The Best Sniper Of World War 1 – Francis Pegahmagabow I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

The Best Sniper Of World War 1 – Francis Pegahmagabow I WHO DID WHAT IN WW1?

He joined the Algonquin regiment, of the
Canadian Armed Forces, nine days after Britain declared war on Germany in 1914
and by the end of the war he was not only the most decorated First Nation
soldier in Canadian history, but also the most effective sniper of the whole war. I’m talking about Francis Pegahmagabow. [intro music begins] I’m Indy Neidell welcome to our Great
War series of biographies Who Did What in World War I. Today featuring
Canadian war hero Francis Pegahmagabow. He was probably born
March 8th, 1889 on a reservation now known as Shawanaga First Nation which is about halfway between Toronto and Sudbury in Ontario, Canada. He was found next to his mother who had
appeared had died during childbirth, and he grew up with an adoptive family he was a member of the Parry Island band (now the Wasauksing First Nation) , and a descendant of the Ojibwe. Early in life he played in a band and then worked on small freighters on the Great Lakes. While he was a sailor he was given a small
leather pouch that was meant to keep him safe from great danger. Francis believed the pouch offered him
special protection and helped him perform extremely dangerous assignments during
the war. The war began and Francis enlisted. I should point out that have
Aboriginals were not heavily recruited early in the war, and were sometimes turned away, but by August 20th, 1914 Francis was headed for
Valcartier Québec, the training base for Canadian soldiers bound for Europe.
Within a couple more months he was in England. February 1915 and the
Canadian Expeditionary Force, Francis included, was learning about trench
warfare in the Ypres Salient and two months later he was enduring the first German
gas attack on the western front. Now, in any war, there are soldiers who do
what they are required to do, and soldiers who take huge personal risks to
engage the enemy almost immediately, once fighting in
Europe, Pegahmagabow was marked as a soldier willing to take extreme risks and one
who had special skills, so he spent a lot of time, as a sniper,
taking missions into no man’s land, and running messages between headquarters. Snipers are of course chosen for
eyesight, marksmanship, and patience, but, as a battalion sniper, Francis was also used to gather
intelligence about enemy activity. Mortars, machine gun posts, enemy snipers, patrols and defenses. He often seemed to seek out danger and, usually working alone, he would sometimes enter German trenches and stand with the
occupants or take souvenirs by cutting pieces off their uniforms when they
slept He believed he led a charmed life, and he
did indeed remain healthy through 1915, and most of 1916. On august 26th, 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. Now, at
this time, Aboriginals were not even Canadian
citizen, but, in the war, everyone was more or less equal and
soldiers were rated by their peers, and superiors on their courage under fire
and their actions in battle Lance Corporal Pagahmagabow clearly
distinguished himself there. In March, 1916 he was recommended for the
distinguished Conduct Medal. He carried messages with great bravery and success
during the whole of the actions at Ypres Festubert and Givenchy. In all
his work he has consistently shown a disregard for danger and his
faithfulness to duty is highly commendable This was the second highest award for
gallantry in the British Army, and, though Francis did not actually receive it, he was part of the first group of 78
Canadian soldiers awarded the Military Medal. In September, 1916 he reverted to
private, apparently at his own request. He was also wounded in the leg and was out of action until mid 1917. It
might well have been longer, but he pursued an active letter-writing
campaign to return to active duty, and was back at the front lines by May. In November, once again a corporal, he fought at Passchendaele and received
another military medal for his actions there. Maintaining contact with units
on the flanks and for guiding lost relief units At Christmas time, he was
diagnosed with pneumonia and was out of battle until May 1918. Throughout the summer of 1918, he continued his work sniping
and running messages. And, at the Second Battle of Arras, he earned the second bar on his military
medal. During the operations on August 30th, 1918 at Orix trench, near Upton wood,
when his company were almost out of ammunition and in danger of being surrounded, this
NCO went over the top under heavy machine gun and rifle fire and brought
back sufficient ammunition to enable the post to carry on and assist in repulsing
heavy enemy counter-attacks. Three years of trench warfare had taken its toll
though and he began to have disciplinary problems. By early November, he had been
sent to England suffering exhaustion psychosis Post war, he returned to Canada,
where he was still not a citizen, and much of the rest of his life was spent
fighting for Aboriginal rights, either privately or during his 2 tenures as
chief of the Parry island band He continued his involvement with the
armed forces by joining the local militia regiment, the 23rd Pioneers, where
he served as company sergeant major from 1930 to 1936. Francis Pegahmagabow died
August 5th, 1952 and was buried on the Wasauksing First Nation, close to where he was born. He had ended the first world war as one of only 37 Canadian soldiers
who had a military medal with two bars, and was the most highly decorated
Aboriginal soldier in Canadian history. He was credited with 378 sniper kills,
which is more than anyone else from any country in the First World War, as well
as capturing over 300 prisoners. In recognition of his place in canadian
military history the headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group have
been named in honor of Corporal Francis Pegahmagabow. Thank you, Mike Hayes, once
again, for helping us out with the research for this episode Mike has actually helped us for the
research for our special episode about combat communication which is totally
underrated and you should all check it out right here Don’t forget to subscribe. See you next


