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Benjamin Geary

Benjamin Geary was born in London, England, in 1891. When the First World War broke out in 1914, he enlisted in the British Army’s East Surrey Regiment and was soon sent to the Western Front.

Lieutenant Geary was in action at Hill 60 near Ypres, Belgium, when he earned the Victoria Cross while leading his men in the defense of a shell crater position that was coming under attack the night of April 20-21, 1915.

“…The crater was first exposed to very heavy artillery fire which broke down the defences, and afterwards throughout the night to repeated bomb attacks which filled it with dead and wounded. Each attack was, however, repulsed mainly owing to the splendid personal gallantry and example of Second Lieutenant Geary. At one time he used a rifle with great effect, at another threw hand grenades, and exposed himself with entire disregard to danger in order to see by the light of flares where the enemy were coming on. In the intervals between the attacks he spent his whole time arranging for the ammunition supply and for reinforcements…”

- Victoria Cross citation in The London Gazette, October 15, 1915

Lieutenant Benjamin Geary

Geary was shot in the head during the battle and he would be blinded in one eye. He was evacuated to England to recover and, remarkably, would return to active service. He was wounded again in 1918 and survived the war.

Geary became a clergyman after the conflict and served as a chaplain in the British Army before immigrating to Canada in the late 1920s. When the Second World War erupted in 1939, Geary enlisted in the Canadian Army where he would serve as a major. After the war he would go on to be the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Ontario Legislature for many years. He died in 1976 and is buried in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

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