricias' first combat casualty of the war [6] The last of the Patricias killed in action was likely Corporal Percy Wainwright Carleton on 10 November 1918.[c 5] In total 1,272 officers and enlisted men of the Patricias were killed and 82 officers and enlisted men were captured during the war.

The 260th Battalion, Canadian Rifles, CEF (Siberia) was authorized on 1 November 1918 in Victoria, B.C. and embarked for Russia on 29 December 1918. It served with the 16th Infantry Brigade as part of the Allied Forces in eastern Russia until 9 May 1919. The battalion was disbanded on 15 November 1920. The service of the 260th Battalion, CEF (Siberia) resulted in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry being awarded the battle honour "SIBERIA, 1918-1919."

Between the wars (1918–1939)[edit]

On March 20, 1919, the regiment became a component of the Permanent Active Militia.[a 6] In 1920 the regimental headquarters, A Company and D Company were relocated to Fort Osborne Barracks, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, while B Company relocated to Esquimalt, British Columbia.[a 6] The period between the two wars was a recession period for the Canadian Armed Forces, and the regiment lost 209 soldiers in 1924.[a 6]

In 1926 a group of officers and friends of the PPCLI erected a plaque in the chapel of a women's monastery on Echo Drive, across the Rideau Canal from Lansdowne Park which was dedicated to the memory of the war dead and veterans of the PPCLI during the First World War. It was moved to St. Clement Chapel, Albion Road in 1985, then to St. Clement's new premises at 87 Mann Avenue in 1993.[7]

Second World War (1939–1945)[edit]

Map of the Sicilian campaign operations

World War II began in Europe on September, 1st 1939, and the Canadian Parliament declared war between Canada and Germany on September 10, 1939. The same day, the Patricias were mobilized for active service.[a 6] The regiment recruited in Winnipeg and Vancouver until October.[a 6] The regiment sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the December 21, 1939, arriving in Aldershot, England, as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W.G. Colquhoun.[a 6] They spent New Year's Eve in Cove, west of Farnborough. On February 10, 1940, the colonel-in-chief, Princess Patricia, inspected her regiment for the first time in twenty-one years.[a 6] The regiment spent three and a half years in United Kingdom, most of which was spent in coastal defence and training in various parts of the country.[a 6]

Monument given to Canada by the Netherlands for the liberation of Apeldoorn

On July 10, 1943, the PPCLI, forming part of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the British Eighth Army, landed in Sicily during Operation Husky.[a 6] The Patricia won its first battle honours of the Second World War at Leonforte.[a 6] Later, on September 4, 1943, the regiment landed and fought in Italy, advancing North for two months. The unit was slowed down by the demolished bridges and the German rear guard.[a 6] In December 1943 the regiment fought during the Moro River Campaign; that year the soldiers spent Christmas in Ortona.[a 6]

In May 1944 the PPCLI took part in the offensive against the Hitler Line, west of Monte Cassino, during the allied offensive against Rome.[a 6] At that point the regiment was a component of the newly formed 1st Canadian Corps.[a 6] In August the unit took part in the offensive against the Gothic Line and in the assaults on San Fortunato and Rimini.[a 7]

On March 13, 1945, the 1st Canadian Corps was transferred to Northwest Europe where it joined the 1st Canadian Army and took part in the liberation of the Netherlands.[a 7] Shortly after, the regiment captured the city of Apeldoorn, and, on May 7, 1945, it was the first allied force to enter Amsterdam, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Clark.[a 7]

On June 1, 1945, a new battalion of the regiment was authorized to be part the Canadian Pacific Force in the campaign against Japan.[a 7] Its official designation was 1st Canadian Infantry Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, 2nd Canadian Infantry.[a 7] After the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by American atomic bombs and Japan's subsequent surrender on August 15, 1945, the Pacific Force was disbanded. On September 2, the new battalion was renamed 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Canadian Infantry Corps and became a component of the interim force, waiting for the formation of a permanent force.[a 7]

In October 1945, the regiment's serving battalion in Europe, understrength, returned to Winnipeg and was demobilized.[a 7]

After the war (1945–1950)[edit]

After the war, in January 1946, while the interim force was gradually disbanded and the permanent force was formed, the 2nd Battalion returned to CFB Shilo.[a 7] On June 10, it was relocated to Calgary, Alberta.[a 7] On March 1, 1947, the battalion was renamed from 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Canadian Infantry Corps to 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.[a 7]

