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Patricia Park At Griesbach

Posted On: 09/14/2016

The Replica of Frezenberg Memorial

On May 8th, 1915 the PPCLI (Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry) was attacked at Frezenberg and Bellewaerde Ridges. By the end of the final German assault, the Patricia’s were reduced from 554 to four officers and 150 men. The Memorial is a replica of the original monument to the Patricia’s which is located near their heroic stand at Bellewaerde. The original monument includes the inscription “Here 8th May 1915, the originals of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry commanded by their founder Major A Hamilton Gault held firm and counted not the cost.”

Four Trees Surrounding the Plaza

Canada’s first soldiers died in Afghanistan in April 2002 when a “friendly fire “incident killed four and wounded eight members of the PPCLI. The four trees that surround Patricia Park represent not only the four Edmonton soldiers but all those killed and injured in Afghanistan and are a tribute to their sacrifice and courage.

Time Capsule

A time capsule containing regimental artifacts and items of significance is encapsulated in a specifically designed cavity in the Patricia Park Memorial with the intent that it will be retrieved from the memorial and opened on August 10, 2064 on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Regiment. The artifacts represent the first 100 years of the service by the regiment.

Also inside are three letters from Pte. Cole Lisowski, Pte. Mark Brushett and Pte. Dylan Renaud, three of the youngest members on active duty with the PPCLI, who were given the task and honour of returning to the site 50 years from the unveiling to open the capsule.

The dedication of Patricia Park, in the community of Griesbach, offers Patricia’s and civilian citizens a place to reflect on both the achievements and sacrifices of the PPCLI, with over a thousand names of those Patricias lost because of active duty etched on a wall of honour.

“This memorial will pay homage to that same courage and sacrifice of Patricias through the last hundred years and the next hundred years,” said Laurie Hawn, member of parliament representing Edmonton Centre.

Founder - Andrew Hamilton Gault, DSO, ED, CD

In early August 1914 as events that led to the First World War unfolded, Montreal businessman, Andrew Hamilton Gault (1882-1958) conceived and organized a new military regiment for rapid mobilization to Europe. Born in England and raised in Montreal, Lieutenant Gault was commissioned as a militia officer in 1899 and served in the Boer War. He spent $100,00 to raise Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry(PPCLI), which was composed entirely of experienced military men.

As Major Gault, he become second-in-command. Gault was seriously wounded in the Battle of Frezenberg (1915) and lost a leg at Sanctuary Wood (1916). He was the first Canadian in the war to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in the field.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gault brought the regiment home as its commanding officer in March 1919 and he proudly led his men on a final parade through the streets of Ottawa. Gault moved to England in 1922 and sat in the House of Commons from 1924 to 1934. During the Second World War, Gault commanded a Canadian army reinforcement holding unit, and he was promoted to Colonel in 1940 and to Brigadier- General in 1942. Ill health forced Gault to retire and he returned to Canada in 1944. Gault founded the PPCLI Association in 1947 and served as its first national president. He served as the Regiment’s Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel from 1920 to 1948 and then as Honorary Colonel of the regiment until his death in 1958. He is buried in Montreal.