The World at War


General Robert George Latta McNaughton

Canadian General 1887 - 1966 Born: January 25, 1887 at Moosomin, Saskatchewan, Canada


General McNaughton was educated at McGill University in Montreal and commissioned as a reserve artillery officer in 1912. During WW1 he served in France and was twice wounded in action. His commander General Currie described him as the finest gunner in the British Empire. McNaughton remained in the Army following that war and served as Chief of General Staff from 1929 - ’35. He resigned and spent the four years preceding the second world war as head of the National Research Bureau and conducting metallurgical research.
     McNaughton returned to the army when the second world war broke out. He headed the 1st Canadian Division when it left for Britain in December 1939. After Dunkirk Churchill placed McNaughton in charge of planning Operation Jupiter, an invasion of Norway to be launched in the winter of 1942. Planning for the never executed Jupiter kept McNaughton from being informed of plans for the Dieppe raid until late April of 1942. The raid was launched on August 19, 1942 with disastrous results after eight hours of futile combat against the German garrison the allied troops were forced to withdraw leaving three fourths of the landing party killed or captured. It was later charged that Churchill had OK’ed the raid to demonstrate for the need for delaying a direct assault on France to the Americans. McNaughton was falsely accused by the press in Canada of insisting that his troops lead the raid but accepted the blame in the interest of maintain good relations between the British and Canadians and insisting that the government in Ottawa not issue a denial. Continuing conflict between the Canadian and British governments caused McNaughton to turn command of the Canadian Army over to General Crerar in December 1943. He returned to Canada and resigned his commission. A year later, November 1944, McNaughton accepted the post of Defence Minister in the cabinet of McKenzie King serving there until August 1945. McNaughton finished his public service as the first President of Canada’s Atomic Energy Control Board from 1946 - ’48.

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