In 1948, on the eve of the Korean War, an emphasis was put on the airborne troops and the 2nd Battalion was the first unit chosen to fill this role, on a voluntary basis.[a 8] In the end, all the members of the unit, including the officers, became paratroopers; training was completed in the spring of 1949.[a 8]

Korean War (1950–1954)[edit]

USS Private Joe P. Martinez transported the 2PPCLI to the Korean theatre of operations in 1950

On August 15, 1950, the 2nd Battalion was created within the regiment to be a component of the Canadian Army Special Force in response to the North Korean invasion of South Korea; the unit adopted the designation of 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.[a 8] The new battalion trained in Calgary and at CFB Wainwright, in Alberta, before boarding the USS Private Joe P. Martinez on November 25, 1950, to Pusan in South Korea.[a 8] The battalion landed in Korea in December and trained in the mountains for eight weeks before finally taking part in the war on February 6, becoming a component of the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade of the IX American Corps in the 8th US Army.[a 8] The 2nd Battalion of the PPCLI was the first Canadian infantry unit to take part in the Korean War.[a 8]

Kapyong in 1952

On April 22, 1951, Chinese forces undertook a major offensive against the United Nations forces and pierced through the first line of defence held by the 6th South Korean Division.[a 8] During the Battle of Kapyong the 2nd Battalion, PPCLI, the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and A Company, 72nd Heavy Tank Battalion (US) were tasked with the defence of the Kapyong Valley.[a 8] The formation delayed the Chinese forces for three days while United Nations forces withdrew to a new defensive line, thus saving Seoul. For their action, these three units received the United States Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.[a 8]

On May 25, 1951, the 2nd Battalion, PPCLI was transferred to the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade within the 1st Commonwealth Division.[a 8] In the fall, the 2nd Battalion was replaced by 1PPCLI and returned to Calgary. Meanwhile, in Canada, a new battalion was created on November 30, 1950. This 3rd Battalion trained at CFB Wainwright, CFB Borden, and Camp Ipperwash, before sending troops with the 1st and 2nd Battalions during their tour in Korea.[a 8]

The 3rd Battalion replaced the 1st Battalion in the fall of 1952, and occupied Hill 355 until late November 1952.[a 8] After three months of active service the battalion was disbanded on February 8, 1954. The PPCLI was again reduced to two battalions, and the commander, regimental sergeant major, and members of the disbanded 3rd Battalion were chosen to form the new 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Guards.[a 8]

Service in Canada and Germany (1950–1988)[edit]

In the spring of 1950 the 1st Battalion supported civil authorities responding to floods in Manitoba.[b 2]

From 1950 to 1969, Canada, as a NATO member, maintained a brigade-group in Germany.[a 9] The 2nd Battalion, PPCLI served in Germany from October 1953 to the fall of 1955, when the 1st Battalion replaced it until the fall of 1957. In the fall of 1963 the 1st Battalion deployed for its second rotation until 1966. The 2nd Battalion returned in July 1984 for four years. In 1994 CFB Lahr in Germany closed, effectively ending the Canadian rotations.[a 9]

Cold War and peacekeeping (1968–2003)[edit]

Further information: Operation Backstop

The 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was sent to Cyprus in 1968 within the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFYCIP).[a 9] Different infantry units including the two PPCLI battalions then undertook six-month rotations in the country until 1993. PPCLI completed 12 tours in Cyprus.[a 9]

Battle of Medak Pocket

In 1970 the 1st Battalion of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada was based in Victoria, British Columbia. Due to a reorganization, its members were rebadged to the newly recreated 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.[8] The regiment also increased in size when the Canadian government closed 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.

The sculpture Anti-Tank Patrol by André Gauthier was commissioned to mark the 75th anniversary of the regiment in 1989.

The Patricias served in Israel, Golan, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Congo, Vietnam, Central America, Angola, Somalia, Rwanda, Korea, Croatia, and Bosnia, for various missions.[a 8][b 2]

During the Yugoslav Wars in the early 1990s, soldiers from PPCLI served in the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), the United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia. In the autumn of 1992 The 3rd Battalion replaced the Royal 22nd Regiment in Sector North, stationed out of Camp Polom, near Pakrac. The 22nd had actually spent much of their six-month tour out of position. They were with General Lewis MacKenzie, securing the Sarajevo airport for UN relief shipments. [a 9] It was replaced by a battle group of 875 members mostly from the 2nd Battalion PPCLI in 1993. The battle group was dispatched to the Medak Pocket in September 1993 to interpose themselves between Serb and Croatian forces. After the Croatians opened fire on the PPCLI troops, they became involved in an intense firefight. In 2002 Colonel Jim Calvin and his men were awarded the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation for their bravery. A battle group drawn mostly from 1st Battalion PPCLI replaced the 2nd in 1994; the 2nd Battalion also served with the stabilization force in 1997, 2000 and 2003, the 3rd Battalion in 2000, and the 1st Battalion in 2002 and 2003.[a 10] B Company, 1st Battalion, deployed as part of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) Battle Group to northwest Bosnia from July 1997 to January 1998. Elements of PPCLI served with Lord Strathcona's Horse during the 1917–1918 winter, and in 1999, the 1st Battalion sent a complete battle group to the Kosovo Force.[a 9][b 2]

