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Sir Arthur Currie

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Arthur Currie

December 5, 1875 - November 30, 1933

Arthur Currie

Arthur William Currie was born on December 5th, 1875 Napperton, Ontario, where he attended Strathroy Collegiate Institute. Before beginning a successful military career, Currie moved to Victoria, British Columba (1895), where he was a school teacher, a real estate agent, as well as an insurance broker. He was almost thrown into jail for embezzlement until a group of his friends came to his financial rescue.

Currie joined the army militia prior to the beginning World War 1. He quickly rose through the ranks to becoming the Commanding Officer (CO) of his regiment. Upon the breaking out of war in August of 1914, Currie was sent to Europe. He was eventually appointed commander of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on 29 September 1914. His control over his troops would be tested at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, where Germans unleashed chemical weapons on a large scale.

The Germans unleashed 168 tons of chlorine gas on the allied forces. The chlorine gas at Ypres was denser than air, so it sank into the trenches. The gas burned eyes and lungs, and within ten minutes, 5000 soldiers had died of asphyxiation. The gas was first unleashed on French and Algerian troops, which caused soldiers to either retreat or die in the trenches. This left a four mile gap in the front lines, which was reinforced by Canadian forces. Currie and other commanders realized that since the wind was in the Germans' favour, the only clean air would be near the German front lines. The troops urinated on rags, and while holding urine soaked rags in their faces, they pushed through (for the ammonia in the urine would react with the chlorine, neutralizing it and allowing the soldiers to breathe) and pushed the Germans back.

commander of the 1st Canadian Division on 13 September 1915 and commander of the Canadian Corps on 9 June 1917.

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