Army Years   1916-1945
World War II

Pearkes in WW2

     By the start of the Second World War in 1939, Pearkes had been promoted to Brigadier.  In October, he was given command of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade, The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.  This was comprised of western Canadian units:  a unit based in Vancouver; the Edmonton Regiment; the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, with companies in Victoria and Winnipeg; and the Saskatoon Light Infantry, which was attached temporarily to the brigade.  In December 1939, Pearkes, his staff, and the men of the 2nd Brigade sailed to England and were stationed at Aldershot.

     In February 1940, he became seriously ill with spinal meningitis but started to recover within a few weeks.  Blytha had been informed of his illness, and she and John left for England in order to be with him.  They remained in England, staying in a cottage nearby.  By now a Major-General, in November 1941, Pearkes was asked to take over as Corps Commander of the Canadian divisions from Lt.-Gen. A.G.L. McNaughton, who was taking an extended leave. Serving as Corps Commander brought Pearkes in contact with Lt.-Gen. B.L. Montgomery, with whom he had personality clashes.

     Major-General Pearkes often reviewed troops with distinguished military and world leaders.  For full views of Pearkes with the following individuals, click on the image.

Winston Churchill
Vincent Massey
J.C. Bowen

[ Winston Churchill ]

[ Vincent Massey ]

[ Lt-Gov. J.C. Bowen of Alberta ]

Oliver Stanley
King George VI
McNaughton and Montagne

[ Right Honorable Oliver Stanley,
British Minister of War

[ King George VI ]

[ McNaughton and Montagne ]

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