BIRD, BENJAMIN HAROLD

Birthdate
Birthplace
Tiger Hill, Saskatchewan, Canada
Age
32
Parents
Son of John Edward and Mary Catherine Bird of Tiger Hill, Saskatchewan, Canada
Religion
Church of England
Occupation
Farmer
Service number
B/40056
Engagement
1942-02-17, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Overseas
1942-07-21, United Kingdom
Disembarked
1944-07-08, France
Date of death
1944-09-11
Died
Belgium, Killed in action
Force
Rank
Regiment (Fallen buddies)
Awards
South Saskatchewan Regiment, R.C.I.C.
Cemetery reference
Plot 5 | Row F | Grave 2

"A HAPPIER LOT THAN OURS, A LARGER LIGHT SURROUNDS THEE THERE"

Military grave
Additional info

Transfer from Royal Canadian Engineers tot Regina Rifle Regiment on April 11, 1942.

Assigned to the South Saskatchewan Regiment on October 1, 1942.

Promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on August 4, 1943.

Reverts to the rank of Private at own request on November 4, 1943.

Promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on November 5, 1943.

Reverts to the rank of Private at own request on February 7, 1944.

Promoted to the rank of Corporal on August 30, 1944.

1 Brother (older) in the overseas, John Edward.

The South Saskatchewan Regiment war diary reports on September 11, 1944:
Nieuwpoort, Belgium

At 0030 hrs Captain K.A. Williams reported in to Command Post where arrangements were made for the second phase Two inch mortar flares were ordered from BHQ for use in sitting the six pounders and Bofors. The Bofors had not arrived by 0030 hrs an it was decided to make the attack without them. The six pounders were put in position and it was decided that on the code word "COW" that "B" Coy would attack from the right. "H" hour was set at 0400 hrs. At 0400 hrs the two inch mortar flares were fired turning night into day. The six pounders were then sighted on to their targets and commenced firing, many direct hits were made. "A" Coy then started to advance and made their way to line of houses South of road at 480942 (Albert 1 Laan, between Doornlaan and Leeuwerikstraat, Nieuwpoort, Belgium ). The code word "COW" came at 0430 hrs and "B" Coy started their attack. The two Coy's cam under very heavy MG and rifle fire with some Arty shells. The Arty gun was soon knocked out by the Arty under FOO - Captain McLean. The SA fire was too great for the Coy's to make an assault on the pill-boxes and at 0530 hrs the word cam back that the Coy's were fighting vigorously to gain their objective. At 0555 hrs both Coy's were pinned by MG and rifle fire and could not advance further. The order was then given to withdraw at 0615 hrs. The Coy's then asked for smoke and Arty fire to help them withdraw as they could not move. The Mortars were then directed to lay smoke down until told to quit and Major Dale-Harris ordered the Arty to fire on the position with smoke and HE and to fire when told to and as often as required even though they were only allowed so many shots. These orders were carried out with the smoke being laid right between our troops and the enemy allowing our troops to withdraw and to take their wounded out with them. 

By 0700 hrs "A" and "B" Coy's were back in their original positions and the wounded had been evacuated by the ambulance jeeps. Captain K.A. Williams received a small piece of shrapnel in the forehead which knocked him dizzy for a while but was soon all right. 

At 0800 hrs Major G.B. Buchanan held a conference of Officers and second leaders in attack. It was thought that the strong point was going to be plenty tough to take out with Infantry and Field Artillery. They also wondered if Medium Artillery would have any effect on it. One remedy they thought would help and that was Typhoons with rocket bombs. One Platoon of "A" Coy was sent to the first objective they had taken on the evening of 9 Sept '44 to keep the enemy under observation. 

The day was spent in intensive recce for possible approaches from all sides, included from the sea. Arty were given the order to shoot at all movements. Typhoons were asked for and they came at 1800 hrs bu they missed the main defence point.

At 2300 hrs the GSO I 2 Cdn Inf Div visited BHQ to see what the Battalion was up against. It was decided that the daytime was to be spent in extensive recces and at night small raiding parties would work into position with Bangalore torpedos and Bee Hives.

BIRD, BENJAMIN HAROLD
Source: VAC