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Remembered Today:

Arthur Currie - a Question


Edward_N_Kelly
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Before you groan "Not another Currie question"! I do have a genuine query that may not have been raised in this Forum before.....

While reading Robin Neilland's Great War Generals (and I am still reading it) I was piqued by a reference to Currie's pre-war service and his borrowing of some $(Can)11,000 from Regimental Funds to avoid bankruptcy (through bad real estate deals).

It said that he "did not wake but that was his first thought nor go to sleep that it was not his last thought " that his malfeasance would be made public and he would be forced to resign and face criminal proceedings. (It must be pointed out that Borden had been acquainted with the incident through a third party but if it became widely known how would a politician jump?)

We all know Currie was a good leader of above the norm troops but could he have been even better if this was not hanging over his head ? To take the contrary view, might it have in fact been spur to make himself irreplaceable so avoiding much of the potential fall-out ?

Cheers

Edward

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It strikes me that if Currie had wanted to 'secure' his position better then he may have conformed more with his British superiors rather than distance himself by his success and independence.

I do feel that his position was greatly enhanced by the fact that he had the small camerardarie of Canadians around him and that they worked together day in day out, especially at corps level where he had the same units unlike British Corps commanders. That said it should not detract from his ability to try new ideas and do what was right.

I should imagine to his emmidiate superior he was a right royal pain the the rear!

regards

Arm.

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It strikes me that if Currie had wanted to 'secure' his position better then he may have conformed more with his British superiors rather than distance himself by his success and independence.

I do feel that his position was greatly enhanced by the fact that he had the small camerardarie of Canadians around him and that they worked together day in day out, especially at corps level where he had the same units unlike British Corps commanders. That said it should not detract from his ability to try new ideas and do what was right.

I should imagine to his emmidiate superior he was a right royal pain the the rear!

regards

Arm.

But to take the view that security of position is dependant upon his service to the Empire (ie British) interests goes against the increasing independence of the Dominions.

By the end of the war Borden and Hughes (that is William Morris Hughes) for instance had demanded separate "seats at the table" at the Peace Conference. This caused a lot of consternation as, under International Law, the Dominions were not independent nations. As a fall back solution they were counted amongst the British (Imperial) delegation though they were allowed an independent voice (this gave rise to the rather imperious enquiry from Woodrow Wilson as to what right Australia claimed a seat to which Hughes is reputed to have replied "60,000 dead!"). Anyway this move to independent nation-state was to reach culmination in the Statute of Westminster in 1933.

So back to the question - was Currie's position dependant on domestic (Canadian) politics more than the opinions of his Imperial cousins? Therefore would disclosure of his malfeasance in Canada have meant his downfall no matter his standing in France?

Cheers

Edward

Edited for a couple of typos

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Edward.

Have admitted on other thread to lack of knowledge about Currie. But have read "Buffalo-Bill" type stories about one Sam Steele. Although age may have been against him, there are suggestions that political intrigue debarred Steele from promotion that [presumably] went to Currie.

Pat

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