Churchill

CHURCHILL Benjamin William

War
2nd Word War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
London, Ontario
Original Unit
Regimental Number
104892
Rank
Rifleman
Date of Death
Age at Death
30 years 3 months
Biographical Summary

Name:                 CHURCHILL      Benjamin William            
Rank:                   Rifleman     104892                                                                                                                                                    II Canadian Corps - 3rd Canadian Infantry Division - 7th Infantry Brigade
Regiment:           Royal Winnipeg Rifles
                            “named by the enemy in battle”
                            Royal Canadian Infantry Corp                                                                                        Residence:          Clinton - Ontario                                                                                                                      Birth:                    April 10, 1914 - Clinton - Township of Goderich - County of Huron - Ontario                              Died:                   July 5, 1944     30 years   3 months                                                                                Cemetery:           Beny-Sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery - Reviers - Calvados - France
                            XIV C 16                                                                                                                                    Parents:              Mr. Benjamin and Daisey Churchill - Clinton                                                                              Brother:               Thomas living in London                                                                                                                  Sisters:               Olive of Clinton, Mrs. Grace Forbes of Clinton and Mrs. Mabel McAdams of Hamilton, 

Benjamin was born on April 10, 1914 in Clinton. He left school at 12 years of age at the end of Grade 6. From  what we read in his service file we think he farmed for his father on the family homestead on Lot 24 - Concession 15 in the Township of Goderich for eight years until he was approximately  20 years old and then had his own farm on Lot 21 - Concession 14 in the Township of Goderich and farmed there for another 8 years until 28 years old. 

Canada 

His enlistment took place in London - Ontario on October 20, 1942 . Until the time he enlisted he had never been to see a doctor. His desire was to be a welder following the war. When he enlisted he was  5'  7" in height and weighed 168 pounds. His complexion was medium and his eyes and hair were brown. Following his enlistment into the Canadian Army he was sent to No. 1 District Depot in London and given the rank of Private. Ten days later at the end of the month he was posted to No.12 Canadian Army Basic Training Centre. Between December 23-27 he was granted Xmas Leave.                                                                                                                        The next posting was to A 29 Canadian Infantry Training Centre located at Ipperwash on January 5, 1943. While here he had an increase in pay to $1.40 per day. Embarkation Leave occurred between February 27-March 5th. On March 17th he was allocated to Lorne Scots. He was Struck off Service of the Canadian Army in Canada on March 21st. On March 23rd, Private Churchill departed Halifax and while at sea was Taken on Strength with the Canadian Army Overseas.

In England

Private Churchill disembarked overseas on March 31st. On April 1st he was posted to No. 5 Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit "A" Company. On April 13 he was assigned to the Lorne Scots. Then on April 20th his pay increased to $1.50 per day. On May 16 he was posted to the Canadian Infantry Brigade Support Group and a day later he went to the Canadian Division Support Battalion. He was admitted to No. 5 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station on September 27 and the same day was admitted to to 18 Canadian General Hospital - Cherry Tree - Colchester - Essex from the 9th Brigade "Spc Grp". At some point he was moved to No. 2 Canadian General Hospital - Bramshott - Hampshire. On October 11th he completed his test of elementary training and was posted to No. 5 Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit. . Our research indicates that his extensive training could possibly be why he was hospitalized. During the month of November he took additional rifle training, light machine gun training using the Sten gun, grenade training and 2" mortar training. Then on November 13 he went for four weeks to a Basic Training Refresher Course at No. 5 Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit.                    In the middle of January 1944, Private Churchill was posted to the 3rd Division Ground Defence and Employment Platoon with the Lorne Scots. On March 9th he was admitted to No. 7 Field Dressing Station and a day letter was admitted to No. 2 Canadian General Hospital. As well he was Struck off Service from the Lorne Scots. On March 22 he was assigned to No. 2 Canadian Infantry Reserve Unit. On March 25th he was admitted to No. 1 Canadian Medical Centre and released a day later. On April 24th, Private Churchill was assigned to the unposted reinforcement list in the theatre of war at No. 2 Canadian Infantry Reserve Unit. Then on may 21 he was posted to the Cameron Highlanders of Canada and three weeks later on June 10th he was posted to the Winnipeg Rifles of Canada with the rank of rifleman.

In the field                                                                                                                                                               

On June 7, 1944 he Was Struck off Strength of the Canadian Army in the United Kingdom and on June 8th Rifleman Churchill was Taken on Strength with the Canadian Army in north-west Europe and a day later on June 9th he landed at Juno Beach.                                                                                                                      “Operation Windsor”, the Battle for Carpiquet began On July 4th. and that same day the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, the Queen’s Own, the North Shore Regiment and the Chaudiere Regiment began to move on the village of Carpiquet with the support of the tanks of the Fort Garry Horse –10th Armoured and the artillery of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. They began to move forward from the hamlet of Marcelet and as they moved through the French wheat fields, the Canadians encountered a massive artillery barrage and mortar fire and scores were falling, mowed down by death.
The 7th Infantry Brigade had just begun their advance through the chest-high wheat fields and shortly the
fields were filled with the dead. The Royal Winnipeg Rifles attacked the hangars at the airfield where the
Germans were still fortifying and they met very heavy machine gun fire. The Germans were throwing
continuous fire from their well fortified and concealed bunkers and pillboxes. The Fort Garry tanks were
used as back up and it was not until 09:00 when the two Winnipeg companies were able to reach the nearest
hangar. The Germans were so heavily entrenched they could not be forced out even with the use of tanks.
The Germans who were defending Carpiquet were attached to the 12th SS. All the high ground was controlled by the Germans. Only 150 teenagers from the Hitler Youth occupied Carpiquet and were outnumbered 6,700 to 150. The advantage the Germans had was the high ground and a series of interconnected underground blockhouses and could move about at will. They swept through the Winnipeg Rifles with heavy fire until they could advance no further and had to retire to find shelter from the German fire. In the afternoon, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles again advanced only to find themselves being approached by enemy tanks and with the help of Allied artillery the German tanks kept advancing. The tank threat was finally eliminated by calling in rocket carrying aircraft. At the airfield, the village itself and the northern hangars were controlled by the Allies, but the enemy still controlled the southern hangars. During the night of the 4th / 5th all companies patrolled their areas and The Royal Winnipegs were ordered to withdraw, and the as this took place the Germans rained down mortar and artillery fire onto the Canadian positions, and mounted several violent counter-attacks against them.
To this point in the operation The Winnipeg Rifles had suffered 40 men killed and 92 wounded.
During the early morning of July 5th, the Germans again attacked with the support of their Tiger tanks and
this attack was repulsed and it was during this attack when Rifleman Churchill lost his life. July 5th was a clear, calm, and fair day.
The Canadians held fast for several days under intermittent mortar / artillery fire before the Germans finally
abandoned the Carpiquet airfield.                                                                                                                    Rifleman Churchill was awarded the 1939-45 Star, the France-Germany Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.   Benjamin is honouredand remembered on the Clinton and Goderich - Ontario Cenotaphs. He is also honoured and remembered on the Memorial Plaque of St. Paul's Anglican Churchin Clinton - Ontario.


237