Each Monday, we will share a brief biography of a soldier of the First World War with a Vimy connection. Today we honour Raymond Brutinel.
Raymond Brutinel was born in Alet, Aude, France on March 6, 1872 and immigrated to Canada in 1904. In his civilian life, he had many occupations, including geologist, journalist and entrepreneur. He surveyed the Grand Trunk railway route and he was the editor of Le Courrier de L’Ouest in Edmonton, which was the first French Newspaper west of Winnipeg.
When war broke out in 1914, Brutinel financed the formation of what was to become the 1st Motor Machine Gun Brigade, the first fully mechanized unit of the British Empire. The Motor Machine Gun Brigade (also known as Brutinel’s Brigade) played a significant role in many battles, including Vimy, Canal de Nord, and Somme. He was a pioneer of the idea of using mobility and concentration of fire power and developed the idea of indirect machine gun fire.
After the war, he returned to Europe in 1920 as a sale representative of Creuset in the Balkans. In June 1940, he was of significant assistance in evacuating Canadian embassy staff in Paris.
Learn more about Raymond Brutinel’s role in the First World War in this article from Cameron Pulsifer:
Pulsifer, Cameron (2001) “Canada’s First Armoured Unit: Raymond Brutinel and the Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigades of the First World War,” Canadian Military History: Vol. 10 : Iss. 1 , Article 5. (Link)