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    Really Senior Member RCS's Avatar
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    American Rifleman article on Canada's Indian Snipers in the Great War

    There is an excellent article in the April 2020 issue of the American Rifleman magazine entitled "Crack Marksmen" about Canadaicon's Indian Snipers in the Great War by Maj. John L. Plaster US Army Ret.

    "Among the top snipers in the trenches of Franceicon and Flanders during World war 1 were Chippewa, Cree, Blackfeet, Mohawk, Iroquois and Inuit men who served in the Canadian Expeditonary Force"

    The Ross rifle Mark 111 with the US manufactured Warner & Swasey Model of 1913 scope was used by most snipers.

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    Really Senior Member tr63's Avatar
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    Nice read !

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    Contributing Member #1oilman's Avatar
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    Google Francis Pegahmagabo Cree Sniper from Parry Island reservation Parry Sound Ontario, a true Canadianicon Hero, 378 confirmed kills. Treated like dirt by Britishicon officers, these first nations fighters were volunteers and weren't even classed as Canadian citizens during the Great War. I read his military record on the Canadian Expeditionary Service records held in the Canadian archives, during rest periods from the front lines he would be assigned latrine duty while others rested. He was affectionately known as Peggy by his comrades in arms but totally mistreated by officers , wouldn't blame him if he dispatched a few at the front , I'm sure it most likely occurred during the war. there is an excellent Bronze statue to this Canadian war Hero in Parry Sound, check it out, he was recommended for medals but received no special honors, sad.
    Last edited by #1oilman; 03-19-2020 at 05:57 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RCS View Post
    There is an excellent article in the April 2020 issue of the American Rifleman magazine entitled "Crack Marksmen" about Canadaicon's Indian Snipers in the Great War by Maj. John L. Plaster US Army Ret.

    "Among the top snipers in the trenches of Franceicon and Flanders during World war 1 were Chippewa, Cree, Blackfeet, Mohawk, Iroquois and Inuit men who served in the Canadian Expeditonary Force"

    The Ross rifle Mark 111 with the US manufactured Warner & Swasey Model of 1913 scope was used by most snipers.
    There's mistake No1. The most common issue was the cut down MkIII with Winchester A5 scope, from what Frank Iriam wrote and the photos that exist. These writers ought to stop regurgitating each other's articles.

    There is also good evidence that many used the MkIII as issued; it had what amounted to a target sight after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by #1oilman View Post
    Google Francis Pegahmagabo Cree Sniper from Parry Island reservation Parry Sound Ontario, a true Canadian Hero, 378 confirmed kills. Treated like dirt by Britishicon officers, these first nations fighters were volunteers and weren't even classed as Canadian citizens during the Great War. I read his military record on the Canadian Expeditionary Service records held in the Canadian archives, during rest periods from the front lines he would be assigned latrine duty while others rested. He was affectionately known as Peggy by his comrades in arms but totally mistreated by officers , wouldn't blame him if he dispatched a few at the front , I'm sure it most likely occurred during the war. there is an excellent Bronze statue to this Canadian war Hero in Parry Sound, check it out, he was recommended for medals but received no special honors, sad.
    What utter rubbish: "treated like dirt by British officers..." "...says that nobody except the CSM ever behaved in an unpleasant or unfriendly way to him". Missed that part?

    They weren't mistreated by any officers nor by their fellow soldiers, or anymore than their fellow soldiers were. On the contrary, they were regarded with considerable respect, and not a little "Red Indian" celebrity, especially by British civilians. Witness all the "Grey Owl" fuss during the 1930s (fake though he was). Witness the massive bombardment said to have been ordered by Gen. Currie himself when Pte. Norwest was killed. Or read about Sgt. Paudash in the 16th Battalion and his conversation with Col. Peck. Probably a non-aboriginal soldier would have been put on a charge for such a smart remark.

    As for Pegamagabow's claimed 378 kills, he apparently operated alone and his kills were all or mostly unconfirmed, unlike for example Norwest. How accurate that figure would be is hard to tell. Nevertheless, he was awarded three MM's so his officers were obviously convinced he was doing a lot of good work!

    The fact is that there were many successful snipers in the Canadian Corps, but most of them such as Iriam, did not go around talking about their scores. It was regarded as a dirty, but necessary job, and not something to be bragged about. For the aboriginal snipers "counting coups" was often part of their approach to war. Look at the attached "honours list" for Canadian snipers 1917/18. Pegahmagabow isn't on the list, nor even Norwest with his 115 confirmed kills. Does that tell us something about the "scores" of all concerned?

    If you read the published materials on Pegahmagabow you will find he was quite into aboriginal shamanism despite being baptized as a Catholic; he believed this kept him alive. You'll see in the attached that he believed he had "certain powers over people" etc.

    Read the attached extracts from his file and you will see how fairly he was treated. Many men had problems with one or more of their superiors - read Iriam's book - his case was far worse than whatever Pegahmagabow claimed.

    These men were all under horrendous physical and nervous strain for months and years at a time. What we call PTSD today was a kindergarten class compared to what many of them went through. Iriam was buried by shellfire at least once, Pegahmagabow claimed to have been buried (or partially buried?) three times in one of those reports. Read the diagnoses: "nervous exhaustion", "psychosis", "amnesia"... And no bloody wonder. Killing turned McBride into a hopeless drunk, it drove plenty of others around the bend as well. I can think of one notorious recent example.



    Pegahmagabow was promoted corporal soon after beginning his front line service but reverted to Pte. at his own request. He was one of thirty six CEF men awarded the MM and two bars. He was also awarded a good conduct chevron. Where's the discrimination in that?

    He joined up in August 1914, whatever his reasons for doing so, he was no shirker. He and Iriam would have had much to talk about.
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    Last edited by Surpmil; 03-28-2020 at 09:28 PM.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

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