Ernest Benjamin

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Ernest Frank Benjamin
Benjamin inspects the 2nd Battalion, Jewish Brigade, Palestine, October 1944.
Benjamin inspects the 2nd Battalion, Jewish Brigade, Palestine, October 1944.
Born (1900-02-05)5 February 1900
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Died 14 March 1969(1969-03-14) (aged 69)
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1919–1950
Rank Brigadier
Unit Royal Engineers
Commands held Jewish Brigade
Battles/wars World War II
 • Battle of Madagascar
 • Italian Campaign
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Brigadier Ernest Frank Benjamin (Hebrew: לוי בנימין‎‎) CBE (5 February 1900 – 14 March 1969) was a Canadian-born British Jewish officer who commanded the British Army's Jewish Brigade during the Second World War.[1]

Biography[edit]

Benjamin was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of Frank David Benjamin. In 1908 the family moved to England.[2]

Benjamin was a cadet at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Royal Engineers on 17 July 1919.[3] He was promoted to lieutenant on 17 July 1921,[4] and served as an adjutant from 3 October 1922[5] until 23 September 1923.[6] On 24 May 1927 he was appointed adjutant to the Divisional Engineers of the 49th (West Riding) Division, Territorial Army, with the temporary rank of captain (with pay and allowances of a lieutenant).[7] He was promoted to captain on 17 July 1930,[8] and left 49th Division on 23 November 1931.[9]

On 10 January 1936 Benjamin was appointed a General Staff Officer, 3rd Grade in Malaya[10] serving until 11 January 1939, by which time he has been promoted to major.[11] On 8 July 1943 he received a mention in despatches in recognition of his "gallant and distinguished services" in the Madagascar campaign of 1942.[12]

By then he was serving on the staff at Middle East Command, first as Assistant Quartermaster-General, then as Deputy Director of Military Training.[13] In September 1944 Benjamin was appointed commanding officer of the Jewish Brigade, a 5,000 man volunteer brigade group, overseeing its training in Egypt, and eventual deployment to the Eighth Army in Italy, seeing action in the crossing of the Senio river in north-east Italy in March and April 1945. Following V-E Day, 8 May 1945, the Jewish Brigade was sent to Tarvisio on the Italian-Austrian-Yugoslav border,[14] where Benjamin was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 1 June 1945,[15] backdated to 13 May.[16] In July 1945 the brigade was sent to the Netherlands, and then to Belgium,[14] as part of VIII Corps. On 13 December 1945 Benjamin was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[17] The Jewish Brigade was eventually disbanded in June 1946.[14]

On 13 May 1948, he completed his tenure as a regimental lieutenant colonel, but remained on full pay as a supernumery officer.[18] He retired from the Army on 4 September 1950, having exceeded the age limit, and was granted the honorary rank of brigadier.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brigadier Benjamin, Commander of Jewish Brigade, Comes from Family Active in Jewish Life". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 25 October 1944. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Gladstone, Bill (16 February 2012). "Obits: Alfred D. Benjamin (1848-1900); Frank Benjamin (1866-1937)". Jews of Toronto. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  3. ^ "No. 31460". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 July 1919. p. 9103. 
  4. ^ "No. 32393". The London Gazette. 15 July 1921. p. 5708. 
  5. ^ "No. 32798". The London Gazette. 23 February 1923. p. 1302. 
  6. ^ "No. 33038". The London Gazette. 14 April 1925. p. 2567. 
  7. ^ "No. 33285". The London Gazette. 17 June 1927. p. 3906. 
  8. ^ "No. 33626". The London Gazette. 18 July 1930. p. 4499. 
  9. ^ "No. 33781". The London Gazette. 18 December 1931. p. 8164. 
  10. ^ "No. 34243". The London Gazette. 17 January 1936. p. 378. 
  11. ^ "No. 34594". The London Gazette. 31 January 1939. p. 678. 
  12. ^ "No. 36083". The London Gazette. 6 July 1943. p. 3090. 
  13. ^ "Benjamin, Ernest Frank". Haapalah / Aliyah Bet. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  14. ^ a b c Frank, Benis M. (1992). "The Jewish Company of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps Compared With Other Jewish Diaspora Fighting Units". Brigham Young University. Retrieved 27 November 2016. 
  15. ^ "No. 37236". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 August 1945. p. 4274. 
  16. ^ "No. 37245". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 August 1945. p. 4378. 
  17. ^ "No. 37386". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 December 1945. p. 6055. 
  18. ^ "No. 38288". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 May 1948. p. 2926. 
  19. ^ "No. 39009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 September 1950. p. 4473. 

External links[edit]