“A thought – make plan ere
Sending thousands on death’s path.”
Today on BC Week: Arthur Currie, a WWI general who stood out by not being murderously incompetent.
Currie was born in Ontario in 1875. Just before graduating high school, he got in a tiff with a teacher, so he struck out to BC without graduating.
Lacking better options, he worked as a teacher for a few years before becoming an insurance salesman. In the meantime, he joined the militia, got promoted into the officer ranks, which meant having to spend a lot of cash. Then the real estate firm he co-founded failed. Oh no. Then he got talked into forming a Highland regiment, which cost yet more cash. OH NO. Deeply in the hole, he embezzled the funds meant for uniforms. Later, a couple of rich subordinates of his quietly replaced the money, but if it had got out…
Then, war! Currie, now a brigade commander, and the Canadians arrived at Ypres just in time for that horrific battle. Currie and crew performed well, even in the face of POISON GAS. During all this, he noticed that Garnet Hughes, son of Minister of Militia and Defense Sam Hughes, kind of sucked as an officer. He later refused to promote him, thus making an enemy of Hughes Sr, who was the worst.
Currie himself was promoted to division commander and continued to stand out with thorough planning and competency. Vimy happened, then knighting and promotion to lieutenant general, then Ypres (again), then Passchendaele, etc, capping it off with the liberation of Mons. On the same day peace happened. Oops. Throughout this, he kept the Canadian divisions intact despite British opposition.
Then when he returned home, he got to fight Sam Hughes, who’d been calling him a butcher in Parliament. Joy. He had to fend off libelous remarks from Hughes’ cronies for pretty much the rest of his life.
Currie was lured over to the godless east by McGill University offering him the post of principal. There he stayed, until ’33, because he died.
PS: Sam Hughes was the worst. (And so was Mary Queen of Scots. Come fight me IRL.)