John George Bannerman Diefenbaker (1895-1979)

Three soldiers in trenchcoats.

John George Diefenbaker and two unidentified officers. The unmistakable face of a young John Diefenbaker is shown in this wartime photograph. Although his tenure in the Canadian Expeditionary Force was cut short by a painful training accident, Diefenbaker went on to serve Canada as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and then Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963. Library and Archives Canada, PA-112363

John Diefenbaker, though better known for his political achievements, was one of the over 600,000 Canadians who enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Diefenbaker, who was injured in a training accident, never had the opportunity to serve in a combat role in the Great War.

Later, as the thirteenth Prime Minister, his government introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights (1958), appointed the first Aboriginal Senator (1958), extended the franchise to all Native Canadians (1960), and created the National Hospital Insurance Plan (1961).

It was his government that also cancelled the famous supersonic Avro Arrow program. Born in Neustadt, Ontario in 1895, John Diefenbaker died in 1979 and is buried in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

If you would like to find out more on what Library and Archives Canada holds concerning Diefenbaker's life and career, consult our on-line catalogue.

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