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Gilbert A. Currie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gilbert Archibald Currie
Gilbert Archibald Currie circa 1917.jpg
Currie circa 1917
41st Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives
In office
January 1, 1913 – December 31, 1914
GovernorWoodbridge N. Ferris
Preceded byHerbert F. Baker
Succeeded byCharles W. Smith
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1917 – March 3, 1921
Preceded byGeorge A. Loud
Succeeded byRoy O. Woodruff
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the Midland County district
In office
1909–1915
Personal details
Born
Gilbert Archibald Currie

(1882-09-19)September 19, 1882
Midland Township, Michigan
DiedJune 5, 1960(1960-06-05) (aged 77)
Midland, Michigan
Resting placeMidland Cemetery, Midland, Michigan
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceMidland, Michigan

Gilbert Archibald Currie (September 19, 1882 – June 5, 1960) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Currie was born in Midland Township, Michigan, attended the district school, Midland High School, and graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1905. He was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1905 and commenced practice in Midland. He was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, 1909–1915, serving as Speaker of the House during the 47th Legislature.

Currie was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination in 1914 to the 64th Congress. In 1916, he was elected from Michigan's 10th congressional district to the 65th Congress and was reelected in 1918 to the 66th, serving from March 4, 1917 to March 3, 1921. He was unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1920.

After leaving Congress, Currie resumed the practice of law and also engaged in the banking business until his death in Midland at the age of 77. He was interred in Midland Cemetery.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ One Of the Capable Generals of WW1 - Arthur Currie I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?
  • ✪ Currie Slide Show

