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Guy Granville Simonds
April 23, 1903 (1903-04-23)May 15, 1974 (1974-05-16)
General Guy G Simonds.jpg
Lieutenant General Guy Simonds inspecting II Canadian Corps in Meppen, Germany, May 31st, 1945
Place of birth Bury St Edmunds, England
Place of death Toronto, Canada
Allegiance British Empire
Service/branch Canadian Army
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of the General Staff
First Canadian Army
II Canadian Corps
Battles/wars World War II
- Normandy
- Battle of the Scheldt
Awards Companion of the Order of Canada
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Distinguished Service Order
Canadian Forces Decoration

Lieutenant General Guy Granville Simonds, CC, CB, CBE, DSO, CD (April 23, 1903 - May 15, 1974) was a Canadian Army officer who commanded the II Canadian Corps during World War II. He served as acting commander of the First Canadian Army, leading the Allied forces to victory in the Battle of the Scheldt in 1944. In 1951 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff, the most senior member of the Canadian Army. He was the youngest officer in the history of the Canadian army to be promoted to the rank of general.

Contents

Education

Born in Bury St Edmunds, England on April 23, 1903, he emigrated to Canada with his family. He studied at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario between 1921 and 1925 (College Number 3521).

Wartime career

On September 27, 1944, Simonds temporarily took charge of First Canadian Army from General Harry Crerar and led the liberation of the mouth of the Scheldt River. When Simonds resumed his command of II Canadian Corps for the liberation of North-Western Europe, Crerar resumed command with the First Army.

Major General C Vokes (4th Armoured Division), General H D C Crerar (Army Commander), Field Marshal Sir Bernard L Montgomery, Lieutenant General B G Horrocks (30 British Corps, Attached Canadian Army), Lieutenant General G C Simonds (2 Corps), Major General D C Spry (3rd Infantry Division), and Major General A B Mathews (2 Division)

In 1944, Simonds devised the "Kangaroo", an early armoured personnel carrier converted from non-operational armoured vehicles.

Post war

He returned to Canada in 1949 to take a role as Commander of the Royal Military College of Canada. He was also the Commandant of the National Defence College and the Canadian Army Staff College in 1949 and 1950.

In 1970 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. He died in Toronto on May 15, 1974.

Assessment

In his book "The Normandy Campaign" Victor Brooks lists Simonds as the most effective corps-level commander of the Allied Forces in Normandy. He wrote:

The corps commander among the units that comprised the 21st Army Group who most likely had the largest personal impact on the Normandy campaign was Lieutenant General Guy Simonds. This senior officer of the II Canadian Corps created one of the most effective tank-infantry teams in the Allied forces through a high degree of improvisation during the drive from Caen to Falaise. This general was versatile and imaginative but was not able to generate the momentum that would have more fully closed off the Falaise gap at an earlier date. Despite this drawback, Simonds deserves credit for his effective command.[1]

Timeline

Date Event
April 23, 1903 born
1912 family moves to British Columbia
1921 entered Royal Military College of Canada
1925 graduated RMC; joins Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA)
1928 RCHA Winnipeg Battery
1929 brevet Captain
1932 married to Kay Higginson
1933 daughter born
1935 son born
1936, 1937 attended Staff College, Camberley
1938 joined instructional staff at RMC
Sept 1939 General Staff Officer grade 2 (GSO2) 1st Canadian Infantry Division (see also GSO)
December 1939 posted overseas
July 1940 commanding officer 1st field regiment Royal Canadian Artillery
Nov 1940 appointed to lead Canadian Junior War Staff Course
May 1941 GSO1 2nd Canadian Infantry Division
Aug 1941 Brigadier General Staff (B.G.S) Canadian Corps
May 1942 Exercise Tiger; noticed by General Bernard Montgomery
Sept 1942 commander 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade in 1st Div.
April 1943 promoted to Major General, General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, age 40, promoted in 3.5 years from major to major general,
April 29, 1943 appointed to 1st Canadian Infantry Division, to replace Major General Harry Salmon, who died in an air crash.
July 10, 1943 Invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky; "First Canadian officer to lead his troops in an invasion and sustained campaign"; "youngest Canadian ever to lead a division into action"
July 16, 1943 under fire for the first time (in Sicily)
Sept 1943 Italian mainland invaded
Oct 1943 appointed GOC 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division
January 1944 appointed GOC II Canadian Corps; purported to be the youngest corps commander in the Empire
July 11, 1944 II Corps activated in Normandy
August 7, 1944 Operation Totalize
August 14, 1944 Operation Tractable
August 21, 1944 Falaise pocket closed
September 27, 1944 becomes acting commander First Canadian Army, due to illness of Harry Crerar
Oct 2 - Nov 8 1944 Battle of the Scheldt, Walchern island
November 29, 1944 Antwerp available as port for the allies
1945–1949 completes course at Imperial Defence College; stays as instructor
1949 returns to Canada, commands National Defence College, Kingston
1951–1955 Chief of General Staff
1960 retires
1970 Companion of the Order of Canada
May 15, 1974 dies

Notes

  1. ^ Brooks (2002), p.276

References

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Charles Foulkes
Chief of the General Staff
February 1, 1951-September 2, 1955
Succeeded by
Howard Douglas Graham
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