Canadians in the War

Famous Canadians in the Great War

All 619,636 Canadians who served in the Great War deserve recognition, but some have become more prominent than others in the annals of history. Some of these are highlighted below:

Unknown Soldier He died on April 9, 1917 during the battle for Vimy Ridge. His name is unknown and he represents the 116,000 Canadians who have lost their lives while fighting in Canada's Armed Forces. He is buried at the base of the National War Memorial in Ottawa and was listed as number 21 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
Georges Vanier First French Canadian born Governer General
John Diefenbaker The Chief. The 13th Prime Minister of Canada. Number 47 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
Lester B. (Mike) Pearson The 14th Prime Minister of Canada, first Canadian recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the man responsible for the formation of the United Nations Peacekeeping force. Number 6 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all Time.
Lorne Chabot The greatest goaltender not in the Hall of Fame. Vezina Trophy winner, All Star, and winner of Stanley Cups with both the Rangers (1928) and Maple Leafs (1932).
Frank McGee Inaugural member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945, won 3 Stanley Cups in 4 years of professional play, averaged over 3 goals/game during the regular season and 2.86 goals/game in the playoffs (assists weren't counted back then).
General Sir Arthur Currie First Canadian born General. Led the Canadian forces from 1917 until the end of the Great War. Number 24 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
William Avery (Billy) Bishop A lousy pilot, but a fantastic shot. Nicknamed "Hells Handmaiden", he was responsible for shooting down 72 German aircraft in the Great War. Britain's leading air ace, Commander of the first Canadian Air Force, and a recipient of the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, and Bar, Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Medal in World War I. Number 48 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
William George Barker He enlisted as an infantry soldier, in 1914, and transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1916. Flying first as an observer, he eventually became a pilot where he became one of the top Commonwealth flyers. Barker is the most decorated Canadian in Military service. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, and bar, the Military Cross and two Bars, two Italian Silver Medals for Military Valour, the french Croix de Guerre and was Mentioned in Dispatches three times.
Sir William Stephenson The man called "Intrepid". He has been said by some to have been the single most important man in the war to defeat Hitler's Third Reich. Number 54 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
Lt. Col. John McCrae Doctor, soldier, poet. Writer of "In Flanders Fields", the most well known reminder of the Great War. Number 76 on the list of Greatest Canadians of all time.
General Andrew George Latta McNaughton General Andrew George Latta McNaughton, CH, CB, CMG, DSO, CD, PC was a Canadian scientist, army officer, cabinet minister, and diplomat. Commanded the Canadian Corps in the first half of World War 2.
Sam Steele One of the most noted member of the North West Mounted Police, he served in the Boer War and the Great War.
Frederick Banting Awarded the 1923 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, he is best known for the discovery of insulin.
Norman Bethune Known widely as an innovative thoracic surgeon, a vigorous advocate of democratic medical services, and an international humanitarian, Norman Bethune is revered in China as a hero in the successful struggle for the establishment of its first united republic in 5,000 years.
Tom Longboat Long distance runner
Charles Vincent Massey First Canadian born Governer General of Canada
Raymond Hart Massey Hollywood ( The Prisoner of Zenda,Abe Lincoln in Illinois, East of Eden) and Television (Dr. Kildare, I Spy) actor.
Gregory Clark One of the most famous of Canadian journalists. Remembered for his ongoing series of humerous articles in the "Weekender" section of many Canadian newspapers.
Dick Irvin Hockey Hall of Fame member, coached Montreal Canadiens to three Stanley Cups.
Grey Owl An Englishman, posing as an Indian, he became one of the greatest early Canadian conservationists. He enlisted in the CEF under his real name, Archie Belaney, although gave false details about his place of birth,
Percival Molson A gifted athlete, member of the Board of Governers of McGill University, Member of the 1904 Canadian Olympic Team and of the 1896 Stanley Cup winning Montreal Victoria's. He left a legacy in his will to build a sports stadium at Montreal's McGill Universty, now known as Percival Molson Stadium. In 1996, Captain Percival Molson was an inaugural inductee to the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame. More information here.
A. Y. Jackson Painter, Member of the Group of Seven.
Raymond Chandler Although he never lived in Canada, the author of The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely and The Long Goodbye served with the 7th Battalion during the war.
Ralph Connor Pen name of Charles William Gordon, one of the most popular authors of his time.
Leslie Miscampbell Frost Leslie Miscampbell Frost, PC, CC, QC (September 20, 1895 – May 4, 1973) was a politician in Ontario, Canada, who served as the 16th Premier from May 4, 1949 to November 8, 1961. Due to his lengthy tenure, he gained the nickname "Old Man Ontario".
Winnie-the-Pooh

In 1914, Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, a Veterinary Officer with the 34th Fort Garry Horse of Manitoba was on his way to Europe to participate in the Great War. Along the way, he picked up a bear cub that became the Regimental mascot. Recognising that the bear would be better off staying in England than going to France, "Winnie" was given to the London Zoo for safekeeping. Young Christopher Milne became enamoured with the bear, and his father wrote a series of stories around Winnie. Clicking the link at the left will bring you to a page that outlines the history of Winnie in more detail.

Conn Smythe Founder of the Toronto Maple Leafs, despite which we will still list him

If you have suggestions for other inclusions on this list, please let me know.

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