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Great Military Leaders (Amazing Stories)

Great Military Leaders (Amazing Stories)

Charismatic Canadian Commanders

The history of Canada is filled with charismatic and talented military leaders. Each of the men featured in this collection was wildly successful in business and used his private wealth to provide Canada with a military unit at its times of greatest need. Today these respected units continue to serve Canada and Canadians.


The morning of June 2, 1916, dawned grey and drab. For the men of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, it felt like every other morning in Sanctuary Wood. Even the non-stop shelling from the German side was consistent. But by nine o'clock, it suddenly became very clear that this particular morning would be different after all. The shelling had increased to the point where it was a wall of steel falling on the Patricias and their founder, Major Hamilton Gault.

The German high-explosive shells churned the land, destroying everything in their path. Barbed wire, timbers, great clods of earth, and human bodies were thrown into the air as though caught in some unseen volcano. The Patricias knew this was only the first wave. After a shelling there was always an attack - always.

It was not long in coming. Before the smoke had even cleared, the Germans attacked. Soon the fighting was desperate hand-to-hand combat in the trenches, with victories determined at point-blank range or bayonet point. And as always, Major Gault was at the front.

Gault was looking over the battlefield, trying to find a way to stop the overwhelming German advance when a shell bowled him over, destroying his left leg and tearing apart his right. As he was carried from the battle, he passed out from the pain, only to wake a few minutes later to once again take command.|

Lying on his stretcher, he calmly gave orders to his men, developing a defensive line among the chaos. When word came that the Germans had broken through, Gault remained on his stretcher with two revolvers in his hands, ready to meet the enemy.

But the enemy didn't make it to Gault and his stretcher; as the battle paused, stretcher cases were carried to the rear. Gault, pistols still in hand, refused to be evacuated until all of his wounded men were carried away. Then and only then did he allow the medics to pick up his stretcher. As the stretcher-bearers carried Gault to a medical station, a splinter from a shell killed one of them. The major was thrown facedown into the mud, only to be picked up by two more men who finished the journey with Gault slung between them.

When he finally reached an aid station, it was clear to all present that Gault would lose his left leg. But to Gault, this seemed a small price to pay - his regiment had, once again, proven itself under fire.

About the Author

Norman Leach is a historian, freelance writer, and professional speaker from Calgary, Alberta. A graduate of the University of Manitoba, where he majored in Strategic Studies, he focuses on pre-1919 Canadian history - particularly military history. He was named an honorary peacekeeper by the Canadian Armed Forces for his contributions to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. He has written on military, business, and lifestyle topics as well as having been editor in chief of a Calgary magazine.

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