E. L. M. Burns

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Eedson Louis Millard Burns
LGen ELM Burns.jpg
I Canadian Corps HQ in Larino, Italy, March 18th, 1944
Nickname(s) "Tommy"
Born (1897-06-17)June 17, 1897
Westmount, Quebec, Canada
Died September 13, 1985(1985-09-13) (aged 88)
Allegiance Canada
Service/branch Canadian Forces
Years of service 1914 - 1959
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division, I Canadian Corps
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Companion of the Order of Canada
Distinguished Service Order
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross
Canadian Forces Decoration
December 16, 1956, IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan and Major-General E. L. M. Burns end their meeting at Lod airport set to discuss further withdrawal of Israeli troops from Sinai
Moshe Dayan with ELM Burns (1957)
E.L.M. Burns meeting General Haim Laskov in Tel Aviv in 1959

Eedson Louis Millard "Tommy" Burns, CC DSO OBE MC CD (June 17, 1897 – September 13, 1985) was a Canadian Army Lieutenant General and diplomat.

Early Education[edit]

E. L. M. Burns, Royal Military College of Canada cadet

E.L.M. Burns was born on June 17, 1897 in Montreal, Quebec. His father was a militia staff officer, a member of the Corps of Guides. He served with the 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars (17th D.Y.R.C.H.). He had risen to the rank of signal sergeant by 1913.[1] “Tommy” Burns, student # 1032 graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario in 1914. He joined the Royal Canadian Engineers, into which he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1915.

World War I[edit]

He served in Canada until March 1916 when he went overseas with the 3rd Canadian Division Signal Company which, was composed of engineers. He fought on the Western Front with the Royal Canadian Engineers from 1916 to 1918. He became a staff officer with the 9th Brigade in March 1917, dealing with supply and personnel. He became a "staff learner" and acted as liaison officer between forward battalions and brigade headquarters. He returned to Canada in 1919 and was stationed at St. John as an engineer officer.[1]

Between the wars[edit]

He attended the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, England, for eighteen months. He was an instructor at the RMC in Kingston, Ontario. He returned to Halifax and served on duty during the miners' strike at Glace Bay. He worked in the Survey Department in Ottawa. In 1924, he was appointed as an instructor at RMC in field engineering. He attended the Staff College at Quetta, British India and returned to Quebec, Canada in 1930.[1] In 1939, as a Lt-Col, he attended the Imperial Defence College in London, England.

World War II[edit]

During World War II General Burns successively commanded the 4th Canadian Armoured Brigade, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, the 5th Canadian (Armoured) Division (January 1944 to March 1944), and then finally the I Canadian Corps (March 1944 until November 1944). His performance as a corps-level commander proved to be controversial, despite the successes of the Canadian forces in the Italian Campaign, and so he was replaced as commander of I Canadian Corps by Lieutenant-General Charles Foulkes.

Civilian life[edit]

He served as Deputy Minister of Veterans’ Affairs. He served as a President of the UNAC during the 1950s.

He played a critical role in the Middle East peace process from 1954 to 1959. He was instrumental in developing UN peacekeeping. As Chief of Staff in 1954, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) was designed to maintain the General Armistice Agreements until permanent peace could be formulated.

He served as a Special Staff of the Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine (1954–56) with the Department of External Affairs and was thus nearby when the Suez Crisis of 1956 occurred. He led the UNEF from November 1956 to December 1959. He was Canada’s principal disarmament negotiator from 1960-68.

He held the chair of Strategic Studies at the Norman Paterson School for International Affairs, Carleton University from 1969-75. He wrote “Between Arab and Israeli” (1962); “General Mud: memoirs of two World Wars” (1970) and "Defense in the Nuclear Age" (1976).

Honours[edit]

Wall of Honour, Royal Military College of Canada

He was awarded the Military Cross for maintaining communications under heavy fire, and, for the same action at the Somme, his non-commissioned officers received Military Medals.

In 1967 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada for his services to Canada at home and abroad. He was described as a Former Chief of General Staff and Canadian adviser on disarmament in Geneva. He was the 1981 recipient of the Pearson Medal of Peace for his work in the military of Canada.

He is a 2010 induction to the Wall of Honour at the Royal Military College of Canada.

There is a park located in Nepean named after him.

Memorial[edit]

A mannequin at the Royal Military College of Canada wears “Tommy” Burns' khaki army uniform jacket, covered with medals and wrapped with a Sam Browne belt.

Grave[edit]

Burns' grave is in Kingston, Ontario.

References[edit]

Books[edit]

  • 4237 Dr. Adrian Preston & Peter Dennis (Edited) "Swords and Covenants" Rowman And Littlefield, London. Croom Helm. 1976.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "To Serve Canada: A History of the Royal Military College of Canada" 1997 Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1969.
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Arthur Preston "Canada's RMC - A History of Royal Military College" Second Edition 1982
  • H16511 Dr. Richard Preston "R.M.C. and Kingston: The effect of imperial and military influences on a Canadian community" 1968
  • H1877 R. Guy C. Smith (editor) "As You Were! Ex-Cadets Remember". In 2 Volumes. Volume I: 1876-1918. Volume II: 1919-1984. Royal Military College. [Kingston]. The R.M.C. Club of Canada. 1984
  • Burns, Lieutenant-General E.L.M. (1962) Between Arab and Israeli. George G. Harrap.

External links[edit]