The World at War


General Guy Grenville Simonds

Canadian General 1903 - ’74


Simonds began the second world war as a Major on the staff of General McNaughton’s 1st Canadian Division which arrived in Britain in Decemeber 1939. He later served on Montgomery’s staff and upon the death of General Salmon in April 1943 assumed command of 1st in Sicily as the youngest Canadian general in history. Simonds troops quickly won the admiration of Montgomery for their efforts in guarding the flank of the 8th Army in the push towards Messina. Simonds briefly commanded the 5th Canadian Armored Division after the crossing to Italy. He returned to England in January 1944 to assume command of 2nd Canadian Corps which landed at Juno Beach on D-Day and soon bore the brunt of German resistance in the battle for Caen. Simonds and his Corps were placed under the command of General Crerar shortly after the fall of Caen but Simonds resumed command when Crerar fell ill during the fighting for control of the Scheldt estuary in Belgium. Simonds is credited with devising the plan for capturing the key German stronghold of Walchern Island in the middle of the river. Simonds plan began with a breaching of the dykes protecting the island’s low lying portions, followed by prolonged aerial bombing to break the enemy’s morale. During the siege Simonds arranged for all allied bombers heading to northern Germany to be routed over the island. Intelligence reports of a collapse of enemy morale were followed up with a final shelling just prior to the launch of airborne and amphibious assaults on the island. The German forces on the island surrendered on November 9th and Simonds returned command of the Canadian forces to General Crerar. After finishing the war under Crerar, General Simonds served as chief of Canadian forces in the Netherlands and later served as Canada’s Chief of General Staff.

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