- Place of Use Continent - North America, Country - Canada
- Category Communication artifacts
- Sub-category Personal symbol
- Department Arms and Technology
- Museum CWM
- Earliest 1918/12/01
- Latest 1919/09/01
- Inscription (Star/Étoile): 75005 PTE R.A. BENNETT. 29/CAN.INF.; (BWM & VM/MGB & MV): 75005 PTE. R.A. BENNETT. 29-CAN.INF
- Support swing mount
- Materials Bronze, Silver, Copper, Silkworm silk
- Rank Private
- Service Component Canadian Expeditionary Force
- Unit 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion
- Measurements Length 11.3 cm, Width 10.9 cm, Thickness 0.3 cm
- Caption Medals Project- Bennett, Richard Albert
Richard Albert Bennett was born on 2 May 1891 in Barry Docks, Glamorgan, in South Wales, United Kingdom, to Evan and Anna Bennett. His father was a book shop dealer and shopkeeper. By 1911 Richard was working as a clerk in his father’s shop but later that year he emigrated to Canada, giving his occupation as a bootmaker. He traveled to Vancouver where he found employment at the American Boot shop on Granville Street. At the time of attestation to the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), on 7 November 1914, he gave his occupation as a butcher.
He joined with the 29th Canadian Infantry Battalion (Vancouver) and shipped out to the United Kingdom on 20 May 1915 aboard RMS Missambie. By 17 September, the unit was in France. At about this time there was an identified need for tunneling operations. Canada responded raising some companies in Canada and another from troops in the field. Bennett was reassigned to the 2nd Canadian Tunneling Company in May of that year. He also spent some time with the 1st Canadian Tunneling Company. He was permanently transferred to the 1st Canadian Tunneling Company in January 1917. The tunneling companies were employed by the British Army as needed and the Canadians frequently worked in unison with Australian, British and New Zealand units. Their biggest operation was the massive mining of Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917.
By the beginning of November 1917, the 1st Canadian Tunneling Company was employed at La Clyte Belgium (just south west of Ypres) in front of the 1st Australia and New Zealand Army Corps of the 5th British division, shoring up trenches in preparation for the Passchendaele offensive. On the night of 2 November the unit suffered a significant shell gas attack. Bennett suffered burns to his left arm, a puncture to his eardrum and gas induced inflammations of the lungs and eyes. He was initially evacuated to the No. 2 Australian General Hospital in Belgium and then back to the United Kingdom for treatment. The burns to his arm and eye were eventually cleared up but he never fully recovered the hearing in his left ear and was classified as fit for rear area duty only. On demobilization Bennet elected to stay in the United Kingdom and was discharged from the CEF in the United Kingdom to return to his parent’s home in Cardiff.
In 1921 he returned to Canada aboard the CP liner Empress of Britain to join his brother who was already in Vancouver. His immigration form states his occupation as a butcher. On 19 June 1933 he married a Miss Agnes E. May in Vancouver and by then he was working as a clerk. He died in Vancouver on 22 November 1960.