  1. A very brave man and warrior Francis was! Absolutely disgusting thing was that Canadian- and U.S.- First Nations people were not granted citizenship up to the 1930's and even later. Shame on you Canada and U.K., and shame on you U.S.A.

  2. What an interesting video.
    I’ve researched my grandfather’s activity in WW1 and found out that he was attached to the 137th Field Ambulance, Royal Medical Corps. He survived the war but died in 1955 (I was only 3) from an accidental gas escape.

  3. There was no Canadian citizenship at the time of World War I. For anybody. Canadians travelled on British passports. The Canadian troops were assigned to British units. The Canadians did not fight under their own officers until late in the war. Once they got their own officers. they — along with some other Colonial troops — became the point of the spear during the last year of the war.

  4. An interesting point, is he did not use a spotter when sniping. This caused many officers to not believe his kill totals, and not recommend him for a VC.

  5. Just something else the Canadian education system failed to teach
    Probably because it'd have to focus on how the govt doesn't represent the people but only self interests!

  6. You are mistaken the ultimate Sniper & Soldier in WW1 was Travis VC, Travis VC's Snipering Started at Gallipoli and ended on the Western Front Travis virtually lived in No Mans Land and pretty much ruled it he was given charge to expand the intelligence gathering capabilities on a whole region of the western front Travis VC was a New Zealand Soldier and perhaps the reason for your oversight

  7. Why would he want to fight for a country that saw him as inferior? I think he just was a daredevil. Brave, but not correct.

  8. All Indians know that if you have the proper medicine pouch, you do lead a charmed life. And for the rest of us, if you believe you lead a charmed live, then you do lead a charmed life. That is how it's done. Belief is the key.

  9. You omitted telling us he never have had a war pension just as every native soldier since the Canadian gvt conditionned this right with canadian citienship, which natives didn't have (and still don't?), unless they renegate their origin and culture…

  10. Spent years fighting in the trenches and decades fighting for his peoples right.
    Dont understand why he didn't get the VC though.

  11. Is the footage at 3:03 real or from a movie? Cause if it's real, man I feel bad for those soldiers probably taking their last breaths…

  12. Thank you for making this video. As a child I looked up to the military and wanted to join as early as 4 years old. But I always wondered why I never heard of any First Nations soldiers.
    I myself am Swampy Cree, from Fort Severn, Ontario. Private Crowe, Artilleryman with the 116th IFB. I'm 18 at the start of my military career, I plan on being lifelong military. Whenever I hear about the bravery of the warriors who served Canada before me, I feel pride and determination. I will serve with the same courage and dedication as Francis.

  13. Another Canadian, a sergeant named Popkin, killed Baron Von Richtoven (the Red Baron) by firing a LMG at his aircraft.

