Léo Richer Laflèche

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Léo Richer La Flèche
Richer La Flèche.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Outremont
In office
Preceded by Thomas Vien
Succeeded by Édouard Rinfret
Personal details
Born (1888-04-16)April 16, 1888
Concordia, Kansas, United States
Died March 7, 1956(1956-03-07) (aged 67)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Jane Richer La Flèche (Jane Brady)
Children Denyse, François, Jean, Paul, Pierre
Occupation Major General, Civil Servant, Diplomat, Politician
Cabinet Minister of National War Services (1942-1945)
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Rank Major general
Unit 22nd Battalion, CEF

Léo Richer La Flèche, PC DSO (April 16, 1888 – March 7, 1956) was a Canadian general, civil servant, diplomat, and politician.

Léo Richer La Flèche was born in Concordia, Kansas, on April 16, 1888. The same year, with his parents, Zotique and Ida, Léo moved to Sorel, Quebec, because of his father's work in Ottawa with the government as a civil servant. Leo managed the Molson Bank in Ville St-Pierre until the outbreak of the First World War.[1] He served with the Royal 22nd Battalion, CEF, during World War I, as an infantry officer, where he was wounded several times. In one instance, on June 17, 1916, a soldier in Léo's battalion noticed Léo lying in a field, left for dead. The soldier and four of his comrades transported the dying Léo on a stretcher as they crossed a battlefield under German artillery fire. The General in charge spotted the heroic act and as a result, the five soldiers were each awarded a Military Medal.[1] Léo's brave and honourable service was not forgotten and in 1917, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Légion d'honneur of France. He later became a lieutenant-colonel commanding the District Depot No. 4, Montreal which consisted of roughly 70,000 men. He would achieve the rank of major general.[2] He co-founded the Canadian Legion in 1925 and became dominion president of the Canadian Legion in 1929.[3] From 1932 to 1939, he was Deputy Minister of National Defence, Vice-Chairman Defence Council and briefly served as military attaché to Paris before the German invasion.[4]

From 1940 to 1942, he was the associate deputy minister of War Services and was chairman of the National Film Board from 1941 to 1943.[5] In 1941, he received an honorary LL.D. from the University of Ottawa.[6]

He was elected as the Liberal candidate to the Canadian House of Commons for the Quebec electoral district of Outremont in a by-election on November 30, 1942, called after the current MP, Thomas Vien, resigned. He defeated future mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau who was running for the Bloc Populaire.[7] Later that year, Prime minister Mackenzie King named him Minister of National War Services, a post he kept until he became the first Canadian ambassador to Greece on April 17, 1945.

He was the Canadian ambassador to Greece from 1945 to 1949. On October 20, 1949, he presented his credentials to the governor general of Australia as the new high commissioner of Canada. On August 19, 1952, he also held this position in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as he officially took his post as the Canadian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in charge of the diplomatic relations with neighbouring Uruguay.[8] He returned to Canada in 1955. He died the next year at the age of 67. His grave is in the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery of Montreal.


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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Kennett Starnes
Canadian Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to Greece

Succeeded by
George Loranger Magann
Preceded by
Kenneth Alfred Greene
Canadian High Commissioner to Australia
Succeeded by
Carman Millward Croft
Preceded by
Lionel Victor Joseph Roy
Canadian Ambassador Extraordinary and
Plenipotentiary to Argentina

Succeeded by
Louis Phillippe Picard
New office Canadian Envoy Extraordinary and
Minister Plenipotentiary to Uruguay

Succeeded by
Fulgence Charpentier