Canada House in London

In the spring of 1997, the 1st Battalion supported civil authorities with the Manitoba floods yet again.[b 2] In 1998, it was again mobilized, this time to respond to the 1998 North American ice storm in Quebec.[b 2]

In 1998 to celebrate the announcement of the re-opening of Canada House, a detachment of the 3rd Battalion was sent to London to mount the Royal Guard at the Buckingham Palace, a rare honour. The Royal Canadian Regiment had the same honour two years later, at the re-opening.

War in Afghanistan (2001–2010)[edit]

Operation Apollo (2002–2003)[edit]

Main article: Operation Apollo
Soldiers from 3PPCLI in Afghanistan in 2002

In January 22, 2002, during Operation Apollo, the Canadian contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom and the War in Afghanistan, the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, deployed to Afghanistan.[b 10] The Battlegroup also included a reconnaissance squadron from Lord Strathcona's Horse and support elements from the 1st Service Battalion.[b 10] These were the first major troops Canada sent in the theatre of operations, only preceded by a small team of Joint Task Force 2 operators in late 2001.

In March 2002, during Operation Anaconda, members of the 3PPCLI were in the Afghan province of Paktiya, clearing the mountains looking for Taliban and members of Al-Qaeda.[b 10] The Canadian element of the operation, led by the United States, was composed of sixteen soldiers including six snipers.[b 10] This sniper team, led by Master-Corporal Graham Ragsdale, registered more than 20 kills while Master-Corporal Arron Perry set the new world record for farthest combat kill with a rifle .50 cal McMillan Tac-50 sniper rifle that killed a Taliban fighter at a distance of 2,310 metres (1.44 mi). Later on in the mission, Corporal Rob Furlong set yet a new record by firing a shot from a .50 cal McMillan Tac-50 sniper rifle that killed a Taliban fighter at a distance of 2,430 metres (1.51 mi). Both shots surpassed the long-standing previous world record of 2,250 metres (1.40 mi) set by U.S. Marine Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock during the Vietnam War. The U.S. Army awarded the team members the Bronze Star for their actions in combat.[9] Other Canadian snipers recorded high hit ratios and some extremely difficult shots, but remain anonymous.

Map of Anaconda operations

On March 13, 2002, Operation Harpoon was launched in parallel of Operation Anaconda, with the goal of eliminating a small pocket of Taliban fighters.[b 10] The operation involved air elements as well as a ground battlegroup composed of Canadian and American soldiers, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Pat Stogran, commander 3PPCLI battlegroup.[b 10] The next day, a reconnaissance platoon from 3PPCLI led the American troops to a network of caves and bunkers used by Al-Qaeda resisters.[b 10] The battlegroup proceeded to destroy the bunkers and Operation Harpoon ended on March 19.[b 10]

U.S. Air National Guard Major Harry Schmidt before a hearing

After Operation Harpoon, the 3PPCLI returned to Kandahar International Airport, and started training for future operations.[b 10] On April 18, 2002, the 3rd Battalion was involved in a highly publicized case of friendly-fire (blue on blue). The Canadian soldiers were participating in planned nighttime training exercises near Kandahar when Major Harry Schmidt, an American pilot from the Illinois Air National Guard, flew overhead. Believing he was being fired upon by enemy soldiers, Schmidt dropped one 500-pound (230 kg) laser-guided bomb on the soldiers from his F-16. Sergeant Marc Léger, Corporal Ainsworth Dyer, Private Richard Green and Private Nathan Smith were killed instantly and eight were injured. Schmidt was court-martialed by the U.S. and convicted of dereliction of duty as a result, in what became known as the Tarnak Farm incident.[b 10]

On May 4, 2002, Operation Torii is launched, and Lieutenant-Colonel Stogran leads an international task force, of which 400 Canadian soldiers.[b 10] The goal of the mission was to discover networks of caves used by the Talibans and Al-Qaeda, as well as to gather intelligence in the Tora Bora region.[b 10]

