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Prince Philip at Wolseley Barracks

Prince Philip at Wolseley Barracks

The late Duke of Edinburgh visited the Regiment stationed in London, ON, on several occasions. Our collection holds souvenirs, mementoes and a vast photo archive related to these visits. In this Story, three of the most memorable occasions will be highlighted: the unveiling of The RCR Memorial and presentation of Colours in 1959, presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Banner to the Duke Company, 1st Battalion, The RCR in 1980, and the opening of The Royal Canadian Regiment Museum in 1983. A combination of photographic archive, archives and artefacts will follow and they are presented in a chronological sequence.

Prince Philip, Colonel-in-Chief, The RCR

This is an official portrait featuring HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in his capacity as Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Canadian Regiment. It is probably one of the first, if not the first, portrait showing the Prince in RCR dress. The photograph is in a series of official portraits depicting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, made especially before the 1959 royal visit to Canada. The photographs were taken at Buckingham Palace in 1958, by Toronto-based photographer Donald McKague.

This official portrait is of particular interest as the mat around the black and white photograph has the Duke’s autograph signature and date 1959, in sepia ink.

DATE: 1958-1959
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
OBJECT ID: RCRM2021.001.0001 (Royal Visits Fonds)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
An official photograph of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, with the Prince in The RCR ceremonial dress no. 1. It is very likely that the Duke posed for the photograph in our collection and the one hyperlinked here on the same time. The official photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was retrieved on the website of the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, on 11 Apr 2021.

See Photo

London Free Press - 2 July 1959

In 1959, Prince Philip accompanied Queen Elizabeth to Canada, for a royal visit. The opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway on 26 June 1959 was considered as the main event in the itinerary, however many other engagements were scheduled during the 45-day long tour. One of them, perhaps little known beyond London, ON, was Prince Philip’s visit to The Royal Canadian Regiment, at Wolseley Barracks. The Duke came on 2 July 1959 for two memorable events: the unveiling of The RCR Memorial and the presentation of Colours to the 1st and 3rd Battalions, The RCR. London Free Press put together a special section of the day issue highlighting the late Duke’s continued interest in the regiment and the presentation of Colours to the 2nd Battalion, The RCR, on 17 Oct 1955, in Soest, Germany (where the battalion was deployed at that time).


DATE: 2 July 1959
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2021.001.0002 (Royal Visits Fonds)

Plains, Trains and the Royal Yacht Britannia: the 1959 Royal Visit
An overview of the 1959 Royal Visit, web page retrieved on CBC website, 11 Apr 2021.

CBC Article

Arrival and Departure, 1959 Visit

Following Canada Day 1959 celebrations in Ottawa, the Royal Couple attended to their separate duties, with Prince Philip heading to London, ON on 2 July 1959. A large photographic archive in our collection is a visual testimonial of Prince Philip's visit to Wolseley Barracks on this date. There is no record as to the photographers, but it is likely that a professional(s), perhaps member(s) of the Department of National Defence, may have been assigned to the task. These photographs are black and white, one size (25.3 cm x 20.3cm); a few colour photographs, illustrating the same event, are part of the same Royal Visits Fonds. We have made a selection of images in three parts: the Arrival and the Departure from London airport, Prince Philip Unveiling The RCR Memorial and Prince Philip Presenting Colours to 1st and 3rd Battalions, The RCR.

During his Wolseley Barracks visit on 2nd of July 1959, Prince Philip was accompanied by the Colonel of the Regiment at the time, General Charles Foulkes. The General welcomed the Prince on the tarmac, alongside other dignitaries. An honour guard was formed both on arrival and departure.

DATE: 1959
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2021.002.0003a and e (Royal Visits Fonds)

Program, 1959 Events

A demonstration of military pageantry, the unveiling of The RCR Cenotaph and the presentation of Colours by HRH Prince Philip, were important milestones not only for the Regiment, but also for the London, ON community. The occasion called for detailed, in-advance preparations. A quick glance at the program printed for attending guests, shows the complexity of the project as well as the admirable work done by all who contributed to the double-event. The Duke of Edinburgh held the most important role in both events.

Each event had its own separate program, a limited number were leather bound together to include both the unveiling of the Cenotaph and the presentation of Colours. This is one of these copies that belonged to Lieutenant Colonel D.B. Weldon. At the time, D.B. Weldon was Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Battalion, The RCR (London and Oxford Fusiliers), one of the battalions receiving new Colours. Unlike the other recipient, the 1st Battalion, which represented the ties of the The RCR with the establishment of a permanent force in Canada back to the mid 1880s, the 3rd Battalion was, at that time, more closely connected to the local military history through its links in the local militia regiments from which it had been formed (the London 7th Regiment of Fusiliers and the neighbouring Oxford Fusiliers in Woodstock, ON).

