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 (see VIMY RIDGE). Criticism of this campaign by Sir Sam HUGHES in Parliament resulted in postwar controversy and a libel action in 1928 which completely vindicated Currie.
Fighting off bankruptcy, Currie diverted $11 000 of his regiment's money to cover his personal debts. The affair came to the attention of Prime Minister Borden, who refused to consider court-martialling Canada's best soldier. 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.
Currie served as inspector general of the militia forces in Canada 23 August 1919 to 30 July 1920, and in 1920 became principal and vice-chancellor of McGill, a position he held until his death. Without benefit of post-secondary education himself, he was extraordinarily successful as a university administrator at a time of particular importance in McGill's development.
Author A.M.J. HYATT
Links to Other Sites
Battle of Passchendaele
This site provides links to a detailed education guide that invites students to discover how the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele became a defining event in Canadian history. Activities focus on the analysis of vital primary sources, multimedia, and other resources. Associated with the the major Canadian feature film "Passchendaele." From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
This Ottawa memorial honours fourteen valiant men and women who gave outstanding wartime service to Canada.
The Battle of Vimy Ridge
This site offers a brief account of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. From Veterans Affairs Canada.
The 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge
Scroll down to see an article about the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. From the Department of National Defence. A PDF file.
Canada’s National Army, Canada’s National Interest 1918, 2008
This paper offers some comparisons between decisions taken by Prime Minister Sir Robert Laird Borden and Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie in the last years of the First World War and contemporary foreign and defence policy in the era of Prime Minister Harper and General Hillier. From the "Journal of Military and Strategic Studies".
Sir Samuel Hughes
A biography of Sir Samuel Hughes, teacher, militia officer, newspaper proprietor, and politician. Offers interesting details about government policies concerning Canada's involvement in the First World War. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Sir Arthur Currie Being Decorated by General Orth
A brief 1918 vintage film clip depicting Lt.-Gen Sir Arthur Currie and other officers being decorated by General Orth in France. From the "Images of a Forgotten War" at the National Film Board of Canada website.