From June 30 to July 4, 2002, the majority of 3PPCLI relocated to Zabul Province, Northwest of Kandahar, to establish for the first time a coalition presence in the region.[b 10]

The 3rd Battalion started preparing its redeployment back to Canada on July 13, and its members came back home in two contingents, on July 28 and July 30, after a short stay in Guam.[b 10] On March 2003, the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, deployed a 35-soldier platoon to serve alongside already deployed units from Operation Apollo. The platoon was replaced in July by a Royal Canadian Horse Artillery platoon.[b 10]

Operation Athena (2004–2010)[edit]

Main article: Operation Athena
LAV-III patrol in Afghanistan (1PPCLI)

From August 2004 to February 2005, during Operation Athena, the 1st Battalion deployed a reconnaissance squadron in Kabul.[b 11] A battlegroup built on 1PPCLI deployed in Kandahar from February to July 2006.[b 11]

When the 1PPCLI deployed to Afghanistan, the Taliban began a major offensive and the Canadians were caught in the middle. After a spring in which a record number of attacks against Canadian soldiers had been set, which included six deaths to the Canadian Forces, the Taliban in Kandahar and Helmand provinces were massing and Operation Mountain Thrust was launched in the beginning of the summer. Canadians were one of the leading combatants and the first fighting in the Battle of Panjwaii took place. Complex mud-walled compounds made the rural Panjwaii district take on an almost urban style of fighting in some places. Daily firefights, artillery bombardments, and allied airstrikes turned the tides of the battle in favour of the Canadians.

After Operation Mountain Thrust came to an end, Taliban fighters flooded back into the Panjwaii district in numbers that had not been seen yet in a single area in the post Anaconda war. The Canadian Forces, which came under NATO command at the end of July, launched Operation Medusa in an attempt to clear the areas of Taliban fighters once and for all.

The fighting of Operation Medusa led the way to the second, and more fierce, Battle of Panjwaii, largely fought by the rotation replacing the 1PPCLI, a battle group built around the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR).

For their actions in 2006, the 1st Battalion PPCLI Battle Group was given the Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation from the Governor-General of Canada.[b 12]

The 2nd Battalion, PPCLI, took over from the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment (R22eR) in February 2008.[b 11] In August of the same year, it is replaced by the 3RCR, and in September 2009, 1PPCLI returns in Afghanistan to replace 2R22eR, where it stayed until May 2010.[b 11]

Lineage chart[edit]

Lineage of the units of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry:[10]

Abbreviations used in the chart
Abbreviation Phrase
Bn Battalion
CASF Canadian Active Service Force
CEF Canadian Expeditionary Force
CIC Canadian Infantry Corps
Infy Infantry
PAM Permanent Active Militia
RCIC Royal Canadian Infantry Corps


Battle honours are the right given by the Canadian Crown to the regiment to mark on its colours the name of the battles or operations in which they stood out. Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry has received 41 battle honours.[b 1][a 11] Two soldiers of the regiment have been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honours of the Commonwealth forces, during World War I.


The Freedom of the City was exercised by the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry (Third Battalion) in Victoria, British Columbia on June 15, 1974.[12]

The regiment was granted the Freedom of the City of Edmonton, an honour in respect of the centennial of the regiment. This permits the regiment to conduct parades on city streets as of May 22, 2014.[13]


Adrienne Clarkson, Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry

Since March 17, 2007, the regiment's colonel-in-chief is former Governor-General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson. The previous colonel-in-chief was Countess Mountbatten of Burma, herself succeeding Princess Patricia. This is the first time that a person who is not a member of the Canadian Royal Family has been invited to take such a position with the regiment. The new colonel-in-chief took up her appointment at a ceremony on March 17, 2007, at the Regimental Headquarters in Edmonton.[14]

The PPCLI does not have an official motto; however, their unofficial motto, "First In The Field", is based on the fact that they were the first Canadian unit to deploy in the Great War. The regiment also uses another non-official motto, Once a Patricia, Always a Patricia, which reminds that the regimental family includes retired soldiers and officers and those who transferred elsewhere in the Canadian Forces.

March 17 is the most important date within the regiment, as it corresponds to Princess Patricia's birthday.[a 12] May 8 is the anniversary of the 1915 Battle of Frezenberg and is observed by a parade and a church ceremony.[a 12] April 25 is the anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong, normally observed by the 2nd Battalion with a parade.[a 12] On August 10, the regiment celebrates the foundation of the PPCLI in 1914.[a 13][b 9] September 21 is the anniversary of the Battle of San Fortunato in 1944.[a 13]