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Sir Arthur Currie was the first Canadian commander of Canada's overseas forces in World War I. While Currie did not look the part of a professional soldier, he is generally thought by historians to be the best military commander that Canada has produced. Currie was given command of a battalion in the first Canadian contingent sent to assist Britain in 1914, in spite of his then limited experience. He advanced steadily, winning distinction at the battles of Ypres and Saint-Julien in Belgium and at the battle of Vimy Ridge in France. Within three years (in 1917) he became lieutenant general and commander of the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, succeeding the British general Sir Julian Byng. He lead the Canadian troops at Passchendaele, as well as other major battles. Currie was knighted in 1918. After the war he served as inspector general of the Canadian militia and became the first general in the Canadian Army. In 1920 he accepted the position of principal and vice chancellor of McGill University, Montreal, and retained this post until his death on 30 November 1933.
Knighted in 1917 by King George V, Currie was the recipient of various other honours, including Commander of the Bath, Legion of Honour, Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Croix de Guerre and the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal.
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Quotes by Sir Arthur William Currie
- I am a good enough Canadian to believe, if my experience justifies me in believing, that Canadians are best served by Canadians.
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