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Major-General D.C. Spry

Daniel Charles Spry, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on February 4th, 1913; died in 1989. Canadian Army Officer.


General H.D.G. Crerar (left) and Major-General D.C. Spry (centre) discussing with Marshal Bernard Montgomery (right) before launching Operation Blockbuster, the offensive against the Hochwald Forest, February 23rd, 1945.
Photograph by Barney J. Gloster. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada, PA-129759.

An avid follower of the Boy Scouts Movement in his youth, Dan Spry was educated at Dalhousie University in Halifax in the early 1930s. In 1932, he joined the Princess Louise Fusiliers, a regiment of the Canadian Militia, and in 1934, the Royal Canadian Regiment of the Permanent Force.

When war broke out in Europe, Spry was in command of a battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. In 1943, the Royal Canadian Regiment took part in the invasion of Sicily and of continental Italy with Spry, by then a Lieutenant-Colonel, as Commanding Officer. On December 18th, 1943, Spry was appointed Commanding Officer of the 1st Infantry Brigade and promoted to the rank of Brigadier.

On July 13th, 1944, Spry took charge of the 12th Infantry Brigade, created to regroup several Canadian units already serving in Italy. He started organizing and training the 12th Brigade but was transferred to the Normandy theatre on August 18th, 1944, to succeed Major-General Rod Keller, Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, wounded in action. Spry took part in the last phase of the Normandy campaign, in the liberation of coastal cities between the mouth of the Seine and the Pas de Calais (September 1944), and in the Battle of the Scheldt (September-November 1944). With winter drawing to an end, the 1st Canadian Army launched a new offensive and the 3rd Infantry Division was involved in the Battle of the Rhineland (February-March 1945). On March 22nd, 1945, Spry was relieved of his command and sent to England as commander of the Canadian Reinforcement Units.

In 1946, Dan Spry was appointed as Vice-Chief of the General Staff at National Defence HQ in Ottawa.

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