Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives now on ANA!
The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) was raised in Ottawa in August 1914 as the result of an offer by Captain A. Hamilton Gault to provide $100,000.00 to finance and equip a Regiment for overseas service. In 1914, Lieutenant Colonel Francis D. Farquhar was Military Secretary to His Royal Highness, The Duke of Connaught, the Governor General of Canada at the time. He approached the Duke's daughter, Princess Patricia, who graciously consented to the Regiment bearing her name. On 10 August 1914, the charter of the Regiment was signed and on the next day mobilization began. The Light Infantry came about because Captain Gault, (The Founder), a veteran of the South African war, liked the 'irregular feel' it gave the Regiment.
The Regiment has participated in two World Wars, the Korean War, the War on Terrorism and numerous peacekeeping missions all over the world. In 2004 the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry will celebrate its ninetieth birthday as a Permanent Force Canadian Regiment.
After the Second World War the Regiment spent seven months at Camp McDonald near Portage La Prairie before finally moving to Currie Barracks, Calgary in 1946. In June 1953 the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Depot was established at Currie Barracks and the Regimental Museum and Archives were created as an annex to the Depot. The Museum and Archives followed the Regiment to Edmonton and eventually back to Currie Barracks in 1968. In 1989 the Regimental Museum and Archives began its move to its current location at the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary.
Since 1953 the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Association has collected archival material from the Department of National Defence (DND), the Regimental Photographer, and individuals attached to the Regiment. The Archives were then arranged according to Regimental personalities, affiliates and significant Regimental dates. Approximately 60% of the current PPCLI archival holdings have been arranged in this manner. Broad subject headings were then used to further sub-divide and organize the material. By breaking up small collections as they arrived and imposing their own arrangement on them, the naïve (military) staff of the PPCLI Archives created a huge artificial fonds (now the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Association fonds).
In 1996 a civilian Archival Consultant/Curator was hired to assess the policies and procedures in place at the Museum and Archives. Archival material received since 1998 has been accessioned, arranged and described according to current archival practice. In 1999 the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives became an Institutional Member of the Archives Society of Alberta and received a grant from the CCA to hire a Conservator to complete a Global Archival Assessment. This confirmed that the archival environment was stable enough for long-term preservation. A Directorate of History and Heritage Intern was also hired that same year to assist with the assessment and to inventory key archival holdings for the Regimental History Book Project. In 2000 we received an ASA Access Grant to produce an inventory of the huge photograph collection that is a part of the PPCLI Association fonds. This was completed in 2001 and an Alberta Community Employment Intern was also hired to catalogue and scan photographs.
In 2002 another grant was received from the ASA to hire an Archival Assistant to produce RAD compliant fonds-level descriptions for approximately 200 fonds. In April 2003, 179 fonds level descriptions were added to the Archival Network of Alberta Database. These fonds level descriptions in conjunction with various inventories and item level descriptions will provide the researcher with a complete overview of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives holdings. We have now applied for a grant from the Directorate of History and Heritage to hire an Archival Intern to inventory our library book collection and to rescan photographs so that they meet the resolution requirements for Alberta Insight.
As an Institutional Member of the ASA, the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives has been working towards making our archival collection more accessible to the general public. Many researchers are unaware that the Regimental Archives are still housed at the Museum of the Regiments in Calgary. Though we are included in many on-line heritage directories and linked to the Regimental website, nowhere were descriptions of our archival holdings available on-line. We are grateful for the on-going support and (patience) of the Archives Society of Alberta and look forward to providing future content for ANA and Alberta InSight.