The Best Sniper Of World War 1 - Francis Pegahmagabow I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?Jun 01, 2021
He joined the Algonquin Regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces nine days after Great Britain declared war on Germany in 1914, and by the end of the war he was not only the most decorated First Nations soldier in Canadian history, but also the most effective
sniperin history. the whole war. I'm talking about Francis Pegahmagabow. I'm Indy Neidell. Welcome to our "Who Did What in World War I" biographies series. Today about Canadian war hero Francis Pegahmagabow. He was probably born on March 8, 1889, on
whatis now the Shawanaga First Nation reservation, located halfway between Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
He was found with his mother, who likely died during childbirth, and grew up in an adoptive family. He was a member of the Parry Island Band (now the Wasauksing First Nation) and of Ojibway descent. He played in a band in his youth and later worked on small freighters on the Great Lakes. When he was a sailor, he was given a leather bag to protect him from great dangers. Francis believed that the bag gave him special protection and helped him in extremely dangerous tasks during the war. The war started and Francis volunteered. I should note that at the beginning of the war, the Indians were not recruited much and were sometimes even turned back, but on August 20, 1914, Francis was on his way to Valcartier Québec, a training base for Canadian troops bound for Europe.
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the best sniper of world war 1 francis pegahmagabow i who did what in ww1...
Within months he was in England. February 1915 and the Canadian Expeditionary Force, including Francis, is learning trench warfare at the Ypres Salient. Two months later they resisted the first German gas attack on the Western Front. In every war there are soldiers who do
whatis required of them and soldiers who take great risks to fight the enemy. Almost immediately after his involvement in the war in Europe, Pegahmagabow proved to be a soldier who was willing to take extreme risks and had exceptional skills, spending much time as a
sniper, participating in missions in no man's land, and sending messages. between headquarters.
Snipers are, of course, chosen for their eyesight, marksmanship, and patience, but as a regimental sniper, Francis was also used to gather intelligence on enemy activity. Mortars, machine gun nests, enemy snipers, patrols and defenses. He often seemed to seek out danger and was usually alone, sometimes entering German trenches and staying with his occupants or taking souvenirs by cutting a part of his uniform while he slept. Believing that he lived under a spell, he remained sane through 1915 and most of 1916. On August 26, 1915, he was promoted to private. At this time the Indians were not even Canadian citizens, but in war they were all more or less equal and were rated by their comrades and superiors on their bravery and feats in battle.
Private Pagahmagabow clearly excelled at that. In March 1916 he was nominated for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. “Throughout the operations at Ypres, Festubert and Givenchy, he delivered messages with great courage and success. In all his activities he has consistently shown indifference to danger and his devotion to duty is highly commendable." This was the second highest award for bravery in the British Army and although Francis did not receive it, he was part of the first group of 78 Canadian Soldiers to receive the Military Medal. In September 1916, he became a private again, apparently at his own request. He too was wounded in the leg and was out of commission until the middle of 1917.
He might have been longer, but he led an active letter campaign to return to active duty and returned to the front in May. In November, he was again a corporal, he fought at Passchendaele and received another Military Medal for his actions. To maintain liaison with units on the flank and guide lost replacement units. He was diagnosed with pneumonia at Christmas and he was out of action until May 1918. Throughout the summer of 1918, he continued bombing and carrying messages. And in the 2nd Battle of Arras he got a second ribbon for the Military Medal from him. “On August 30, 1918, during operations at Orix Trench, near Upton Wood, when his company was almost out of ammunition and in danger of being surrounded, this non-commissioned officer, under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, came out of the trench and He brought enough ammunition to allow the company to continue the fight and to help repel strong enemy counter-attacks.
Three years of trench warfare began to take their toll, and he began to have disciplinary problems. Due to exhaustion psychoses, he was sent to England in early November. After the war, he returned to Canada, still not a citizen, and spent much of the rest of his life fighting for indigenous rights, either privately or in his two terms as head of the Parry Island Band. He continued his involvement in the armed forces when he joined the local militia regiment, the 23rd Engineers, where he served from 1930 to 1913 as a corporal. Francis Pegahmagabow died on August 5, 1952, and was buried on the Wasauksing First Nation, near where he was born.
He was among 37 Canadian soldiers in the Great War to receive the military medal with two ribbons and was the most decorated Aboriginal soldier in Canadian history. He claimed 378 sniper hits, more than any other country in World War I, and captured more than 300 soldiers. In recognition of his role in Canadian military history, the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Group was named after Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow. Thanks again to Mike Hayes for helping me with the background for this piece. Mike has already given us some background on our special article on combat communications, which is seriously underrated and you should check it out right here.
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