Sir Arthur Currie

  • The Birth of Sir Arthur William Currie

    The Birth of Sir Arthur William Currie
    Arthur Currie was born on the 5th of December, 1875, in Adelaide, ON. His father was William Garner Curry, and his mother was Jane Patterson. Arthur was the third child in the family with eight children on their family-run farm.
  • Arthur Currie's School Days

    Arthur Currie's School Days
    Arthur was a good student with good grades, he wanted to be able to pursue a career in law or medicine, but he lacked the financial means after his father passed when he was 15.
  • The End of High School

    The End of High School
    Currie, unfortunately, quarrelled with one of his teachers, and he subsequently left high school to seek his fortune in British Columbia.
  • Becoming a Teacher

    Becoming a Teacher
    Arthur found no prospects outside of teaching, so he qualified for a teaching position in British Columbia. He moved to Victoria, taking a teaching position at Boy's Central School and later Victoria High School.
  • Currie's Surname

    Currie's Surname
    Arthur Currie modified the spelling of his surname from Curry (which originated from his grandfather's surname, Corrigan) to Currie.
  • The Dandy Fifth

    The Dandy Fifth
    Currie joined the Canadian Militia as a part-time gunner for the 5th Field Artillery Regiment, also known by the nickname 'Dandy Fifth.'
  • Becoming an Insurance Salesman

    Currie achieved the rank of Corporal and was soon after offered an officer's commission. However, a military commission was an expensive proposition. Currie was discouraged by his financial prospects as a teacher. In February, he left teaching and took a position as an insurance salesman with Matson & Coles.
  • Captain

    Currie was promoted to Captian of the British Columbia Rifle Association.
  • Lucy Chaworth-Musters

    Lucy Chaworth-Musters
    Currie married Lucy Chaworth-Musters, who had been raised by Currie's Uncle and Aunt in British Columbia after being abandoned by her British military officer father following the death of her mother in childbirth.
  • Matson Insurance Firm

    Matson Insurance Firm
    Currie continued to be active in business. He was appointed head of the Matson Insurance Firm when Sam Matson decided to concentrate his energy on publishing the 'Daily Colonist.'
  • President

    Currie was elected president of the British Columbia Rifle Association.
  • Major

    Currie was promoted to Major of the British Columbia Rifle Association.
  • Victoria District of Freemasonry

    Victoria District of Freemasonry
    Currie was also an active freemason, rising to the position of deputy grandmaster of the Victoria District of Freemasonry.
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    Currie & Power

    Currie formed Currie & Power. He invested heavily in the real estate market. This firm was successful until 1912 when the property prices began to decline.
  • Lieutenant Colonel

    Currie had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, commanding the 5th Regiment.
  • The 50th Regiment Gordon Highlanders of Canada

    The government authorized the formation of the 50th Regiment Gordon Highlanders of Canada. The original commanding officer failed to qualify for the post, and Currie was approached as a logical replacement. He initially turned down the idea, recognizing it would add to his financial problems.
  • Major Garnet Hughes

    His subordinate and friend, Major Garnet Hughes, was responsible for persuading Currie to reconsider and accept the position. He qualified for the post in March.
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    Training in England

    The Canadian 1st Division spent two winters training in England.
  • Uniform Debt

    Currie received CA $10 833.34 (equivalent to about CA $240 861 in 2018) from the Militia Department to purchase new uniforms. Currie embezzled the funds to pay off his debts.
  • Command of a Brigade

    Canada found itself at war when World War I broke out. Currie was offered of Military District NO. 11 - British Columbia, when he turned that down, he was then offered command of the 2nd Infantry Brigade of the Canadian Expeditionary Force's 1st Canadian Division, this he accepted with the persuasion from Garnet Hughes.
  • Brigadier General

    Currie was promoted, officially, to Brigadier General, and he took command of the 2nd Brigade at the Valcartier Camp in Quebec.
  • Departure to France

    The Canadain 1st Division was sent to France.
  • The Battle at Ypres

    The Battle at Ypres
    Five days after The Canadian 1st Division took control of a section of the trench in the Ypres Salient on April 17th, the German used poison gas for the first time on the Western Front. In the chaos, Currie issued commands from his brigade headquarters even as it was gassed and set on fire. He cobbled together a fluid defence and counterattack. After several days of fighting, they were able to deny the Germans a breakthrough.
  • Division Commander

    Division Commander
    Following the Battle at Ypres, Currie was promoted to Major-General, and given command of the entire First Canadian Division.
  • Moving to England

    Currie and his family move to England.
  • The Hughes

    The Hughes
    Sam Hughes wanted Garnet promoted to command of a division. However, Currie, having seen Garnet in action at the Second Battle of Ypres, believed Garnet to be an incompetent officer and refused. This caused Arthur to lose friendships with both of them.
  • The Anticipation of Vimy Ridge

    The British High Command informed Byng that the Canadians would have a central role in the incoming Battle of Arras by attacking Vimy Ridge.
  • Researching for The Battle of Vimy Ridge

