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Ethelbert 'Curley' Christian

After suffering injuries in the Battle of Vimy Ridge that left him a quadruple amputee, Christian Curley helped establish a program for disabled veterans which is still offered today.

Toronto, Ontario

First World War
Curley Christian


Ethelbert 'Curley' Christian was born in the United States. He eventually settled in Canada where he enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1915 during the First World War.

April 9, 1917, Christian was serving with the 78th Canadian Infantry Battalion (the Winnipeg Grenadiers) during the Battle of Vimy Ridge when heavy artillery fire buried him in a trench. All four limbs were crushed by debris and the wounded soldier was trapped for two days. Found barely alive, Christian cheated death again when two of his stretcher bearers were killed by enemy fire while carrying him from the battlefield.

Christian survived but unfortunately gangrene set in and both arms and both legs had to be amputated. His positive demeanor remained, however, and after returning to Canada he married a volunteer aide who worked at the Toronto hospital where he was recuperating.

Christian received artificial limbs and lived a long and active life until his death in 1954. In fact, he was one of the more than 8,000 veterans who returned to France when the new Canadian National Vimy Memorial was dedicated by King Edward VIII in July 1936.

* The Mural of Honour is permanently displayed at the Military Museums in Calgary.

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