General Sir Arthur Currie

General Sir Arthur Currie

Played by Bruce Turner.

Arthur Currie was born into a modest, farming family in Adelaide Township, Ontario, Canada in 1875. After school Currie secured a teaching certificate, working as a teacher between 1894- 1899, before switching careers and moving into insurance. Across both his teaching and insurance work Currie was enlisted too, in the local militia artillery unit. Originally a gunner – the artillery equivalent of private – he was a lieutenant colonel and commanding officer of the regiment by 1909; a meteoric rise by any stretch. Unfortunately, throughout his careers, Currie struggled with money, falling into severe debt and stealing $10,000 from his regiment.

Once overseas and in action in World War One, Currie was quick to climb the ladder again. Initially serving as the commander of the First Contingent’s 2nd Infantry Brigade, he was promoted in 1915 to major general and commanding officer of the 1st Canadian Division, and in 1917 was both knighted and promoted to lieutenant general and commanding officer of the Canadian Corps. Currie’s battlefield philosophies included meticulous preparation, close cooperation between the infantry and the artillery and that ground was to be gained at the expense of artillery shells rather than lives.

During the 100 Days Offensive, Currie continued to command the Canadian Corps, where he successfully kept the Canadian troops together despite strong requests to split and restructure them. The Corps were an indisputable force to be reckoned with and led many of the influential battles towards the end of the war, including the Battle of Amiens, the breaking of the Drocourt- Quéant Line, the Battle of Cambrai and the Pursuit to Mons. At the conclusion of the war, Currie returned to his education roots and became the Principal of McGill University. Currie died of a stroke in 1933 at just 57 years of age and his funeral attracted over 200,000 mourners.