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PRINCESS PATRICIA’S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY -100th ANNIVERSARIES

PRINCESS PATRICIA’S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY

ROYAL 22ND REGIMENT

ONE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARIES - JOINT STATEMENT WITH SENATOR YONAH MARTIN & SENATOR JOSEPH DAY

Hon. Joseph A. Day:

Honourable senators, along with Senator Martin, I would like to welcome our guests here today, Very distinguished guests from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and the Royal 22 e Régiment du Canada, both of whom are celebrating their one hundredth anniversary.

The Royal 22 e Regiment is a historically distinct unit in Canada, being the first French-speaking regiment in Canada, and today comprises the largest regiment in the Canadian Armed Forces.

[Translation]

The 22nd Regiment, as it was called at the time, is the result of French Canadians’ desire to establish a francophone fighting force during the First World War.

Arthur Migneault, who was a French-Canadian pharmaceutical entrepreneur, led an extensive campaign that allowed the regiment to become operational and led it to the front lines in 1915.

On the other side of the Atlantic, anglophone soldiers regularly mispronounced the French term for 22, which resulted in the nickname that is still used today, the ‘‘Van Doos.’’

The Royal 22nd Regiment fought with distinction in every major Canadian campaign during the First World War, and like every other regiment of the Canadian Forces, it was disbanded after the war.

Fortunately, in the subsequent reorganization of the armed forces and in response to lobbying from the French public, who called for the creation of a French-Canadian regiment, the 22nd Regiment was re-established.

In 1921, King George approved the renaming of the Royal 22nd Regiment, and a few years later, it was rechristened the Royal 22e Régiment to reflect its francophone identity.

The Van Doos was one of the first Canadian forces to be sent to Europe during the Second World War. During the Korean War,

the Van Doos represented one-third of the forces sent to defend the peninsula.

 

In the most recent conflict, members of the Royal 22e Régiment istinguished themselves by serving bravely in Canada’s Humanitarian mission to Haiti and in Afghanistan, where they tragically lost over 70 soldiers in the fight against the Taliban.

 

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the reunion at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean. A bronze monument was erected at the college 50 years ago in honour of the Royal 22e Régiment.

The monument is located where the regiment trained in 1914. As I stood before that monument, I had no idea that just a few weeks later I would have the honour of thanking, here in the Senate, those who have served, both young and old.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I want to thank you for risking your lives to keep Canada safe over the past 100 years.

Lest we forget.


 

Hon. Senators:

 

Hear, hear!

Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Government):

Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to the brave men and women of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and the Royal 22nd Regiment, during this historic one hundredth anniversary year for both regiments.

[Translation]

I am honoured to deliver a joint speech with my colleagues, the Honourable Joseph Day and Parliamentary Secretary Parm Gill, who is giving a speech in the House of Commons today in tribute to two of Canada’s most prestigious regiments on the occasion of their hundredth anniversary.

[English]

Honourable senators, I continue with this second half of today’s tribute to the PPCLI. On August 3, 1914, Hamilton Gault, of Montreal, offered to raise and equip a Canadian battalion for overseas service. On August 6, the government accepted the offer, and the daughter of the Governor General at the time, the highly popular Princess Patricia, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, agreed to lend her name to the newly formed regiment. The charter of the regiment was signed on August 10, 1914.

[Translation]

Throughout their hundred-year history, the men and women of the PPCLI have served courageously, made countless sacrifices and lost comrades.

To this day, some still wear the effects of the war. They fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Cyprus, the Balkans and Afghanistan. They fought in horrendous conditions, day and night, in foreign lands, but, despite the odds often tacked against them, they persevered and never gave up.

[Translation]

As a Canadian of Korean descent, I owe my life to the brave men and women of the PPCLI and the Royal 22nd Regiment who

fought during the Korean War. Though greatly outnumbered, the PPCLI held the last line of defence to fight off enemy attacks during the Battle of Kapyong.

More than 3,800 Patricias served in the Korean War; 429 were wounded; 107 killed; and 1 taken prisoner of war. Their outstanding heroism and exceptionally meritorious conduct earned them a United States Presidential Citation, the only Canadian unit to ever receive such a distinction. Today, Kapyong and Korea are two of 22 battle honours emblazoned on the PPCLI’s Regimental Colours.

The dynamic Korea of today, an economic equal to Canada and the first Asian country to sign a free trade agreement with Canada, would not be in existence had the PPCLI and the Van Doos and others not fought so valiantly against communist aggression in a country that few Canadians had ever heard of before. But in Korea, as in other places before and after, the two regiments went into battle side by side and did our nation proud. I ask honourable senators to join me, on behalf of all Canadians, in honouring our esteemed Patricias and Van Doos, past, present and future, as well as our Korean War veterans who are present here today. 

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