  14. that boys and girls is what a real life super hero looks like! not some singer or a football player who has never seen a hard day in their lives! Sir i salute you!

  15. Francis Busted himself down to private, to be with his troop. Heroic, but also the treatment of respect was foreign to him, his former troop treated him different(Higher rank). He didn't like that. He's an Equal dead or alive.

  16. A book called three day road is a novel about two Cree snipers in ww1…. the sniper Peggy that you’re talking about here gets a mention too. It’s a really great book

  17. Three years of getting your of brains mess with is a long time . Life is something you fight for . I’d say this man wanted to live , for all . Thanks

  18. Naja .. fragwürdiger Rekord , ist ein Rekord Menschen zu töten.. als Soldat kannste ja daneben ballern, aber sniper eben nicht:(

  19. I lived in this area for 27 years on and off. He was the Chief on Parry Island for many years. When did I find out about a man who should be as well known as Sgt. York? On Youtube, a year or so back after reading a few lines about him in a book on the First War. Typical. We don't want the aboriginals having someone to be proud of, do we?

  20. Our worst prime minister ever, Justine turdeau, wants to take our guns away.. how does he think our soldiers will learn how to shoot properly.. no wonder Canadians were so effective in the wars, they grew up knowing how to shoot properly..

  21. Hmm…A canadian native american kills for the country that stole his land…Must have been some mental hulahoop going on in his mind…

  22. As a member of a First Nation, Mi'kmak, it is with pride to recognize such a brave. For the sake of history, that this warrior was not given the VC is disgraceful. With his recon activity and just one-fifth of his 371 kills, if he were white his Victoria Cross would have been guaranteed.

  23. A great soldier, Great story! We Canadians should also remember Billy Bishop – the highest scoring allied Ace in WW 1. Canada lost about 60,000 dead in that war and made a huge contribution to allied efforts,

  24. How did Canada go from a nation of brave heroes to Justin Trudeau, Johnathan Yaniv, and Human Rights Tribunals? Oh well, I guess I could say similar things about many in my country too.

  25. There is a great novel by Joseph Boyden called the Three Day Road, that is based on the subject matter of this piece. I highly recommend the book for its depiction of the hardships suffered.

  26. Daaaaaang they should make a movie about this hero. Like I don't think I can think of a less represented group of peoples than the aboriginal-Canadians. I believe that's the term Indy used

  27. It’s odd,?, how Native people’s defend a conquering nation, receive little or no Recognition for Great sacrifices!

  28. He always was my favorite sniper. I like Francis Pegahdampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

  29. Being a skilled sniper in a war >>>>>> being a stupid foot soldier who gets mowed down by machine guns and snipers. Live and be decorated >>> dying.

  30. "Under fire, a ghost that roams the battlefield
    Move between the lines, a soldier breaking the confines
    Just another man and rifle, a marksman and a scout revealed
    Makes his way from trench to trench alone, moving undetected"

  31. …. I wouldn't say he was the BEST sniper of WW1 …. Read the story of a Chinese Australian, Billy Sing. He fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front and was actively hunted by the best Turkish snipers … they all failed … and died in their attempt to silence him. They called him the Assassin! Although his actual body count was around 300, he was credited with much less. His sidekick who spotted for him saw him shoot a Turk at 400 yards and was about to confirm the kill, when Billy turned to him and told him not to count it, as he wasn't aiming at that soldier …. Billy was a target rifleman in a shooting club in Queensland.

  32. Regarding to the Czechoslovak sharpshooter Hussite unit it is quite interesting story for Canadians as well since the Canadian troops were involved in the Ally intervention in Russia later on Japanese and some US troops as well. Biggest force was a Czechoslovak legions they were able to hold on half of the Russia for long time period. They basically controlled entire Siberian rail road and were able to help established counter revolution against the Bolsheviks…. I think marksman records on the Russian front can be interesting but it probably doesn't exist since the chaos of the Lenin Revolution and civil war take a part

  33. It's funny how a few years later he would be asked to do another video on this legend of a man

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