Ric-a-Dam-Doo


The famous Colour of the PPCLI is made of crimson silk, gold wire embroidery, and has a gold bullion fringe border. The name Ric-a-Dam-Doo is said to derive from the difficult-to-pronounce Gaelic name given to the Colour by Hamilton Gault.

Hodder-Williams' history of the regiment tells the story of the first Colour carried by the PPCLI:

'On Sunday 23 Aug 1914, at the close of a church parade in Lansdowne Park, Princess Patricia presented a Colour to the Regiment. No invitations were issued and no announcement was made; but the rumour prevailed in Ottawa that the regiment was about to leave for the front, and the ceremony was attended by a very large and unexpected throng of well-wishers.

'The Princess herself designed and worked the Colour during the fortnight of mobilisation. On it the initials VP in gold were entwined [beneath a coloured coronet] upon a blue centre against a crimson ground. The staff was cut from a tree in the grounds of Government House. The Colour became famous as the only one carried into action by a British unit during the Great War, and it has sometimes been supposed that special permission was granted by the War Office to the Patricias to take the Colour into the field. This was not the case. The Colour was presented as a Camp Colour only, and as such was taken to the front without infringing Army Standing Orders. Its adoption as a Regimental Colour came much later at the suggestion of Brigadier-General W E B Smith of the 80th Brigade after the Second Battle of Ypres. Thereafter the Colour was always paid ceremonial honours, though it was only consecrated 2 months after the Armistice and a few days before the Patricias left Europe for home. But the making and presentation of this Colour gave it a high significance in the history of the regiment. An order published in Sep 1914 at Levis Camp directs that the sentry posted over the uncased Colour in front of the Commanding Officer's quarters "is clearly to understand that dead or alive he is responsible for its safety."

Whenever the Battalion was on the march in France and Belgium it was carried by a subaltern officer between a guard of senior NCOs. Each new draft was, at its first battalion parade, drawn up on an advanced flank while the history and significance of the Colour were explained, and was then paraded before it; and only after this ceremony was a recruit considered to be fully a member of the Regiment. In the trenches and in battle the Colour was in the special charge of the adjutant, and in no action in which the Patricias were engaged was it farther from the line than Battalion HQ. Only once was it sent to the rear for safety, after being buried by a direct hit on the Battalion HQ dug-out in the melee at Santuary Wood on 2 June 1916. In the engagement of 8 may 1915, the Colour was hit by both bullet and shrapnel; and on 12 Aug 1918, during the battle of Amiens, the shaft was damaged by artillery fire. On 11 Nov 1918, the worn Colour headed the jubilant march to Mons, and on 21 Feb 1919, was crowned with a laurel wreath of honour by its maker, Princess Patricia at her farewell parade in England. It returned to Canada with the regiment.


Regimental Details | Colours




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by Stephen Luscombe