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Middleton, Roderick

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1929-2007

Roderick Morrison Middleton was born in Calgary, Alberta 23 January 1929. He served in the Calgary Highlanders (militia) from 1948 to 1950 and joined 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry as a Lieutenant, September 1950. He served as a Platoon Commander in Korea and was wounded 7 March 1951 during the assault on Hill 532. He returned to Canada for parachute training September 1951 and served at the Airborne and Offensive Air Support Schools at the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre at Rivers, Manitoba from 1952 to 1958. He was posted to 1st Battalion PPCLI in Victoria and served as second in command of A Company and was Regimental Adjutant, June 1960 to May 1963. He attended Defense Services Staff College in Wellington, India until December 1963. He was appointed General Staff Officer Grade 2, Special Operations, in the Directorate of Military Training at Army Headquarters in Ottawa. He attended United States Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, August 1965. Rejoining 2PPCLI in Edmonton, January 1966, he commanded the last Army Junior NCO School in Wainwright. He proceeded to Germany in May 1966 where he was in command of Headquarters Company and became Battalion Operations Officer of 1PPCLI then 2PPCLI. He was appointed General Staff Officer 2 Tactical Air Operations at the Joint Warfare establishment at Old Sarum, England, July 1967 and was appointed Staff Officer 2 in the Special Warfare Section of the Directorate of Land Operational Readiness in Ottawa in August 1969. He was posted to Calgary as Senior Staff Officer, Southern Alberta Militia District in March 1973. He retired from the Military July 1975. Following his military career Rod was manager of the Officer's Mess at Mewata Armouries, Calgary, Alberta until 1987 and Acting Director, Museum of the Regiments, May 2000-September 2000. He was active in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Association and served as National President from 1985 to 1989. He was the Chairman of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Heritage Committee from 1999-2001 and still served on that Committee in 2002. Rod was directly involved in the planning and organization of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry 75th Anniversary celebrations in Calgary, 1989, and the Regimental History Book Project, 1999-2001. Rod worked as a volunteer at the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives beginning in 1988 and was involved in the planning and design of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum Gallery. He completed the first draft of the inventory of the papers of Brig. A. Hamilton Gault in 2004. He married Laurine Strabel of Edmonton in 1952, and they had four children, Geoffrey, Gary, Janice, and David. He died in Calgary on March 28, 2007.

Crossman, Geof

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1957-2020

Geof Crossman joined the First Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry at Calgary, Alberta in March 1975 . He transferred to the Canadian Airborne Regiment in 1977 and was promoted to Corporal in 1979. Promoted to Master Corporal in 1980, he went with the Airborne to Cyprus the same year. In 1982 he was a member of the Skyhawks Parachute Team in Edmonton and was promoted to Sergeant in 1984. From 1985 to 1988 he was a Parachute Instructor and a Free Fall Instructor at the Canadian Airborne Centre. In 1988 he transferred back to the First Battalion and went with the Battalion to Cyprus in 1990. Promoted to Warrant Officer in 1993 he was posted to Land Forces Central Area in Toronto from 1993 to 1995 and went to Croatia in 1993 as Mortar Platoon Warrant Officer attached to the Second Battalion Battle Group. He transferred to the Second Battalion in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1995 and went to Croatia as Mortar Platoon Warrant Officer in 1997. He served with the Second Battalion until 1997 when he was posted to the Regimental Museum in Calgary, Alberta as the Assistant Curator. He retired from the Service in 2001.

Smith, Gordon Appelbe

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1919-2020

Gordon Appelbe Smith, 1919-2020, was born in England and attended grammar school at Harrow before emigrating to Winnipeg, Manitoba and attending the Vancouver School of Fine Art. In 1941 he married Marion Fleming. He enlisted with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles in 1939 and joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry 21 August 1942 as a Lieutenant. He was a Platoon Commander and then the Intelligence Officer, Headquarters Company, during the Sicily landings in July 1943. He was badly burned during the advance on Leon Forte, Sicily, 20 July 1943 and Struck Off Strength due to his burns. He spent six months in hospitals in North Africa, England and Canada and his wounds left him with a paralyzed leg. Under the Veteran's Program he was able to receive further training at the San Francisco School of Fine Art and Harvard University. He became an art teacher and then professor of fine arts at the University of British Columbia. His works are held in galleries across Canada including the National Gallery, the Canadian War Museum and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regimental Museum and Archives. He was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia and honorary doctorates from the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the Emily Carr Institute of Art. He was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. He was still actively working as an artist at the time of his death at the age of 100.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Band

