Fonds Fonds 82 - William Gourlay Colquhoun fonds

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William Gourlay Colquhoun fonds

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PPCLI Fonds 82

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  • 1939-1966 (Creation)
    Colquhoun, William Gourlay

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6 cm of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

William Gourlay Colquhoun was born in Hamilton, Ontario on 9 August 1888. He was educated at Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario, and from 1906 he served as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Highlanders and the 29th Light Horse. He joined the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in August 1914 as a Lieutenant. He was taken prisoner of war 27 February 1915 while on a reconnaissance with Major Hamilton Gault near St. Eloi. He was awarded the Military Cross as well as being mentioned in dispatches for this daring foray into enemy territory. He was finally repatriated in November 1918 and brought to the attention of the Secretary of State for his many attempts to escape captivity. Promoted to Captain at the end of the First World War he was appointed the first Regimental Adjutant of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry after reorganization and the establishment of the Permanent Canadian Militia. He was promoted to Major in 1932 and then Lieutenant Colonel in 1937. He was appointed Commanding Officer of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry 16 February 1937 and went overseas with the Regiment in December 1939. Promoted to Brigadier General 14 September 1940, Colquhoun returned to Canada to command the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade at Debert Camp, Nova Scotia. He later commanded the Vernon Military District in British Columbia and then the 13th Infantry Brigade in Camp Nanaimo. "Shorty" Colquhoun retired in 1946 and resided in Victoria, until his death on 18 November 1966. He was married to Jean Colquhoun.

Custodial history

The records were in the possession of Duncan Colquhoun, great-nephew of William Gourlay Colquhoun.

Scope and content

The fonds includes 2 portraits of Brigadier Colquhoun, and a portfolio of 20 photographs of the V-E Day and V-J Day parades at Debert Camp, Nova Scotia, 1945. Includes a résumé of Colquhoun's military service (1906-1937) and two newsclippings about him. The scrapbook, which may have been compiled by Mrs. Colquhoun, contains 128 photographs reflecting his military service in England; at Debert Camp, Nova Scotia; at Camp Nanaimo; at Vernon Camp; and at Camp Wainwright. It includes souvenirs of King George's visit to the 1st Canadian Division (24 January 1940) and the inspection by Lady Patricia Ramsay (10 February 1940). It includes newsclippings about the London Blitz; the PPCLI Women's Auxiliary; Debert Camp, Camp Nanaimo, and Vernon Camp; PPCLI operations in Sicily and Italy; and about individual PPCLI soldiers, 1939-1946.

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Gift of Duncan Colquhoun, 2002.


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There are no restrictions on the records.

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Associated materials

A group portrait of Colquhoun with a group of recruits from Prince Albert (1914) is located in the PPCLI World War I photo collection at P30(446)-1.

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General note

Record No. 02.12

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