Piper James Richardson of the 16th Battalion, depicted in the painting above, won the Victoria Cross for his bravery in playing the bagpipes above the trenches in the Battle of the Somme, while exposed to intense enemy fire for an estimated 20 minutes.
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s) Regimental Museum is located upstairs in the heritage building of the Bay Street Armoury at 715 Bay St. in Victoria, BC. This museum is an accredited museum of the Canadian Forces and was opened by the Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, GCVO, CD, in May 1980.
The museum is one of the best regimental museums in Canada. Visitors come from all over the world to view its relics and artifacts. It is a non-publicly funded organization that is operated by a group of dedicated volunteers and is open:
- 1 Sep to 31 May - Tuesdays only from 9 AM to 2 PM;
- 1 Jun to 31 Aug 10 AM to 3 PM on Tuesday's to Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM excluding statatory holidays.
The museum’s displays include materiel from the earliest days of the Regiment to participation in United Nations peacekeeping and NATO operations. The museum has a large collection of Lee-variant rifles, probably one of the most unique firearms collections in Canada. Thanks to John Wigmore, the Museum's director, the museum just recently opened an exhibit to honour those who have fallen on tours of duty in Afghanistan.
So we hope that you do drop by to visit us. Admission is by donation. Copies of the unit history book "Ready for the Fray" by Reginald R. Roy are for sale here. Soft Covers are: $45.00 and Hard copies are:$65.00. To purchase please contact the museum staff below.
The History of the Regimental Museum
The concept of a Regimental Museum was initiated by Lieutenant Colonel M. Allen. Just prior to the granting of the Freedom of the City to the Regiment in 1964, both The Victoria Daily Times and The Daily Colonist featured detailed interviews with him in which he traced the Regiment’s role in the history of Victoria and Vancouver Island. The Daily Times quoted him as saying:
“…. The Regimental Trustees hope to establish a museum … marking the 50th anniversary of the unit’s founding … to preserve its links with [Vancouver Island] and the distant battlefields where fallen comrades lie.”
Little happened until his successor, Lieutenant Colonel D. Coell, determined that a start must be made. He appointed his Adjutant, Captain D. Grubb, as Museum Director and instructed him to start the process, suggesting that perhaps Captain Grubb’s father, Commander F.E. Grubb (Royal Canadian Navy, Retired), would be willing to undertake duties as Curator. Commander Grubb, who was at that time the Secretary/Treasurer of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, and had some expertise in the setting up of a museum, agreed to donate his services for the benefit of the Regiment.
Captain J. Caldwell created some cabinets to house jackets, both functional and ceremonial, from World Wars I and II. Money was found to purchase several second-hand display cases from the Maritime Museum to exhibit a few artefacts. These artiefacts included the harness of Wallace I, the original Regimental mascot. During the 1960’s Sergeant Major J. Leonard discovered the harness in the basement of one of his civilian clients. After explaining the significance of the regalia the Sergeant Major was able to persuade the owner to donate the item to the museum.
Meanwhile, Commander Grubb had initiated the organization of a mound of memorabilia and artefacts squirreled away in a variety of rooms throughout the Armoury. Ultimately Commander Grubb was obliged to resign his position due to other commitments, but he was able to leave behind an embryonic cataloguing system upon which others were to build. Despite a hiatus, Captain (later Lieutenant Colonel) T McKellar, with a passion for Scottish, and Canadian Scottish, history undertook to develop the Museum. Under his direction, with the staunch assistance and guidance of veterans such as Brigadier J. Adam, Major A. Plows, Major K. Crabtree, Colonel C. Wightman and Colonel L. Henderson, and advice on historical matters from Colonel G. Urquhart, the Museum was built into a significant organization.
Receiving impetus from an outstanding collection of Lee-Enfield riles, donated by Dr. R.P.H. Sterling, an Associate Member of the Officers’ Mess, as well as a unique collection of Commonwealth cap badges presented by the Regiment’s Sergeant R. Russell, the Museum was rapidly filling. The behind-the-scenes work and the public display area had been developed to such a degree that when it was officially opened on the 2nd of May in 1980, by the Colonel-in-Chief, HRH Princess Alexandra, on her first visit to the Regiment, it had become recognized as an official Military Museum by the Department of National Defence. This recognition gave its directors the opportunity to apply for certain minor official grants, obtain some stores from Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, liaise directly with the National War Museum and be recognized as a full member of the Organization of Military Museums of Canada.
On assuming the Directorship, in 1986, Honourary Lieutenant Colonel Allen embarked on some ambitious projects, which have generated considerably more prestige for the museum. Under his initiative and over many years the museum has built up an enviable collection of medal groups from former Regimental members. Included are duplicates of the medals of the four Regimental winners of the Victoria Cross. The majority of the originals are held by the National War Museum, since they are too valuable and rare to be securely kept by the Regimental museum. The original four groups, however, through considerable negotiations were put on public display by the museum in 1998.
With an already existing large inventory of artifacts and many more donations coming in, some twenty volunteers were recruited to sort out and catalogue the materials. Moreover, through grants, a librarian was employed to catalogue an enormous number of historical records, photographs and other papers, which were subsequently lodged with the Special Collections Division in the University of Victoria Library.
Ties with the Canadian Scottish’s allied Regiment, the then The Royal Scots, had been strengthened by their generous donations of a complete period combat soldier’s uniform and the dress uniform of the former Colonel of the Regiment, Major General Sir Rohan Delacombe, the latter being unveiled by the then Colonel of the Royal Scots Regiment Lieutenant General Sir Robert Richardson, during the Canadian Scottish Regiment’s 75th Anniversary in 1989.
The Regimental museum is a tribute to all members of the Regimental Family, to all who have donated so many artifacts, and to all who have, as volunteers, worked hard to see it thrive as a memorial to the Regiment’s activities.
Please note that the Museum is not in a position to answer in-depth enquiries about former members. The National Archives of Canada is the main repository of military service records. Most of the First World War service records can be researched on-line. Second World War records have some restrictions due to privacy legislation.
Donations: If you have items that you would like to donate to the museum or for more information please contact:
The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s)
Bay Street Armoury
715 Bay Street
Victoria BC V8T 1R1
Tel (250) 363-8753 Fax (250) 363-3593
D-DAY LANDING - NORMANDY - 06 JUNE 1944