  • ppcli
  • Entidad colectiva
  • 1914-1994

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry had two bands during the First World War. The Edmonton Pipe Band joined as a unit in August 1914. Pipers played men over the top and then followed as stretcher-bearers. The core of the PPCLI Brass and Reed Band was formed when eligible members of The St. Mary’s Boys Brigade Band joined the 140th New Brunswick Battalion in January 1916. When the 140th was broken up in November 1917, the entire Band joined the PPCLI in the field. Bandmaster (Lance Sergeant) Charles H. Williams was wounded in the front lines near Tilloy, France 28 September 1918 and later died. His brother, Sergeant Harold H. (Pete) Williams took over as Bandmaster for the duration of the war. Both bands provided music during route marches, burials and rest periods. The PPCLI Band performed one of its last official duties on 27 February 1919 when they played at Princess Patricia’s wedding. When the Permanent Force was established in 1919, the PPCLI Military Band was reformed. Under the guidance of Captain Tommy James, it was stationed at Fort Osborne Barracks in Winnipeg during the 1920s and 30s. It played as many as 50 free concerts a year and was broadcast across Canada. In ca.1935 the PPCLI Bugle Band was formed and then a Dance Band was formed ca.1937. When Captain James retired in 1939, Warrant Officer Al Streeter took over as Director of Music. After the outbreak of Second World War, 15 younger members of the PPCLI Military Band volunteered for active duty and it was disbanded late in 1939. Warrant Officer Streeter arrived in England in 1941 to lead the 1st Canadian Divisional Band, which was largely made up of former PPCLI Bandsmen. The PPCLI Band was reactivated after the war and was established at Wainwright, Alberta. Enlistment was slow and recruitment took place in England and Holland. In 1951, the Band numbered 20 members, but by late 1953 it reached its authorized strength of 55 musicians. It performed in marching formation for ceremonies, and also as a stage band. it recorded a number of commercial albums. Due to budget cuts in 1994, the Concert Band was officially disbanded and reduced to a Corps of Drums.

Aherne, Thomas Joseph

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1958-2017

Thomas Joseph Aherne was born in Montreal, Quebec on 22 January 1958 to Michael and Margaret Aherne. He had five siblings: Mary, Breeda, James, Kathleen, and Margaret. His passions in life were learning, teamwork, taking on challenges, and teaching others. His pursuit of those passions led to a 21-year long career in the Canadian Military, where he served in the Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and the Canadian Airborne Regiment. He earned many achievements, awards, and honours. In 1984, he completed qualifications to become a course instructor. His leadership qualities and mastery of many military skills led to his appointment to the elite units Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) and Joint Task Force 2 (JTF-2). After he retired from the Canadian Armed Forces with the rank of Warrant Officer in 1997, he started his own electrical contracting business based in Calgary, Alberta. He was previously married to Pamela Jill Plummer. He later married Maureen McKee. He died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 59 on 18 October 2017.

Craig, Gordon McSpadden

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1895-1949

Gordon McSpadden Craig, known in his military records as 411167 Gordon Craig, was born on 7 February 1895 in Belfast, Ireland. In 1904 he emigrated with his family to Vancouver, BC. He was apparently a student at McGill University College of British Columbia (later University of British Columbia) when he enlisted in the McGill University Company of the Canadian Army on 27 April 1915. He trained at Niagara-on-the Lake, Ontario, and was transferred to Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in the field on 28 July 1915. He was captured in battle on 2 June 1916 and was held prisoner of war until 6 December 1918. He returned to Vancouver and became an entrepreneur, proprietor of Gordon Craig Radios at 637 Richards Street. In 1920 he married Vera Maude Giberson, and they lived in the upper-middle-class West Kitsilano district. They had three daughters, Patricia Gladys (Whyte), Vera Eileen, and Clodagh. Gordon retired from his business in 1944 and died from heart failure on 5 July, 1949.

Stephens, Conrad

  • ppcli
  • Persona
  • 1891-1971

476040 Conrad Stephens, 1891-1971, known as "Steve" and "Con", was born in Leicester, England. As a young man he emigrated to Canada and established a farm at Phippen, Saskatchewan. He enlisted in the 3rd University Company in Saskatoon on 12 July, 1915. The Company joined Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) in the field on 6 December, 1915. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in November 1916 but reverted to Private at his own request in March 1917. Around this time he joined the PPCLI Comedy Company, a unit which staged variety shows to raise the morale of the troops. On 12 November, 1918 the Comedy Company amalgamated with the 3rd Division Concert Party, better known as the Dumbells. On 8 March, 1919, Stephens was struck off strength by the 3rd Division and returned to farming in western Saskatchewan. He died in North Battleford on 12 July, 1971. He is buried near other members of his family in Rockhaven Cemetery, Cut Knife, Saskatchewan.

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