Fonds SC092 - George Randolph Pearkes fonds

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George Randolph Pearkes fonds

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  • ca. 1890-1986 (Creation)
    Pearkes, George R. (George Randolph), 1888-1984

Physical description area

Physical description

2.1 m of textual records and other material

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Biographical history

George Randolph Pearkes was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England and emigrated to Canada in 1906. In 1911, Pearkes joined the Royal North West Mounted Police and served on detachment duty in the Yukon until the outbreak of World War I. During the war, Pearkes received the Victoria Cross, the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order, being promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. After the war he was appointed to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and stationed in Calgary. In 1925 Pearkes married Constance Blytha Copeman and they had two children. During the 1920s and early 1930s Pearkes served as staff officer in Winnipeg, Calgary and at the Royal Military College in Kingston. From 1936 to 1938 he attended the Imperial Defence College in London, England. In World War II, as Brigadier, Pearkes commanded the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade, and in 1942 was appointed general officer of Pacific command, overseeing defences on Canada's West Coast. He retired from the army in 1945 and went into federal politics, winning the Nanaimo riding for the Conservative Party. In 1957, Pearkes became Minister of Defence under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Pearkes resigned from federal politics in 1960 and was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, an office he held until 1968.

Custodial history

This fonds was accessioned originally as part of the University of Victoria Social Sciences Research Project. Dr. Reginald Roy completed interviews with Pearkes in 1968 and these tapes later were transferred to the Canadian Military History Oral History Collection. After Pearkes' death in 1985 his family gave Special Collections numerous other accessions of photographs and other memorabilia.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records relating to Pearkes' military career, 1933-1976; Pearkes' personal and family papers, 1918-1978; and reference material including newsletters, magazines and other publications, 1906-1985. Records include correspondence between Pearkes and the Royal Canadian Legion, citations and birthday congratulations, Information Documents on the George R. Pearkes Children's Foundation, and a file relating to Mrs. Blytha Pearkes' activities with the Wives of Progressive Conservative Members and Senators, including membership lists and correspondence. Fonds also includes publications collected by Pearkes, programmes for official functions, annual reports of the Union Club of British Columbia and a numerous photographs of his life as a soldier and politician.

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Selection of material from fonds available through UVic Digital Collections.

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Inventory available with series and file level control.

Associated materials

See also interviews by and about Pearkes in the Military Oral History Collection.

Related materials


General note

Armed Forces--Mobilization; Armed Forces--Reserves--Canada; Arras, Battle of, Arras, France, 1918 (August-September); Avro Arrow (Turbojet fighter plane); Birkhamsted School Bomarc (Missile); Canada. Canadian Armed Forces--Military life; Canada. Canadian Armed Forces--Officers--Education and training; Canada. Canadian Armed Forces--Planning; Canada. Parliament. National Resources Mobilization Act, 1940; Canada--Federal-Provincial relations; Canada--History, Military; Canada--Members of Parliament; Canada--Politics and government; Canuck (Jet fighter plane); Chinese Canadians; Civil defense; Defence--Great Britain; Draft--Canada; Espionage; French Canadians; Grenades; Intrenchments; Korean War, 1950-1953; Lieutenant governors--British Columbia; Lieutenant governors--British Columbia--Social and state events; Medals, Military and naval; Military dependents; Military planning--Canada; Military readiness; Mount Sorrel, Battle of, Belgium, 1916; Mutiny; Nuclear weapons; Peacekeeping forces; Pearkes, John A., 1931---Interviews; Somme, 1st Battle of the, France, 1916; Somme, 2nd Battle of the, France, 1918; Starfighter (Fighter plane); Trench, Regina; Victoria Cross; Vimy Ridge, Battle of, 1917; World War, 1914-1918; World War, 1939-1945; Ypres, 1st Battle of, Ieper, Belgium, 1914; Ypres, 2nd Battle of, Ieper, Belgium, 1915; Ypres, 3rd Battle of, Ieper, Belgium, 1917

Physical description

inlcudes ca. 2,000 photographs, 2 videocassettes, 2 audio cassettes

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Revised by JF, July 5, 2013.

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