    Researching for The Battle of Vimy Ridge
    Currie researched officer's experiences in past battles to help prepare for Vimy Ridge. In his report, Currie evaluated not only the French offensive but also what the Canadians had done wrong in the fighting around Pozieres in 1916.
  • Paying Debts

    Currie borrowed money from two wealthy subordinates David Watson and Victor Odlum, to finally pay back the money he had taken from the 50th Regiment.
  • The Start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

    The Start of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
    By the end of the 9th, the 1st Canadian Division had captured all of its first line objectives, and the left half of its second line.
  • The End of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

    Frest troops had leap-frogged existing battalions to advance to the third objective line. By the end of the day, the 1st Canadian Divisions secured their final subject.
  • Knighting

    Knighting
    Currie was knighted by King George V and appointed Knight Commander of the order of St. Micheal and St. George.
  • Lieutenant-General

    Currie was raised to the rank of Lieutenant-General and given command of the entire Canadian Corps.
  • The Battle of Hill 70

    The Battle of Hill 70
    Lieutenant-General Henry Horne had directed Currie to develop a plan for capturing the city by July. The operation was meant to engage as many German formations as viable and to avoid them from reinforcing. Currie instead proposed to take the high ground outside the city, marked on allied mass as Hill 70, hold the feature in the expectation of a German counterattack, and inflict casualties by preparing a zone of potent artillery and machine gunfire. Currie's plan was implemented successfully.
  • The Planning of The Attack on Passchendaele

    The Planning of The Attack on Passchendaele
    Currie and the Canadian Corps were transferred to Ypres to take part in the Battle of Passchendaele. Currie submitted his provisional operation plan. He estimated the attack would result in 16,000 casualties.
  • The Battle of Passchendaele

    The Battle of Passchendaele
    Currie's preparations included reconnaissance, road construction and massing of artillery and colossal machine guns. Rather than one mass attack, Currie designed a series of well-prepared, sharp attacks that allowed the Corps to take an objective and then hold it versus the inevitable German counterattacks. By the 30th, the Canadians gained the outskirts of the village in a driving rainstorm and then held on for five days against intense shelling and counterattacks.
  • The Outcome of Passchendaele

    The victory of Passchendaele came at the cost of 15,654 casualties. It was an impressive victory because both sides were losing morale, and the battle was looked at as impossible. The waist-high mud and the constant counter-attacks from behind were challenging to combat. Without this win, France would've surrendered from the war effort along with some of the other allies.
  • Amiens

    Amiens
    Currie was ordered to move the Corps 70 miles south to Amiens. The Canadians took pains to camouflage their move. With no preliminary artillery bombardment at Amiens to warn the Germans, the attack was a success.
  • The Hindenburg Line

    The Canadians moved to the Somme, where they participated in the attack on the Hindenburg Line at the Drocourt-Queant Line.
  • Battle of the Canal du Nord

    Battle of the Canal du Nord
    Currie took three weeks to prepare his most audacious plan: he suggested the entire Corps cross the drier section of the canal on a front of only 2,500 m. They did as planned; the German army staged a controlled retreat over the next five weeks.
  • The Attack on Mons

    The Attack on Mons
    Currie, under orders to continue the advance on the Germans, ordered elements of the Corps to liberate Mons.
  • The Victory at the Attack on Mons

    As Currie received orders confirming there would be a general armistice at 11:00 AM, the capture of Mons was completed.
  • Moving to Halifax

    Currie and his family returned to Canada following the War, arriving in Halifax.
  • Becoming a General

    Becoming a General
    Currie was appointed Inspector-General of the Armed Forces and was then promoted to full-ranking General, the highest-ranking position in the Canadian forces.
  • McGill University

    McGill University
    Currie retired from the military and accepted the position of principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University in Montreal.
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    The Last Post Fund

    Currie was also president of the Last Post Fund.
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    National Conference of Canadian Universities

    He served as president of the National Conference of Canadian Universities. He was also later elected as a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1927.
  • Port Hope Evening Guide

    A front-page editorial by the Hughes-friendy 'Port Hope Evening Guide' argued that Currie was either negligent or deliberate in wasting the lives of soldiers under his command in the taking of Mons on the final day of the war.
  • Libel Suit

    Currie sued the newspaper for libel, seeking $50,000 in damages. Currie testified that he had been under orders from Allied Supreme Commander Ferdinand Foch to pressure Germans forces and to do otherwise would have been treason. The newspaper was found guilty, but Currie was only awarded $500 in damages, plus costs.
  • The Passing of Sir Arthur William Currie

    The Passing of Sir Arthur William Currie
    Currie suffered a stroke on November 5th, 1933 and passed on the 30th at the age of 57 at Royal Victoria Hospital from bronchial complications brought on by pneumonia.
  • The Funeral of Sir Arthur William Currie

    The Funeral of Sir Arthur William Currie
    His military funeral was held in Montreal and was the largest to that point in Canadian history. Those attending the funeral included Lord Bessborough, at the time the Governor-General of Canada, important Canadian politicians, foreign diplomats and representatives of Mcgill University.