9 June 1917
A Canadian Corps Commander

Lieutenant-General Currie (middle) and His Majesty King George V (left) tour the Vimy Ridge battlefield in July 1917 with General Horne (right).
Credit: Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-001502.

June 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of Sir Arthur Currie‘s appointment to command of the Canadian Corps. On 6 June 1917, Sir Arthur Currie was summoned to Canadian Corps Headquarters and notified of his promotion as Lieut.-General Sir Julian Byng was vacating the position by taking over the British Third Army. However, without consulting the Canadian government, Currie‘s command had not received official approval. A burst of messages passed back and forth across the ocean between Prime Minister Borden and Canadian Overseas Minister Sir George Perley. Quickly reaching a consensus that they desired a Canadian in commandCurrie‘s promotion was made effective from 9June 1917 (Nicholson, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919, p. 283-284).  

It would the first time a Canadian took command of the entire Canadian Corps, but it was not without controversy. Next week we will look at a scandal that nearly brought down Currie’s command.

Download our poster commemorating the 100th anniversary of Sir Arthur Currie’s appointment here.