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He joined the Algonquin regiment, of the Canadian Armed Forces, nine days after
Britain declared war on Germany in 1914 and by the end of the war he was not
only the most decorated First Nation soldier in Canadian history, but also the
most effective sniper of the whole war.
I'm talking about Francis Pegahmagabow.
[intro music begins]
I'm Indy Neidell welcome to our Great War series of biographies
Who Did What in World War I. Today featuring Canadian war hero
Francis Pegahmagabow. He was probably born March 8th, 1889
on a reservation now known as Shawanaga First Nation
which is about halfway between Toronto and Sudbury in Ontario, Canada.
He was found next to his mother who had appeared had died during childbirth,
and he grew up with an adoptive family
he was a member of the Parry Island band (now the Wasauksing First Nation) ,
and a descendant of the Ojibwe.
Early in life he played in a band and then worked on small freighters on the Great Lakes.
While he was a sailor he was given a small leather pouch that was meant to keep him safe from great danger.
Francis believed the pouch offered him special protection and helped him perform
extremely dangerous assignments during the war.
The war began and Francis enlisted.
I should point out that have Aboriginals were not heavily recruited early in the war,
and were sometimes turned away, but by August 20th, 1914
Francis was headed for Valcartier Québec, the training base
for Canadian soldiers bound for Europe. Within a couple more months
he was in England. February 1915 and the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Francis included,
was learning about trench warfare in the Ypres Salient and two months later
he was enduring the first German gas attack on the western front.
Now, in any war, there are soldiers who do what they are required to do,
and soldiers who take huge personal risks to engage the enemy
almost immediately, once fighting in Europe, Pegahmagabow was marked as a soldier
willing to take extreme risks and one who had special skills,
so he spent a lot of time, as a sniper, taking missions into no man's land,
and running messages between headquarters.
Snipers are of course chosen for eyesight, marksmanship, and patience,
but, as a battalion sniper,
Francis was also used to gather intelligence about enemy activity.
Mortars, machine gun posts, enemy snipers, patrols and defenses.
He often seemed to seek out danger and, usually working alone, he would sometimes
enter German trenches and stand with the occupants or take souvenirs by cutting
pieces off their uniforms when they slept
He believed he led a charmed life,
and he did indeed remain healthy through 1915,
and most of 1916. On august 26th, 1915
he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Now, at this time,
Aboriginals were not even Canadian citizen, but, in the war,
everyone was more or less equal and soldiers were rated by their peers,
and superiors on their courage under fire and their actions in battle
Lance Corporal Pagahmagabow clearly distinguished himself there.
In March, 1916 he was recommended for the distinguished Conduct Medal.
He carried messages with great bravery and success during the whole of the actions at Ypres
Festubert and Givenchy. In all his work he has consistently shown
a disregard for danger and his faithfulness to duty is highly commendable
This was the second highest award for gallantry in the British Army,
and, though Francis did not actually receive it,
he was part of the first group of 78 Canadian soldiers awarded the Military Medal.
In September, 1916 he reverted to private, apparently at his own request.
He was also wounded in the leg and was out of action until mid 1917.
It might well have been longer, but he
pursued an active letter-writing campaign to return to active duty,
and was back at the front lines by May.
In November, once again a corporal,
he fought at Passchendaele and received another military medal for his actions there.
Maintaining contact with units on the flanks and for guiding lost relief units
At Christmas time, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and was out of battle until May 1918.
Throughout the summer of 1918, he continued his work sniping and running messages.
And, at the Second Battle of Arras,
he earned the second bar on his military medal.
During the operations on August 30th, 1918 at Orix trench, near Upton wood, when his company were almost out of ammunition
and in danger of being surrounded, this NCO went over the top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire
and brought back sufficient ammunition to enable the
post to carry on and assist in repulsing heavy enemy counter-attacks.
Three years of trench warfare had taken its toll though and he began to have disciplinary problems.
By early November, he had been sent to England suffering exhaustion psychosis
Post war, he returned to Canada, where he was still not a citizen,
and much of the rest of his life was spent fighting for Aboriginal rights,
either privately or during his 2 tenures as chief of the Parry island band
He continued his involvement with the armed forces by joining the local militia regiment,
the 23rd Pioneers, where he served as company sergeant major from 1930 to 1936.
Francis Pegahmagabow died August 5th, 1952 and was buried on the
Wasauksing First Nation, close to where he was born.
He had ended the first world war as one of only 37 Canadian soldiers who had a military medal with two bars,
and was the most highly decorated Aboriginal soldier in Canadian history.
He was credited with 378 sniper kills, which is more than anyone else from any
country in the First World War, as well as capturing over 300 prisoners.
In recognition of his place in canadian military history the headquarters of the
3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group have been named in honor of Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow.
Thank you, Mike Hayes, once again, for helping us out with the research for this episode
Mike has actually helped us for the research for our special episode about
combat communication which is totally underrated and you should all check it out right here
Don't forget to subscribe. See you next time.
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The Best Sniper Of World War 1 - Francis Pegahmagabow I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

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happy 2016 年 9 月 8 日 に公開
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