As part of our project to document the names on Duncan’s Cenotaph in Charles Hoey Park on Canada Avenue, here is what we know about William Gardiner Benzie, who died, aged 33, while serving with the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) near Arras, France on 9 April 1917:

“Lieut. W.G. Benzie

Many in Duncan and its vicinity will be grieved to hear of the death in action of Lieut. William Gardiner Benzie. He was born some 33 years ago in Scotland, and had relatives at Kelvinside, Glasgow. A carpenter and cabinet maker by calling, he had followed other lines of activity. He was at one time in South Africa and had a farm near Johannesburg. He lived in Duncan for some two years and was employed when the new wing (recently burned down) was erected at the hospital. He was a great friend of Mr. R.G. Harvey, formerly city engineer. Just before war broke out he had gone to Qualicum Beach, where he had acquired some land. In March 1915, he enlisted in the ranks of the 47th Bn., then training at New Westminster and proceeded overseas with a reinforcement to that corps. He recently gained a commission in a Highland battalion. He was unmarried. His brother, Mr. J.A. Benzie, is an architect in Vancouver. ”

(source: Cowichan Leader, 31 May 1917, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Information

William Gardiner Benzie; Rank: 2nd Lieutenant; Age: 33:  Date of Death: 9 April 1917; Cameronians, Scottish Rifles, 8th Battalion; Grave – Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun, France

Other Links:

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles);; Wikipedia;; National Army Museum;;

William Gardiner Benzie’s brother, James Anderson Benzie (1881-1930) was an architect in Vancouver, B.C. Here is a brief biography and listing of his buildings, many of which are still standing.

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