A recent PNR article about Victoria Cross winner George Pearkes did not mention that he joined the Canadian army in Victoria as a private in March 1915. Also during the 1950s, he was made a honorary colonel in the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) — Vancouver Island’s own infantry regiment.
during world War One, the Canadian Scottish has four VC winners: Col. Cyrus Peck, Cpl. William Metcalf, Pr. William Johnstone and Piper James Richardson. Soldiers from the unit also earned 283 military honours of various description. They also suffered 5,491 casualties, of which 1,412 were fatal.
After the war, Col. Cy Peck was MLA for Saanich and the Islands from 1924 to 1928. He died in Sidney in 1856.
Sir Arthur Currie, Canada’s first general, is also a local boy. He came to Victoria from Ontario in 1894. He taught school in Sidney and Victoria, later going into private business in Victoria. In 1895, he joined the militia in the city as a gunner. By 1913 he was a Lt. Colonel and in 1914, Currie was in charge of Canadian training for overseas service. In 1915, Currie was promoted to Brigadier General. He was Knighted in 1917, promoted to Lt. General in command of the 100,000-man Canadian Corps, to war’s end in 1919. In 1919, Currie was made a full General — Canada’s first. He left the army in 1920 and died in 1933.
The Canadian Scottish Regiment Museum is located in the Bay Street Armoury in Victoria and is open to the public. The museum relies mainly on public support and private donations.