The Mystic Marksman


Thrice-decorated Francis Pegahmagabow was one of the most highly honoured indigenous soldiers to serve Canada. Michael E Haskew explores the personal odyssey of World War One’s greatest sniper

There it was, half-hidden in the mist. Seconds later, the black dog was gone. Was it his target? An apparition or figment of the imagination? An omen? No matter Francis Pegahmagabow stuck to his lethal business. His bravery was unquestioned, he had proven willing, time and again, to carry communications from shell hole to shell hole, trench to trench.

The young Ojibwe of the Caribou Clan was becoming a legend. He would be credited with killing 378 German soldiers – victims of his deadly aim – and capturing another 300. By the end of the war, he had been awarded the Military Medal with two bars – one of only 39 Canadians sohonoured during the conflict.

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