Byng and Currie
The man in charge of the Canadian assault on Vimy Ridge was Sir Julian Byng, a British aristocrat with an intense gaze, but cheery and approachable personality. Upon being congratulated on being promoted to command of the Canadian Corp in May of 1916, Byng responded:
Despite his initial hesitation, the Canadian troops flourished under Byng’s leadership and soldiers referred to themselves as “Byng’s Boys.”
Sir Julian Byng
- When he was knighted after the war, Byng chose the title of Lord Byng of Vimy (he was permitted to choose which battle to be known by).
- Byng became the Governor General of Canada, the British monarchy’s representative in parliament, from 1921-1926.
- The NHL Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship is named after his wife.
- Byng was known as “Bungo” to his friends and even the British King, George V. He got this nickname at school because his older brothers were known as “Byngo” and "Bango”.
- To see what became of Byng's war medals, click the yellow star below.
Sir Arthur Currie
Sir Arthur Currie rose from humble beginnings in Strathroy, Ontario to become one of Canada’s finest generals. Currie was commander of Canada's First Division during the Battle of Vimy Ridge and was later promoted to head of the Canadian Corps. Under his command, Canadians were successful in each of the battles they participated in until the end of the War. Currie was a remarkable leader for his ability to deal the realities of trench warfare in a way that other commanders with a more extensive military background were unable to. He was also notable for his emphasis on pre-battle preparations and his sincere concern for the men under his command.
- Currie’s nickname was “Guts and Gaiters.”
- Before the war, Currie was a teacher for several years before going on to work in finance and real estate.
- In 1914, Currie got in trouble financially by using regimental money to cover his private debt. He eventually paid back the money, with the help of wealthy contacts, years later.
- Like many leaders and decision makers, Currie made enemies who harshly and publicly criticized him. In 1927 he successfully sued a newspaper for libel.
- Currie Barracks in Calgary is one of many Canadian places named after the General.
- To see Currie's attestation paper and Currie in the news, click on the stars below
For a 4 minute biography of Currie, please watch the following video: