Dunkelman, Benjamin

Brigadier Benjamin (Ben) Dunkelman, DSO (1913 – 1997) was a Canadian who served in The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada during the Second World War.

His father was David Dunkelman, the founder of the Canadian men’s retailers, Tip Top Tailors.

Educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto, Dunkelman enlisted with The Queen’s Own Rifles and saw action at Caen, Falaise, and the Battle of the Scheldt.

After the war, Dunkelman returned to Canada, but again decided to travel to war, this time to fight for Israel in the spring of 1948. He arrived there at a time when the Israeli army was short of officers with combat experience, and he became the commander of the 7th Brigade, the country’s best-known armoured brigade.

There is a bridge on the Lebanese border called Gesher Ben in Dunkelman’s honour. His story is told in the film Ben Dunkelman: The Reluctant Warrior.

6 thoughts on “Dunkelman, Benjamin”

  1. I didn’t know about the history of the Dunkelman family. Thank you for sharing this with us. Tip Top Tailors, The Queen’s Own, and fighting for Israel. A life of accomplishment, dedication and sacrifice.

    My grandfather, Frank Jennings Bond, went overseas with the Queen’s Own in WW1. Fortunately, he went near the end of the war, and did not have to endure live combat. I hope he got to see the Dumbells.


    1. Correction to my comment of November 27, 2018. My Grandpa, Frank Jennings Bond, got drafted into the Central Ontario Regiment in 1917. In England, he was eventually assigned to the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. He joined that unit on November 2, 1918. Luckily, he returned to Canada un-harmed. Almost 400 Toronto boys were with 2 CMR at war’s end.


  2. Hi There: My Uncle John Angus Butler worked for Tip Top Tailors. Was a trained tailor in Scotland. Lived here briefly and returned to Scotland in 1936 with his wife and two children. People don’t know that the Dunkelman’s turned over Sunnybrook Farm to the veterans which grew into Sunnybrook Hospital that we have today.


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