Pearkes, George Randolph

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Pearkes, George Randolph

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1888-1984

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George Randolph Pearkes was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England and emigrated to Canada in 1906. In 1911, Pearkes joined the Royal North West Mounted Police and served on detachment duty in the Yukon until the outbreak of World War I. During the war, Pearkes received the Victoria Cross, the Military Cross and the Distinguished Service Order, being promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. After the war he was appointed to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and stationed in Calgary. In 1925 Pearkes married Constance Blytha Copeman and they had two children. During the 1920s and early 1930s Pearkes served as staff officer in Winnipeg, Calgary and at the Royal Military College in Kingston. From 1936 to 1938 he attended the Imperial Defence College in London, England. In World War II, as Brigadier, Pearkes commanded the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade, and in 1942 was appointed general officer of Pacific command, overseeing defences on Canada's West Coast. He retired from the army in 1945 and went into federal politics, winning the Nanaimo riding for the Conservative Party. In 1957, Pearkes became Minister of Defence under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Pearkes resigned from federal politics in 1960 and was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, an office he held until 1968.

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