Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for September 13th!
His troops called him “Guts and Gaiters”. Many have described him as Canada’s greatest military commander.
Arthur Currie, one of the many heroic faces of World War 1, is appointed General commanding the 1st Canadian division of the new Canadian corps, September 13th, 1915. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the career of Sir Arthur Currie.
Sir Arthur William Currie was the first Canadian-appointed commander of the Canadian Corps during WWI. He began the war with no professional military experience but several years of service in the Canadian Militia. He was appointed commander of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on 29 September 1914, commander of the 1st Canadian Division on 13 September 1915 and commander of the Canadian Corps on 9 June 1917.
This Canadian History for Kids article begins when William Currie was born in Napperton, Ontario, just west of Strathroy. He was educated in local common schools and at the Strathroy District Collegiate Institute, and briefly attended the University of Toronto before moving to British Columbia in 1894 to teach.
He had the unique distinction of starting his military career on the very bottom rung as a pre-war militia gunner before rising through the ranks to become the first Canadian commander of the four divisions of the unified Canadian Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was the first Canadian to attain the rank of full general. Currie’s success was based on his ability to rapidly adapt brigade tactics to the battles of trench warfare, using set “bite-and-hold” tactics.
He is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history. Currie participated in all major actions of the Canadian forces, including PASSCHENDAELE, during the war but is best known for his planning and leadership during the last 100 days, beginning August 8 and lasting until 11 November 1918, perhaps the most successful of all Allied offensives during the war.
British wartime Prime Minister Lloyd George called Currie a “brilliant military commander,” and might have appointed him commander of all British forces had the war continued.
This Canadian History for Kids article continues after the war when Currie served as inspector general of the militia forces in Canada from August 1919 to July 1920, and in 1920 became principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University.
And that’s this week Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of our Canada.