E.L.M. Burns

Eedson Louis Millard Burns, soldier, diplomat, author (b at Westmount, Qué 17 June 1897; d at Manotick, Ont 13 Sept 1985). After graduating from RMC in 1915, Burns fought on the Western Front with the Royal Canadian Engineers from 1916 to 1918.

Eedson Louis Millard Burns, soldier, diplomat, author (b at Westmount, Qué 17 June 1897; d at Manotick, Ont 13 Sept 1985). After graduating from RMC in 1915, Burns fought on the Western Front with the Royal Canadian Engineers from 1916 to 1918. Between the wars he attended the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, England, and the Staff College at Quetta, British India, and was an instructor at RMC. From 1931 to 1936 he was in charge of the Geographical Section of the General Staff, where he made a major contribution to the development of Canadian military mapping. In 1939 he was a lt-col attending the Imperial Defence College, London, Eng.

After staff appointments in England and Canada, he commanded the 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade and 2nd Canadian Infantry Division in England, and then the 5th Canadian Armoured Division and 1st Canadian Corps in Italy. He led the corps during operations in the Liri Valley (May 1944) leading to the capture of Rome, and in the highly successful attack on the Gothic Line (August/September 1944). A subtle sense of fun, well disguised beneath a dour exterior, accompanied his formidable intellect. However, he could not win the confidence of his subordinates and a "him or us" ultimatum brought about his relief in November 1944.

Burns retired from the army in June 1947 and began a second career as a public servant. He joined the Department of External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs and International Trade) and was loaned to the UN, becoming commander of the UN Emergency Force in the Middle East 1954-59 (see peacekeeping). From 1960 to 1969 he was chief adviser to the Canadian government on disarmament conferences. He was a professor of strategic studies at Carleton from 1972 to 1975. His books include Manpower and the Canadian Army, 1939-1945 (1956), General Mud: Memoirs of Two World Wars (1970), Between Arab and Israeli (1962), Megamurder (1966) and A Seat at the Peace Table: The Struggle for Disarmament (1972).


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