Written by: Julia DiPalo
When I look back into Canada’s history, beyond all of the super famous people I see Sir Arthur Currie. I am a total history buff (it’s my major) so it isn’t a surprise that I would think of a military leader from WWI.
Currie is an Ontario boy- born in Strathroy in 1875. He attended UofT (unfortunately Trent wasn’t around for him to attend then) and got a teaching degree. He taught for five years and then joined the Canadian Garrison Artillery. In 1900 Currie was offered an Officer position, which really wasn’t his cup of tea, but realizing his Corporal wage, matched with his wife’s teaching wage would not lead them to live the life they desired, he took the job. Currie enjoyed a job with precision, marksmanship, and by 1906, he was Commander of the 5th regiment.
1914 was the start of WWI, and Currie was made the brigadier-general. The first set of battles that Currie had to face were at Ypres. After the allied forces held on long enough to secure their position and not let the Germans push through their lines, Currie was promoted to major-general and was now in charge of the entire 1st Canadian division. In the second battle of Ypres Currie really impressed his superiors with his calm nature and his amazingly organized tactics (much different than the organized tactics we practice around exams!).
Currie’s most famous appearance in Canadian history was at Vimy Ridge in 1917, where he made up, what he thought, was the ultimate plan. Currie moved his soldiers in on April 9th 1917, and by April 12th Vimy Ridge was completely in the hands of the allied forces. This was a major factor in the allied forces winning WWI and it was all in the hands of Currie (as well as some other military leaders – who this post is not about).
Currie was promoted once again to lieutenant-general and put in control of the entire Canadian Corps. Sir Arthur Currie was knighted by King George V on June 4th 1917. Currie was the key to the success of the Canadian Army and the allied forces in winning the war. In my opinion he was one of the greatest and most important men in Canada’s history. Way more important than Justin Bieber!