On 8 February 1945 in the First Canadian Army sector, 2 Canadian Infantry Division started the first phase of the assault to break the SIEGFRIED Defence and destroy the enemy forces West of the RHINE, seizin the WYLER and DEN HEUVEL features and opening the main corps route. Later, bitterly opposed by some of the best German formations, the division was in action south of CLEVE, advanced up to and through the HOCHWALD FORREST and finally smashed the last German resistance around XANTEN on 10 March 1945, Crossking the RHINE on 28 March 1945, 2 Canadian Infantry Division led the breakout from the bridgehead an it’s advance never ceased until GRONINGEN, HOLLAND was reached on 14 April 1945 despite tenacious enemy resistance and natural obstacles in the form of numerous rivers and canals which aided the defenders. Five days later the Division was once more in GERMANY assisting by flank protection the 30 British Corps attack on BREMEN, its force changing as the battle progressed, until after a series of hotly contested actions, the end of April 1945 found 2 Canadian Infantry Division on the outskirts of the German town of OLDENBURG which surrendered two days later.
During this period, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Ward Bennett, GSO 1, as chief operatonal staff officer of the division was responsible for ensuring that the plans of the divisional commander were carried out. The wide variety of operations which followed each other in close succession demanded meticulous detailed planning and an intimate knowledge of the battle. Several operations involved the capture of a series of objectives by brigades passing through each other in rapid succession.
Lieutenant Colonel Bennett, displaying a complete disregard for himself, with unlimited endurance and enthusiasm, so efficiently coordinated the tasks of the infantry and their supporting arms that, although frequently advancing over a single axis, the momentum of the advance was maintained throughout all these operations and all objectives were taken with a minimum of casualties. He frequently visited the forward brigades and through these personal contacts was ensured perfect cooperation, and gained much valuable first hand knowledge, which enabled him to accurately anticipate many of the problems to be encountered.
Lieutenant Colonel Bennett has earned the respect and absolute confidence of the entire division and its supporting formations and units. through his energy, personality and wiling acceptance of responsibility he has contributed in no small way to the successes attained by 2 Canadian Infantry Division.
This officer landed on D Day as BM of an infantry brigade, later he commanded an infantry battalion in action and was evacuated wounded. Throughout the entire campaign he has set and example to all ranks of courage, initiative and devotion to duty.