Appendix A: Directive to GOC-in-C. First Canadian Army
TOP SECRET, HQTS.8809 FD.24, 24 May 44*
Lieut.-General H. D. G. Crerar, CB, DSO,, General Officer Commanding in Chief,, First Canadian Army.
1. You have been appointed to command the First Canadian Army with effect from the 20th day of March, 1944.
2. The Government of Canada has approved the detailing of First Canadian Army (less 1 Cdn Corps and ancillary troops now serving in the Mediterranean theatre) and the Canadian elements of Airborne, GHQ, L of C, Base or other troops now serving in the United Kingdom to act in combination with the Military Forces of His Majesty raised in the United Kingdom or any other part of the British Commonwealth now or hereafter serving under command of 21 Army Group.
3. Authority has been granted by Order in Council PC 3464 of 29 Apr 43 made under Section 6 (5) of the Visiting Forces (British Commonwealth) Act, Chapter 21 of the Statutes of Canada, 1933, and under the War Measures Act, Chapter 206 Revised Statutes of Canada, 1927, and by the Designations of the Minister of National Defence of Canada made under the said Order in Council on 29 Apr 43 and 23 Feb 44 respectively for the issue of the necessary Orders of Detail to place the said Forces in combination accordingly.
4. By letter dated 6 Jan 44 it has been further agreed in accordance with the terms of War Office letter 79/HD/2082 (SD 4) dated 4 Jan 44 that in the event of the said Forces being placed in combination with 21 Army Group the Commander in Chief, 21 Army Group, may carry out certain interchanges of formations between First Canadian Army and the British component of his Force and that in anticipation of this certain appointments of the staff of Headquarters, First Canadian Army, not to exceed 50 per cent, may be filled by British Officers by mutual agreement between the Commander in Chief, 21 Army Group, and the General Officer Commanding in Chief, First Canadian Army.
5. It is noted that action has already been taken to give effect to the approval and agreement referred to by the issuance of Orders of Detail No. 9 and No. 10 dated 7 Jan 44 and 20, Mar 44 respectively.
6. The Government of Canada has further approved the participation of the said Canadian Forces in the forthcoming invasion of enemy occupied Europe as contemplated by your reports transmitted in CMHQ telegrams COS 60 and COS 70 dated 25 Apr 44 and 1 May 44, respectively.
* This directive was originally transmitted to General Crerar in draft under date 19 May 44. On 24 May 44 the War Committee of the Cabinet approved it, substituting however a new paragraph 11 for that in the draft. The date here given, accordingly, is that of the final approval and the text is as finally approved. The original paragraph 11 read as follows:–
“At the request of the Government of Canada certain formations of the First Canadian Army were despatched to the Mediterranean theatre with the objects of increasing at that time the effectiveness of the Canadian participation in the war and obtaining battle experience. Now that these objects have been gained the Government of Canada regards it as highly desirable both from a national point of view and from the point of view of making in the present circumstances the most effective contribution and because of administrative advantages that, as soon as military considerations permit, such formations now serving in the Mediterranean theatre as well as field formations and units elsewhere, should be grouped under unified Canadian Command.”
7. It has further approved the employment of a Canadian Division and a Canadian Armoured Brigade with the necessary ancillary troops as contemplated by your reports referred to in paragraph 6 hereof in operations which while under command of 21 Army Group will not be under your direct operational command. It will be a matter for you to issue to the officer or officers commanding such Forces appropriate instructions to enable such action to be taken as may be necessary in respect to such Forces when circumstances do not permit prior reference to you.
8. You and the Comd of any Canadian Force not operating under your command, either by reason of its being detached therefrom or otherwise, continue to enjoy the right to refer to the Government of Canada in respect to any matter in which the said Canadian Forces are, or are likely to be, involved or committed or in respect of any question of their administration. Unless you consider that the circumstances warrant otherwise, such reference will be made only when the remedial or other action deemed by you or by the Comd of such Canadian Force to be necessary has been represented to the Officer Commanding the Combined Force and he shall have failed to take appropriate action. Any such reference from any Canadian Commander in the Western European theatre will be made through you. Any such reference from GOC 1 Cdn Corps in the Allied Armies in Italy will be made through the Chief of Staff, CMHQ In the case of references made to the Chief of Staff it will be his responsibility to obtain the views of the Army Commander for transmission to the Government of Canada in respect of such matters as have significance to the Canadian Field Army as a whole.
9. In deciding whether to exercise the authority to withdraw the Canadian Force, or any part thereof under your command from ‘in combination’ with which authority you are vested under the terms of the Designation of the Minister of National Defence dated 23 February 1944 authorized by Order in Council PC 3464 dated 29 April 1943, you will consider all the circumstances including, but not in any way to be restricted to, the following:–
a. Whether in your opinion the orders and instructions issued to you by the Commander Combined Force represent in the circumstances a task for the Canadian Forces which is a practicable operation of war;
b. Whether in your opinion such task with the resources available is capable of being carried out with reasonable prospects of success;
c. Whether in your opinion such orders, instructions or task are at variance with the policy of the Canadian Government;
d. Your appraisal of the extent of prospective losses to the Canadian Force in relation to the importance of the results prospectively to be achieved;
e. The effect of such withdrawal in preventing the success of the operation as a whole;
f. All other factors which you may consider relevant. The authority to withdraw should normally be exercised by you only after reference to the Government of Canada but, where the exigencies of the moment do not permit such reference, you have, in deciding whether or not to exercise this authority, full discretion to take such action as you consider advisable after considering all the circumstances as above.
When a Canadian division or other junior formation not operating under your command is operating under the orders of the GOC in C. 21 Army Group, or pursuant to orders issued under authority delegated by him the considerations set out above in this paragraph will apply equally with respect to the withdrawal of such division or junior formation from ‘in combination’. The Officer Commanding such division or other junior formation has not in himself the power to withdraw and this, if necessary, can be effected only by you on reference to you by such Officer Commanding which reference the latter has power to make under paragraph 8 of these instructions.
10. As the Forces referred to in paragraph 7 are serving in the same theatre of operations as First Canadian Army the Government of Canada considers that only the urgent requirements of military operations should justify the continuance of detachment of such forces and the resultant loss of the obvious practical advantages resulting from unified Canadian control and administration.
11. At the request of the Government of Canada certain formations of the First Canadian Army were despatched to the Mediterranean Theatre with the objects at that time of increasing the effectiveness of the Canadian participation in the war and obtaining battle experience.
Now that those objects have been gained the Government of Canada regards it as highly desirable that, as soon as military considerations permit, such formations now serving in the Mediterranean theatre as well as field formations and units elsewhere, should be grouped under unified Canadian command.
12. Instructions with regard to the exercise of powers of discipline and on the subject of honours and awards have already been issued to Canadian Military Headquarters for transmission to you and you will act in accordance with such instructions subject to such amendments thereto as may from time to time be notified to you.
13. You will keep the Minister of National Defence constantly informed as to the foregoing matters.
14. Your channel of communication on all questions including matters of general policy will be to the Chief of the General Staff through the Chief of Staff at Canadian Military Headquarters, London.
J. C. Murchie, Lieut.-General,, Chief of the General Staff