DATE: 1959
Provenence: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2019.004.0001

Prince Philip Unveiling The RCR Memorial, 1959 Visit

The commemoration of the war dead with the unveiling of a Memorial dedicated to all those who made the supreme sacrifice under The RCR Colours since 1885 to the end of the Korean War, was a project in the works for a long time with the Old Comrades Association, today known as The RCR Association. On the 2nd of July 1959, the Old Comrades reunited at Wolseley Barracks to observe a dedication service by the Reverend H.R. Rokeby-Thomas. At the end of this service, the Comrades’ president at the time, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret'd) R.M. Dillon, invited HRH Prince Philip to unveil the memorial and to address the crowds. The ceremony ended with the Duke starting a long line of wreaths placing around the monument and a march past by all RCR veterans in attendance.

Date: 2 July 1959
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2021.002.0003b (Royal Visits Fonds)

Invitation Card, Review and Colours 1959

This invitation card was sent to Lieutenant Colonel D. B. Weldon, at the time Honorary Colonel of the 3rd (London and Oxford Fusiliers) Battalion, The RCR. The invitation highlights the presence of HRH Prince Philip who would review the Regiment and present new Colours to the 1st and the 3rd Battalions.

DATE: 1959
PROVENANCE: Western Libraries, c/o Robin Keirstead
OBJECT ID: RCRM2019.004.0004

Prince Philip Presenting Colours, 1959 Visit


The military parade following the unveiling of The RCR Memorial, brought forward all three battalions of the Regiment, and The RCR Band. HRH Prince Philip was the reviewing officer of the regiment on parade. The Duke also presented new Colours to the 1st and 3rd Battalions. A ten-step ceremony including not only inspection of the troops, march off of the old Colours, but also consecration and presentation of the new Colours, concluded with the Regiment's march past.

Date: 2 July 1959
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2021.002.0003c (Royal Visits Fonds)

Duke of Edinburgh Banner

This is the Duke of Edinburgh banner presented by HRH Prince Philip to the Duke of Edinburgh Company, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment on 31 May 1980. According to the regimental magazine Pro Patria (issue 43, July 1980), the Company had received its designation on 1 July 1978. It was Prince Philip's initiative and on 31 May 1980, he visited CFB London to formally present the banner. The receiving officer was Brigadier General (Ret'd) Dr. James S. Cox, at the time Major, Commanding Officer, Duke of Edinburgh's Company. The ceremony concluded with the Prince's address to the troops, who delivered a professional mandate to the troops: "You will be expected to set an example at all times, in all the military arts and virtues, in smartness and discipline, intelligence and general conduct, but particularly in courage and tenacity in moments of crisis and adversity." The citation is courtesy of James Cox, who generously offered the details about this official ceremony.

Date: ca. 1980
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
Object ID: RCRM2018.001.0217


Duke of Edinburgh's Banner
More on the Duke' Company Parade Banner in the Regimental Standing Orders.

Duke's Company Banner

Guest Book, Sergeants Mess

This Guest Book has been signed by a wide range of military and civilian visitors to the Sergeants Mess at Wolseley Barracks, between 1958 and 1988. Most prominent of all: HRH Prince Philip. Three of his signatures can be found as follows: on 23 Oct 1969, 31 May 1980 and 3 July 1983.

Date: 1958 - 1988
Provenance: Master Warrant Officer Gallant
Object ID: RCRM1996.017.0001

The Museum's First Visitor, 1983

Established in the late 1950s, our museum re-opened in a new, expanded version, on 30 June 1983, with HRH Prince Philip cutting the ribbon. The museum expansion and its re-opening were part of the Centennial anniversary of The Royal Canadian Regiment, a multi-day event held in London, ON, between 30 June and 3 July 1983. The Duke came to Wolseley Barracks to attend and participate in the event. Following arrival at London airport, the Prince came to Wolsley Barracks for the museum opening. Brigadier General (Ret'd) Philip Spencer was at the time officer commanding CFB London and in this capacity, he welcomed and accompanied the Prince through the museum, alongside the Regimental Adjutant, Captain John Bray. The late HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was our museum's first visitor.

All colour photographs shown here are part of a photo album featuring The RCR Centennial anniversary events, but the selection for this Story is limited to the museum opening. The photographs are standard size 12.6 cm x 10 cm.

Date: 1983
Provenance: The Royal Canadian Regiment Collection
OBject ID: RCRM2007.027.0127

Philip Spencer on the Opening of The RCR Museum, 1983

Brigadier General (Ret'd) Philip Spencer has generously offered this account of the museum opening on 30 June 1983. As Commanding Officer of CFB London, he welcomed HRH Prince Philip as the first visitor of our museum. Captain John Bray, Regimental Adjutant, in charge with the museum at the time, was the tour guide.