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Indigenous Relations Division

Sargeant Tommy Prince Memorial

Born in Manitoba, he was one of eleven children of Henry and Arabella Prince of the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation near Scanterbury, Manitoba.  Tommy Prince was the great-great grandson of Chief Peguis.  Sargeant Prince died at the Deer Lodge Hospital in Winnipeg in 1977 and was interred in the Brookside Cemetery.

Sargeant Prince's medals changed hands several times before coming up for auction in London, Ontario. His nephew, Chief Jim Bear, organized a pledge drive and purchased the medals, entrusting them to the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg.

Since his passing, a number of honours have been bestowed in his name. Some of them are:

  • Sgt. Tommy Prince Street – Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Sgt Tommy Prince School – Scanterbury, Manitoba
  • The "Tommy Prince Barracks" at Canadian Forces Base, Petawawa, Ontario
  • The "Tommy Prince Drill Hall" at the Land Force Western Area Training Centre in Wainwright, Alberta
  • Government of Canada "Sergeant Tommy Prince Army Training Initiative" for Aboriginal recruiting
  • The "Tommy Prince Award": An Assembly of First Nations scholarship
  • The "Tommy Prince Scholarship" at Sault College, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
  • 553 Sgt. Tommy Prince PPCLI Cadet Corps, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Tommy Prince Road in the Valour Park/Victoria Cross Park – a mixed-use development of Currie Barracks in Calgary, Alberta (2010)
  • In 2005, Historica Canada released a Heritage Minute on Prince. https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/tommy-prince

Sargeant Prince is one of the country’s most decorated Indigenous soldiers. At the start of World War II, Prince volunteered to fight with the Canadian Army serving in the 1st Special Service Force (also called The Devil's Brigade). After returning to the UK, Prince was summoned to Buckingham Palace on February 12, 1945 where King George VI presented him with his Military Medal. Prince would later receive his Silver Star from US General Koening (on behalf of the American President on April 24, 1945; he was one of 59 Canadians to receive this award during the war, and one of only three to receive the Silver Star and Military Medal. In all, Sargeant Tommy Prince was decorated nine times, the most of any Indigenous soldier in the war.

In August 1950, Prince re-enlisted in the Canadian Army to fight with the United Nations troops in the Korean War. Prince became a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), the first Canadian regiment to arrive in the war zone. Prince was present with the 2 PPCLI when it became the first Canadian unit awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation for distinguished service in the Battle of Kapyong on April 24 and 25, 1951.

The Sargeant Tommy Prince Memorial is located at a City of Winnipeg facility, the Freight House, Door # 1 - 200 Isabel Street.

The memorial is free and open to the public during the following times http://winnipeg.ca/cms/recreation/facilities/leisurecentres/freighthouse.stm

Last update: November 3, 2017
Did you Know?
Winnipeg derives its name from the Cree word of 'win' for muddy and 'nippee' for water. An Indigenous trading centre prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Winnipeg was at the heart of the country's fur trade and instrumental in developing Canada's gateway to the west.