Sir Arthur Currie

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 9, 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of Sir Arthur Currie’s appointment to command of the Canadian Corps. On June 6, 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 command, Currie’s promotion was made effective from 9 June 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.