McNaughton returned to soldiering in WWII as commander of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division in 1939. Senior Canadian officer in the UK while the force there grew to a corps (1940) and then an army (1942), he endeavoured to hold the Canadians together in one formation and deeply involved himself in the scientific aspects of soldiering. He initiated an improved method of airburst ranging and the development of "sabot" antitank ammunition. But his tactical judgement was weak - he endorsed the ill-fated DIEPPE plan - and he never properly mastered the relationship between politics and high command in war. By late 1943, the crusty Canadian's uncompromising opposition to fragmentation of the Canadian Army Overseas was causing resentment in Ottawa; he was out of favour with his own minister of national defence, J.L. RALSTON; and British criticism of his generalship was mounting. Under pressure and in declining health, he resigned in Dec 1943.
McNaughton remained a favourite of PM Mackenzie KING (he had earlier been a confidant of PM R.B. BENNETT), and was slated to become the first Canadian-born governor general. Instead he was lured briefly and unsuccessfully into politics; he served as minister of national defence 1944-45 but was unable to stave off CONSCRIPTION for overseas service or to win a seat in Parliament. A compelling public figure for almost 2 decades after 1945, McNaughton was Canadian representative on the UN Atomic Energy Commission, and president of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada, 1946-48; permanent delegate to the UN, 1948-49; chairman of the Canadian Section of the INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, 1950-62, and of the PERMANENT JOINT BOARD ON DEFENCE, 1950-59. He was a determined, independent-minded proponent of his view of the national interest, and in his last great campaign he bitterly opposed the COLUMBIA RIVER TREATY.
Author NORMAN HILLMER AND BRERETON GREENHOUS
Links to Other Sites
A profile of Andrew MacNaughton from the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame.
The Memory Project: Dieppe Raid
Listen to interviews with Canadian veterans who provide remarkable first-hand accounts of their wartime military service. See also related digitized artefacts and memorabilia. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
The Memory Project: Andrew George Latta McNaughton
Listen to an interview with Canadian veteran Arnold “Sunny” Knox, who talks about his military service during the Second World War, which included meeting General McNaughton and his wife. Also check out related digitized artefacts and memorabilia. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...