Sir Arthur Currie Being Decorated by General Orth
01 min 58 s
Topical Film Company
This sequence shows Lt.-Gen Sir Arthur Currie and other officers being decorated in the field in France. A former schoolteacher and realtor, Currie was assigned command of a brigade of 4000 at the outset of the war. By 1916 he had distinguished himself as one of the best senior Canadian officers, and a year later he was assigned command of the Canadian Corps in France, the first Canadian to hold such a position.
Currie was knighted by King George V in 1917 and received numerous other honours. The film shows him being decorated by Gen. Orth. Historian Patrick H. Brennan speculates that Orth might be an American. The American Expeditionary Force was present in France by 1918. Canadian troops were involved in the initial training of the American units, although this task fell primarily to the French, partly because of the anti-British sentiments of Gen. Pershing and other senior American officers.
A number of other Canadian officers are also visible in the footage. Most cannot be identified, although the commander of the Canadian Corps artillery, Maj.-Gen. E.W. Morrison, a slight man with a white moustache, can be seen in the background at one point. Maj.-Gen. Raymond Brutinel appears shortly later, the first of several officers to step forward and salute. The French-born Brutinel was formerly an officer in the French army and commanded the Canadian Corps machine-gun troops.
We then see scenes of Currie showing French officers around the battlefield. Currie was well respected by his close associates but was considered formal and aloof by many soldiers.