Sir Arthur Currie, 1920-1933

Sir Arthur Currie

Born in Adelaide, Ontario in 1875, Arthur Currie was educated locally as a school teacher and left at the age of nineteen to seek his fortunes in Victoria, British Columbia. After a short career as a teacher, he became an insurance agent, then a manager and real estate developer. Concurrently, he also pursued a career in the militia rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel by 1912. After the outbreak of war in 1914 he rose quickly through the ranks, orchestrating the famous Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge, and by 1917 he was the commander of the Canadian Corps in France. Currie's leadership skills, mastery of complex situations and attention to detail on the battlefield were transferable, due to his hard work, to McGill's academic milieu. A fine public speaker, Currie greatly aided McGill's capital campaign of 1920. Currie's reputation as a general was attacked in 1927 by an Ontario newspaper which charged him with the needless sacrifice of Canadian troops during the war. Currie sued the newspaper and won. However, the trial had taken an emotional toll on Currie and he was given a leave of absence. He died in office in 1933.

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