CEF Soldier Detail

Major George Randolph Pearkes
Died: May 30, 1984

Regimental Number:
Survived War:
Canadian Infantry
5th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles
Place of Birth:
Watford, Hertfordshire
Next of Kin:
Louise Pearkes, mother. 1213 Stanley Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia
Address at Enlistment:
Date of Birth:
February 26, 1889
Trade or Calling:
Marital Status:
Prior Military Experience:
Place of Enlistment:
Victoria, British Columbia
Date of Enlistment:
March 2, 1915
Age at enlistment:
5 Feet Inches
38 1/2 Inches
1 3/4 Inches
Roman Catholic
Enlisted or Conscripted:
Saw service in:
Cause of Death:
Battle Died/Wounded:
Date of Death:
May 30, 1984
Age at Death:
Buried at:
Prisoner of war:
Ethnic Origin:
Research Notes

5 CMR War Diary - Compiled by M. I. Pirie, 2013

Wikipedia entry for G. R. Pearkes

Political Career / Parliament of Canada

Additional information about Pearkes including photograph.

Pearkes' complete World War One military file is digitized at this link.

Rank Regiment Unit Company
Major Canadian Infantry 5th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles
Major Canadian Infantry 116th Battalion

Prior service - R.N.W.M.P.

Promoted to Temporary Captain, according to the 27 August 1917 5th CMR War Diary.

A report written by Major Pearkes during the battle of Passchendaele - 29 October 1917.

Narrative of Operations 29-31 October 1917 (Passchendaele):

Capt. W. J. Atherton, acting as Liaison Officer, reported on the progress of the Canadian attack (Oct. 30, 1917).  Attached to his message was a note from Pearkes:

7.45 am
"We hold SOURCE, VAPOUR and VANITY both flanks in the air.  Have about 50 men from "C" and "D". We must have help from both sides.  Hun about 200 yards away.  Am digging in.

(Sgd.) G. R. PEARKES

10.45 a.m.
Pigeon message from Major PEARKES received stating that he had sustained severe casualties and was in urgent need of reinforcements. 

1.00 p.m.
Following from Major PEARKES, timed 10.50 a.m.

"Am holding line of shell holes as shown on attached map (V.29.c.3.4. - V.28.d.?.9 VAPOUR and SOURCE farms inclusive.  Have about 20 men and Lieuts. ANDREWS, GIFFORD and OTTY, 5th C.M.R. Bn.  Strong counter attack by enemy en masse successfully beaten back.  50 men 2nd C.M.R. arrived.  Both my flanks in the air.  Bde. on left must endeavour to come up.  Am short S.A.A. but will but will hold on.  VANITY HOUSE now held by the enemy."

2.15 p.m.
Report from Capt. LALANNE, timed 12.30 p.m. to the effect that he had been wounded whilst proceeding to the 49th Battalion H.Q. to obtain information.  Their situation appeared to be - they are holding line approximately D.5.a.3.1. - D.4.b.8 1/3.3 1/4 and are unable to proceed further owing to heavy casualties. "B" Coy. 5th C.M.R. about 15 strong, under Lieut. McKENZIE at approximately D.4.b.7 1/2.4.

2.45 p.m.
Following from Major PEARKES timed 1.45 p.m.

"Germans are digging in on top of ridge about 200 yards away.  Are in force.  I have 8 2nd C.M.R. and 1? 5th C.M.R.  All very much exhausted.  Ammunition running short.  Do not think we can hold out much longer without being relieved.  Both flanks still in the air.

Following from Lieut. OTTY timed 11.10 a.m.

"Enemy is digging on the right.  About 300.  Am holding SOURCE FARM with about 6 men and am in touch with Lieut. GIFFORD on the right.  Need reinforcements and ammunition.

5:45 pm

Lieut. MAVOR, O.C. "A" Coy. 2nd C.M.R. Bn., arrived at Battalion Headquarters wounded. He stated that his company had suffered very heavy casualties in going across to VAPOUR FARM and that Major RHOADES had sent him out to make a verbal report on the situation. He also carried the following message from Major PEARKES:

"About 10 Men "A" Coy. 2nd C.M.R. Bn. have got through. Huns counter-attacking again. We have had some more casualties. Have formed a defensive flank on the left and continued a short distance past SOURCE Farm with right flank resting on WOODLAND PLANTATION. Reinforcements might get through after dark. They are most urgently needed, also S.A.A. Men of the 5th C.M.R. Bn. all in. Do not think I can hold out until morning.

(Ammunition asked for by Major PEARKES was sent forward from Advance Battalion Headquarters at dusk.)

7.00 p.m.
Lieut. LOGIE came in wounded and confirmed the situation of Major PEARKES and the garrisons of VAPOUR and SOURCE Farms.

Major Pearkes - battle of Passchendaele 

Noted in the 5th CMR War Diary - Summary of Operations at Passchendaele:

The boldness, initiative and skill displayed by Major G. R. PEARKES cannot be too highly commented upon.  It was entirely due to his leadership that the operation of this Battalion was so successful.  For a considerable time he held VAPOUR and SOURCE FARMS with a mere handful of men, beating off the first German counter attack without any other assistance.  His appreciation off the situation was most accurate and his reports at all times were clear, concise and invaluable.

116th Battalion CEF

5 CMR War Diary - 30 November 1917 and continued:

Major G. R. PEARKES proceeded to the 116th Battalion to take over duties as Senior Major of that unit.   Previous to his departure the Battalion paraded and Lieut.-Colonel D. C. Draper, D.S.O.  Congratulated MAJOR PEARKES on his fine work, while with this unit and wished him every success in his new Battalion.  He then called for three cheers to which all ranks of this Battalion very heartily responded. MAJOR PEARKES then very suitably replied and urged the men of the Battalion to keep up the high traditions which our comrades had established.

Major General George Pearkes joined the RNWMP in February 1913, Reg No 5529 and while serving in the Yukon he purchased his discharge in 1915 to serve in the CEF during WW1.On 30 October 1917 he was awarded the Victoria Cross for actions at Passehendale. George  Pearkes became a Major General during WW2. Post War MG Pearkes was a Member of Parliament and Minister of Veterans Affairs.In later life MG Pearkes was the LT Governor of British Columbia 

Awards and Decorations
Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Order of Canada
Victoria Cross