Transcription

Canadian Arthur Currie had never commanded anything larger than a militia regiment by the outbreak of war in 1914, but within a few years he rose to be Commander of the Canadian Corps and became one of the most respected and able generals of the First World War. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to another great war bio special edition of “who did what in World War One?” today featuring Arthur Currie. He was born December 5, 1875 in the hamlet of Napperton, Ontario, the son of William Garner Curry and his wife Jane. His name at the time was spelled Curry. The name actually had been Corrigan when his father’s parents had emigrated from Ireland in 1838, but they changed it. Arthur would change the spelling in his 20s, supposedly because he didn’t like it being equated with the food. Young Arthur was a good student and was heading for a career in law when his father died in 1891, and Arthur subsequently lowered his sights, training in Strathroy and receiving a third-class teacher’s certificate. In 1894, he headed west to seek his fortune in British Columbia, taking teaching positions in Sidney and Victoria. In 1899, he left teaching and began selling insurance in Victoria. In 1901 he married Lucy Sophia Musters, known as Lil. They would have two children. Currie’s career began to take off at this time; in 1904 he took over the agency he’d been working for, but, more importantly for us, he was also getting seriously involved in the local militia, which he had joined in 1897. He rose quickly through the ranks, and was an avid student of military affairs, taking courses offered by professional soldiers and reading all the latest military literature. Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Currie was commanding the regiment by 1909. When war broke out in 1914, Canada was committed to Britain’s war effort, as was Currie. At first, Currie was going to assume the post of commanding officer of the British Columbia district where he would be in charge of recruitment and training. This would have allowed Currie to also keep an eye on his finances, which had gone south after a big failure in land speculation. Currie’s friends, however, thought he was way too good a soldier to stay at home, and in particular his friend Garnet Hughes, son of the minister of militia and defense Sam Hughes, persuaded his father to find a good post for him, and in September 1914, Curry became commander of the 2nd Canadian infantry Brigade. Currie accepted this position, but not before he took over $10,000 from his militia Regiment’s funds in order to pay off his debts. As you may imagine, this would come back to haunt him. In October, Currie and his men, some 4,000 strong, went to England where they would train over the winter, traveling to the continent in February 1915. In April, Currie’s brigade was posted to Ypres, just in time for the second battle of Ypres. It was here that the German first used chlorine gas, opening a hole in the lines. The Canadians were outnumbered and outgunned, but Currie’s defense was spirited and solid, and the Canadians fought exceptionally well, and with British reinforcements, the situation was stabilized. This came at a great cost – by early May when his Brigade was relieved Currie had lost nearly half of his men. Two weeks later at Festubert, Currie’s men took a further 1,200 casualties in what was essentially fruitless fighting, which saw scenes like a frustrated Currie pleading in vain with his superior General Alderson to postpone a suicidal frontal assault against entrenched German positions protected by uncut barbed wire. Curry was quite different from most generals in the British and Colonial forces. He came from a militia, he was overweight, he didn’t have a moustache. He was easy going and was popular with his officers, but not so much with the rest of the men, who found him stiff and pompous. He was not a charismatic leader even though, as he’d show postwar, he was a powerful orator. At war, he was above all concerned with avoiding needless sacrifice on the battlefield, and an obsessive planner who insisted on adequate protection for the men at the sharp end of an assault. In September 1915 he was promoted to Major-General and given command of the 1st Canadian Division. Alderson was soon replaced as Commander of the Canadian forces with Sir Julian Byng, a career British officer, who was bewildered by his new post. Spoiler alert! In early June 1916, the Germans bombarded and shattered the 3rd Canadian Division at Mount Sorrel. Whole platoons were killed to a man. The counter attack was a failure, and Byng turned to Currie to regain the lost ground. Currie wouldn’t be rushed and took ten days to marshal his artillery and have his infantry practice their coming tasks. They launched a night assault on the 13th, the Canadians cleared the enemy lines and took back most of the ground. This was the first important and large scale attack by the Canadians of the war, was a rousing success, and the British command took note. In September, Currie and his men joined the ongoing carnage of the Battle of the Somme. Although the Canadian Corps won a victory at Courcelette on the 15th, they fell by the thousands in the killing grounds before the battle was called off in mid-October. Both Byng and Currie thought things seriously had to change so Byng commissioned Currie to do a thorough study of the battle, and of the French Battle of Verdun. Currie’s report contained two key recommendations; that control over the infantry must be decentralized, and that heavy artillery was absolutely needed to support the infantry. At the Somme, operations had been impossible to call off or change once they were set in motion days before at command headquarters, and men often found themselves attacking into uncut barbed wire. The troops were now trained to be more flexible and independent, so they could assume other roles if their comrades were killed. Also, heavy emphasis was put on artillery and infantry coordination. The next major target for the Canadians was Vimy Ridge, held by the Germans since 1914. On April 9th, 1917, at 5:30 a.m., the attack on Vimy Ridge began. The battle was long and hard, and was actually orchestrated primarily by Byng, but by the end of the day the result was clear. The Canadiens had won a stunning victory and emerged from the battle with a reputation as shock troops. I’m not actually going to go over the individual battles Currie’s men fought now; I’ll do that in our regular episodes when we get to them, but let’s just say that by that summer Sir Henry Sinclair Horne, commander of the first British army, said “The 1st Canadian Division is the pride and wonder of the British army.” Byng was promoted to army command and in June, Arthur Currie was knighted and took command of the Canadian Corps as lieutenant general. In 3 years he’d gone from commanding a small militia to war hero with 100,000 men at his disposal. Over the rest of the war, Currie’s men- the Canadians- fought in battle after battle and indeed had a long string of successes, but of course at a huge cost in men. All of this will be covered in this show in the years to come, sorry to be a jerk about it and not say anything here. One thing I will say here is that Currie’s financial shadiness came to light in 1917, and the Canadian Cabinet was a bit concerned that their big hero was one court case away from being branded a felon. Currie borrowed money to pay back his theft, but left several ministers in Ottawa wondering about the character of their great leader. So... post war. On August 23, 1919, Currie was appointed inspector general of the militia forces in Canada. He left that position in May 1920 to become principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University, a position he held until his death in November 1933. Sir Arthur Currie is widely considered one of the ablest generals on either side during the First World War. His emphasis on meticulous planning and preparation, and his recognition of artillery’s importance to trench warfare no doubt helped to shorten the war, and his soldiers enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as crack troops. As you may imagine, he remains a Canadian hero today. This was, like all of our bios, just a brief look at Currie; I encourage you all to look him up to learn more, particularly his battles in 1917 and 1918. If you’d like to see more about the Canadian effort in World War 1, check out our Canada Special right here: For more background information about World War 1, like us on Facebook or join the discussion or on our subreddit.

References

  • United States Congress. "Gilbert A. Currie (id: C000998)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • The Political Graveyard

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
George A. Loud
United States Representative for the 10th Congressional District of Michigan
1917–1921
Succeeded by
Roy O. Woodruff


This page was last edited on 12 April 2019, at 03:30
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