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Major-General George Kitching

George Kitching, born in Canton, China, in 1910; died in 1999. Canadian Army Officer.

Between the two world wars, Kitching attended Sandhurst Royal Military College in England, and later served with the British Army.

Major-General George Kitching (left) and Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds (right) listening to Marshal Bernard Montgomery addressing the troops of II Canadian Corps in Coptherne (England), February 29th, 1944.
Photograph by Frank L. Dubervill. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-132650.

Kitching joined the Canadian Army in 1939 and rose rapidly to the higher ranks of the military. He was General Staff Officer Grade 1, with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division from December 14th, 1942 to October 30th, 1943. In Italy, he was transferred to the 5th Canadian Armoured Division, and placed in charge of the 11th Infantry Brigade on November 1st, 1943. In that capacity, he took part in the Ortona offensive.

In February 1944, Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds appointed Kitching as Commander of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. Integrated within II Canadian Corps, the 4th Armoured Division reached Normandy at the end of July 1944, once the bridgehead had been solidly established, to replace the 3rd Infantry Division. Under Kitching, the 4th Armoured Division took part in operations Totalize (August 7th-10th, 1944) and Tractable (August 14th-16th, 1944), and in the closing of the Falaise Gap (August 17th-21st, 1944). Blamed for having been too slow in making his junction with the US troops, thereby allowing German forces to escape, Kitching was relieved of his command. On November 12th, 1944, he was appointed Brigadier General Staff with I Canadian Corps.

George Kitching remained on the Canadian General Staff after WWII. His memoirs, Mud and Green Fields, were published in 1986.

Suggested Reading:

• George Kitching, Mud and Green Fields, 1986.
• David J. Bercuson and J.L. Granatstein, Dictionary of Canadian Military History, 1992.

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