Pearkes, George Randolph

Date of birth:
February 28th, 1888 (Watford/Hertfordshire, United Kingdom)
Date of death:
May 30th, 1984 (Victoria/British Columbia, Canada)
Service number:
107473
Nationality:
Canadian (1931-present, Constitutional Monarchy)

Biography

George Pearkes (VC recipient) was wounded five times during the First World War, including:

March 1916: Gunshot wound to the arm.
1 October 1916: "Wounded slightly at duty"
15 November 1918: Severe wounds as the result of an exploding shell. Abdomen and arm. Was operated for 6 hours.

Promotions:
16 April 1915: Lance Corporal
13 September 1915: Corporal
4 March 1916: Sergeant
30 April 1916: Temporary Lieutenant
16 October 1916: Acting Captain
18 October 1916: Acting Major
15 January 1917: Temporary Captain
30 November 1917: Temporary Major
7 January 1918: Acting Lt. Colonel
27 March 1918: Temporary Lt. Colonel

Military career:
1911: North-West Mounted Police
1915: 5th Battalion Canadian Mounted Rifles
?: Princess Patricia's Light Infantry
16 January 1920: Graduaded, Staff College
?: Royal Military College of Canada
1936-1938: Imperial Defence College
1938-1939: District Officer Commanding, 13th Military District
1939: 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
1940: 1st Canadian division
November 1941: Canadian Corps
August 1942: General Officer Commanding, Chief Pacific Command
February 1945: Retired

Political career:
1945-1960: Federal politics
1957-1960: Minister of National Defence
13 October 1960 - July 1968: Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

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Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Rank:
Lieutenant
Unit:
5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Awarded on:
December 21st, 1916
For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a bombing party with great courage and determination, clearing 600 yards of trench and capturing eighteen prisoners. Later, although wounded, he remained at duty unti lthe Battalion was relieved.
Military Cross (MC)
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Rank:
Acting Major
Unit:
5th Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles, Canadian Expeditionary Force
Awarded on:
January 11th, 1918
Victoria Cross (VC)
For most conspicuous bravery and skilful handling of the troops under his command during the capture and consolidation of considerably more than the objectives allotted to him, in an attack.

Just prior to the advance Maj. Pearkes -was wounded in the left thigh. Regardless of his wound, he continued to lead his men with the utmost gallantry, despite many obstacles.

At a particular stage of the .attack his further advance was threatened by a strong point which was an objective of the battalion on his left, but which they had not succeeded in capturing. Quickly appreciating the situation, he captured and held this point, thus enabling his further advance to be successfully pushed forward. It was entirely due to his determination
and fearless personality that he was able to maintain his objective with the small number of men at his command against repeated enemy counter-attacks, both his flanks being unprotected for a considerable depth meanwhile.

His appreciation of the situationthroughout and the reports rendered by him were invaluable to his Commanding Officer in making dispositions of troops to hold the position captured.

He showed throughout a supreme contempt of danger and wonderful 'powers of control and leading.
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Awarded on:
January 7th, 1919
With Palme
Croix de Guerre (1914-1918)
Period:
First World War (1914-1918)
Rank:
Lieutenant-Colonel
Unit:
116th Canadian Infantry Battalion, 2nd Central Ontario Regiment Canadian, Expeditionary Force
Awarded on:
January 11th, 1919
This officer handled his battalion in rmasterly manner, and, with an enveloping movement, completely baffled and overcame the enemy, who were in a very strong position. He then captured a wood, the final objective, which was about 5,000 yards from the start. Before this, however, the men were becoming exhausted, on observing which he at once went into the attack himself, and, by his splendid and fearless example, putnew life into the whole attack, which went forward with a rush and captured 16 enemy guns of all calibres up to 8 inches.
Commanding officer
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Awarded on:
1935
King George V's Silver Jubilee Medal 1935
Awarded on:
1937
King Edward VII Coronation Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
Pacific Command
Awarded on:
October 1942
For the part he played in co-ordinating the joint action between the American and Canadian forces as well for his promoting greater understanding and co-operation between the two Commands from the time he became G.O.C.-in-C.
Received in Kiska, Alaska.
Legion of Merit - Commander (LoM - C)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
Pacific Command
Awarded on:
June 2nd, 1943
Companion of The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)
Awarded on:
1953
Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Medal 1953
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
Awarded on:
July 11th, 1961
Knight/Dame to the Venerable Order of Saint John (KStJ/DStJ)
Rank:
Major General
Unit:
Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
Awarded on:
1967
For his services to Canada in the Canadian Armed Forces, as a Minister of the Crown and as former Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.
Companion of the Order of Canada
Awarded on:
1977
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
Second DSO received as bar.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
With "Overseas" clasp
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
For 42 years service in the Canadian Forces.
With 3 clasps
Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)

Sources