Title and statement of responsibility area
Owen Gardner fonds
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PPCLI Fonds 133
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Dates of creation area
1794, 1924-1989 (Creation)
- Gardner, Owen Wallace
Physical description area
5 cm of textual records. - 29 photographs.
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Name of creator
Owen Wallace "Bill" Gardner, 1907-1991, was born in Godalming, Surrey, England. He emigrated to Canada and joined Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) as a drummer boy in 1923 at the age of 16. Rapidly promoted up the ranks, he was a Warrant Officer II and Regimental Sergeant-Major (RSM) by 1939. In 1942-1945 he served in the Instructional Cadre of the Canadian Army, and in 1945-1955 he was again an RSM of PPCLI. He saw action in North West Europe and Korea, and was the founding curator of the PPCLI Museum in 1953. In 1955 he had the rare distinction of being commissioned and appointed Captain without being required to take qualifying courses. He retired from the army in 1958. He was known as a fierce disciplinarian, but he was also a connoisseur of literature and classical music. He was married to the former Ella Bowers of Winnipeg and had one daughter, Shirley Olave McLeod. Following Ella's death in 1967 he became a close friend of the Calgary bookseller Evelyn de Mille.
Scope and content
The fonds contains a copy of the Militia Act of Great Britain (1786) from Gardner's library; his Warrant (1939); his demobilization letter (1945); a transcribed poem; and a menu from the Sir Winston Spencer Churchill Society (Calgary) annual memorial dinner (1984). Includes photographs from Gardner's military career which he had framed (1924-1973); and photographs from his retirement collected by Evelyn de Mille (ca. 1980s).
Immediate source of acquisition
The fonds was donated by Gardner's grandson James O.N. McLeod (A2019.064) and by his friend Evelyn de Mille (06.37).
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No finding aid.
Further biographical information on Gardner is available in Collection 1, files 51(4)-1, 71(1)-1, 178(5)-1, and 218(39)-1. His obituary is in Collection 65, File 43.
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