The Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment

About the PWOR

The Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment (PWOR) is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Forces, created on January 16, 1863 as the 14th Battalion Volunteer Militia Rifles (See History).  It is based at the Montreal Street Armouries, where its museum is also located.  Its soldiers, most of whom serve part time, participate in a wide range of domestic and international operations of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Today, the regiment is composed of men and women from all walks of life including students, policemen and farmers. Members of the regiment have distinguished themselves on recent peacekeeping tours in Cyprus and the former republics of Yugoslavia. Members of the regiment served in Afghanistan in Operations Apollo, Athena, and Archer with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.

The Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment continues to maintain itself as an effective component of the ‘Total Force’ army, preparing to fulfill its role, if called upon, as a first-rate infantry unit.

The Regiment is a focal point in the Kingston community, as witnessed by the annual March of Dimes parade, the Christmas Toy Drive, and of course, the Ice Storm of ’98. Also of interest, nine mayors of Kingston have served as officers in the Regiment.

The Regimental Cap Badge:  The Prince of Wale’s plumes enfield in a coronet of a Princess, resting on a waving ribbon which bears the motto “Ich Dien” (I serve), surmounting the coronet, and shaded by the tips of the drooping plume, a circling belt, with the regimental motto “Nunquam Cede” (Never Yield) above the circle, a beaver rampant, and within, the letters PWOR.

Regimental Tradition:  The Vimy Cross.  Standing indented into the north wall, in a place of honour directly visible when one enters the Armouries, is a cross – The Vimy Cross – approximately ten feet high and three feet across, with the 21st Battalion cap badge at its base and it is surrounded by the Regiment’s 21 current Battle Honours. In May 1917, the Officers of the 21st Battalion had this cross built to commemorate their comrades lost in the hard fighting for Vimy Ridge.

Private George Williams of Cornwall, Ontario was a carpenter by trade before enlisting in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Returning to the 21st Bn, and still on light duties after hospitalization and convalescence from having suffered a poison gas attack at the Somme, Pte Williams salvaged wood from the battlefield to make the cross. The cross was painted white and bore a metal plaque, purchased by the officers, reading, “In memory of the officers, NCOs and men (21st Canadian Infantry Battalion) killed in action April 9th 1917”.

The cross was erected near the village of Thelus, France, in what would become the Thelus Military Cemetery, which holds the remains of 116 Canadian soldiers. After several years, surviving members of the 21st Battalion campaigned to have the cross returned to Kingston. Aided by the significant efforts of Lieutenant-Colonel H.E. Pense, DSO, MC, the cross was returned to Kingston and erected in Fort Frederick, on the grounds of the Royal Military College.

After several decades of weathering, in 1994 it was decided to refurbish the cross and move it into the Regimental Armouries, where it currently resides on a Wall of Honour overlooking the parade square. Services are held by the Regiment and Association every April, during which the name of every 21st Battalion soldier killed at Vimy is read aloud, so that we will remember their sacrifice.

PWOR Officers Who Were Mayors of Kingston

Captain Henry Cunningham Mayor 1873 served 1863-1867
Major Edward Handley Smythe Mayor 1885 served 1869-1884
Lieutenant (Assistant Surgeon) John Herald, M.D. Mayor 1894 served 1896-1905
Lieutenant-Colonel John S. Skinner Mayor 1897 served 1880-1903
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert E. Kent Mayor 1901 served 1891-1909
Major John McDonald Mowat Mayor 1906-07 served 1899-1910
Major Robert D. Sutherland Mayor 1914 served 1889-1900
& 1914-1920
Lieutenant-Colonel William H. Craig Mayor 1928-30 served 1899-1915
Major C. Leroy Boyd Mayor 1944-45 served 1940-47