Sharpshooter: Henry Louis Norwest

One of the most famous Canadian snipers of the First World War was a Métis soldier who went by the name of Henry Louis Norwest. He possessed all the skills required for this  role: excellent marksmanship, an ability to keep perfectly still for long periods and superb camouflage techniques.

Sharpshooter: Henry Louis Norwest George Cantlie departed Montréal in 1914 to serve in the Great War. He left behind his family, including his baby daughter Celia. He feared he might never return home and wanted to do something to make sure she would have a memory of him. Despite the mud and horrors of war, Lieutenant-Colonel Cantlie noticed
Did you read the newspaper stories carefully? All the answers to the crossword clues are found in the newspaper. Born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, of French-Cree ancestry, he was a ranch hand and rodeo performer as a young man. Lance-Corporal Norwest served
with the 50th Battalion and achieved a sniping record of 115 fatal shots. He also earned the Military Medal for his bravery during the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917. In  August 1918, during Canada’s Hundred Days, Norwest earned the Military Medal again in the Battle of Amiens when he took out several German machine gun positions. He was an inspiration to his unit with a fellow soldier writing of him: “Our famous sniper no doubt
understood better than most of us the cost of life and the price of death.

Henry Norwest carried out his terrible duty superbly because he believed his special skill gave him no choice but to fulfil his indispensable mission. Our 50th [Battalion] sniper went about his work with passionate dedication and showed complete detachment from everything while he was in the line . . . Yet when we had the rare opportunity to see our comrade at close quarters, we found him pleasant and kindly,
quite naturally one of us, and always an inspiration.” Norwest’s comrades were stunned when the Métis marksman was killed by an enemy sniper on August 18, 1918. For
the members of his battalion, a genuine hero had been lost.

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