National Treasure #121: Arthur Currie & Henry Norwest

A look at two Canadian soldiers from the Battle of Vimy Ridge, representing both ends of the chain of military command.

Arthur Currie

Arthur Currie “is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history.”

Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie was made commander of the Canadian Corps in June 1917. A detailed planner, he refused to send his troops into battle without thorough preparations. The Canadians never lost a battle under Currie’s command, even though he lacked charisma and was never popular with his soldiers. – Canadian War Museum site

Henry Norwest

Henry was a Métis sniper who survived the Battle of Vimy Ridge, but was killed in August 1918 by a German sniper.

Starting out earning a monthly wage of $15, Norwest quickly established himself as a skilled sniper while fighting in France with Calgary’s 50th Battalion. . . . During the war, First Nation soldiers were among Canada’s top snipers, and Norwest’s upbringing and experience as a hunter were evident, says Al Judson, curator of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Museum, where one of Norwest’s rifles is on display.

On April 9, 1917, under a barrage of heavy fire, Norwest was among the thousands of Canadian troops who made the deadly push to capture Vimy Ridge. Norwest was awarded a Military Medal for his efforts to help allied forces capture “the Pimple,” a significant point along the ridge. In his award citation, officials said he showed great bravery and “saved a great number of our men’s lives.” – CBC site


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