About Henry Duncan Graham "Harry" Crerar
Henry Duncan Graham "Harry" Crerar CH, CB, DSO, KStJ, CD, PC (April 28, 1888 – April 1, 1965) was a Canadian general and the country's "leading field commander" in World War II.
Harry was born in Hamilton, Ontario to lawyer Peter Crerar and Marion Stinson and died in Ottawa, Ontario. Prior to his military service, he worked as an engineer with the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario, where he founded the research department in 1912. He attended and graduated from Upper Canada College and Highfield School in Hamilton in 1906, and then went to the Royal Military College of Canada, in Kingston, Ontario graduating in 1910. He rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of artillery in World War I. Unlike most officers, he remained in the army after the war. He was appointed Director of Military Operations & Military Intelligence in 1935 and Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada in 1938.
World War II
He served in World War II, initially as a Brigadier on the General Staff at Canadian Military Headquarters in England. In early 1940 he was appointed Vice Chief General Staff in Canada and then later that year he became Chief of the General Staff.
He became General Officer Commanding 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in England in 1941, General Officer Commanding I Canadian Corps in England and then Italy in 1942 and General Officer Commanding 1st Canadian Army in North-West Europe in 1944. Crerar was recovering from a bout of dysentery during the Battle of the Scheldt in October 1944 and his role as General Officer Commanding was assumed by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds.
Crerar was on the September 18, 1944 cover of Time magazine. He was promoted to full general in November 1944.
He has been described as an able administrator and politically astute, assessments of his performance as a military commander range from "mediocre" to "competent".
A Farewell sign posted on behalf of Gen. H.D.G. Crerar to troops of the 1st Canadian Army departing from Holland in 1945
'Here's wishing you a satisfactory and speedy journey home, and that you find happiness at the end of it. You go back with your share of the magnificent reputation earned by the Canadians in every operation in which they have participated in this war. A fine reputation is a possession beyond price. Maintain it - for the sake of all of us, past and present - in the days ahead. I know that you will get a great welcome on your return. See to it that those Canadian units and drafts which follow after you get just as good a 'welcome home' when they also get back. Good luck to each one of you - and thanks for everything. (H.D.G. Crerar) General'
Crerar arrived in Halifax, Canada, on the troopship S.S. Isle de France, with 980 Canadian World War II veterans on August 5, 1945. He returned to Ottawa two days later. Crerar retired from the army in 1946 and later occupied diplomatic postings in Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands and Japan.
He believed that the Canadian Red Ensign should remain the national flag of Canada.
Crerar was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on June 25, 1964.
The Crerar neighbourhood on the Hamilton, Ontario mountain is named after him. It is bounded by the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway (north), Stone Church Road East (south), Upper Wellington Street (west) and Upper Wentworth Street (east). Landmarks in this neighbourhood include Ebenezer Villa (retirement home) and Crerar Park, also named after him. In Ottawa, Ontario a road is named after him that connects to Merivale Road, a major road in the city. Crerar Street in Regina is also named in his honour.
A boulevard in the city of Kingston, Ontario is also named in his honour. Crerar Boulevard runs south from Front Road in the Point Pleasant district, near Reddendale. The tree-lined street is bounded by Bishop Street to the East and Lakeview Avenue/Gordon Street to the West.