A Memorial Cross to the 22nd Regiment at Ortona
A Memorial Cross to the 22nd Regiment at Ortona - GRVI (E.4366 Pte. R. BENOIT). Naming is officially engraved. Crisp detail, dark patina, without ribbon, light contact, near extremely fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, case also near extremely fine. Accompanied by a CD containing twenty-eight pages of paperwork for Benoit, including his Attestation Paper, Service Records, Medical Records, Will, Review of Sentence, Casulty List, Province of Ontario Death Certificate, Canadian Pension Commission Memorandum, letters confirming his death and various correspendence between his mother and Ottawa. Footnote: Romeo Benoit was born on February 9, 1920 at Cornwall, Ontario, the son of Joseph and Dianna (nee Langlois) Benoit, of Casselman, Ontario. Brother of Rolland, Percy, Florient, Fernand, Giles, Irene, Simone, Georgette and Auriette. He signed his Attestation Paper on October 19, 1939 in Montreal, Quebec, stating that he was single and that his trade was that of Tailor. After a short orientation at Camp Borden, he embarked Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard H.M.T. Aquitania on December 9, 1939, arriving in Greenock, Scotland on the 18th. His European service began at Witley and was taken on strength with the Canadian Active Service Force, placed with 1 Canadian Division Infantry Reinforcement Unit, later joining 1 Battalion Wolfe Force on May 26, 1942. Benoit had a history of going Absent Without Leave (AWL) on numerous occassion, going back to his time at Camp Borden. In his Review of Sentence, dated July 11, 1942, it was noted "This soldier has a long conduct sheet, almost entirely absences without leave but with other indications of insubordination." It also went on to state that his conduct while under previous sentences was "poor". He was charged with being "AWL while undergoing Field Punishment and apprehended the same day." Identified as a "habitual offender", he was subsequently sentenced to nine months detention. He returned to the field in early 1943, seeing service in the Mediterranean theatre. By the winter of 1943, the German armies in Italy were defending a line stretching from the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Naples, to the Adriatic Sea south of Ortona. The Allies prepared to break through this line to capture Rome. For its part, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division was to cross the Moro River and take Ortona. Private Romeo Benoit was Killed in Action during this offensive, on December 30, 1943. He was buried at Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Ortona, Italy. In January 1944 the Canadian Corps selected this site, intending that it would contain the graves of those who died during the Ortona battle and in the fighting in the weeks before and after it. Today, there are 1,615 graves in the cemetery, of which over 50 are unidentified and 1,375 are Canadian. He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Italy Star, the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp and the War Medal 1939-1945 for his war service. His Memorial Cross was delivered to his mother, Diana, in 1944.