General Andrew George Latta McNaughton. Born February 25, 1987, he was an army officer, politician and diplomat before his death, July 11, 1966.
Born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan (at the time in the Northwest Territories), McNaughton was a student at Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, Quebec. He earned a B.A. from McGill University in Montreal in 1910 and an M.Sc. in 1912. He enlisted in the militia in 1909 and went to Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of World War I in 1914. While there he helped make advances in the science of artillery, and was wounded twice. By the end of the war he was in command of all of the Canadian Corps artillery. In 1920 he enlisted in the regular army and became Chief of the General Staff in 1929. In 1935 he became president of the National Research Council of Canada.
In 1939 he led the Canadian army into World War II, and was originally considered for the position of Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force until the Americans threatened to withdraw from the war unless General Dwight D. Eisenhower was chosen. McNaughton becomes commanding officer of the First Canadian Infantry Division. Under his leadership, the Division grows and is reorganized as a corps (1940), and then as an army (1942). McNaughton’s contribution to the development of new techniques is outstanding, especially in the field of detection and weaponry, including the discarding sabot projectile. He is however criticized for his poor judgement regarding military strategy especially his approval of the ill-fated operation against Dieppe. His obstinate opposition to the fragmentation of Canadian troops stationed in Great Britain antagonized both the British senior Staff and the Canadian government. Pressured by critics and weakened by health problems, McNaughton resigned his command in December 1943.
McNaughton strongly supported voluntary enlistment rather than conscription. This view was also held by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who wanted to make McNaughton the first Canadian-born Governor General of Canada. Instead, McNaughton became Minister of National Defence when the standing Minister, James Ralston was forced to resign after the Conscription Crisis of 1944. McNaughton was soon pressured into calling for conscription despite King’s wishes, a popular move for some Canadians but an equally unpopular one for many others. McNaughton was unable to win a seat in Parliament and resigned in 1945.
After the war he served on the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission and as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, as well as many other international committees, until his death in 1966.