Rubin Bider served with the South Saskatchewan Regiment and was involved in heavy fighting after D-Day in July 1944.
During the battle for Hill 72 in Normandy, Rubin's regiment had been decimated by earlier German attacks. While waiting for the 7th Armoured Division to help them withdraw to a safer position, Rubin offered to single-handedly hold the German advance off so the survivors could withdraw and take their wounded to safety.
Rubin held back the Germans until his position was overrun, and only escaped capture by burying himself in the side of a trench. It took him three days to find his Regiment again. He was severely wounded in September 1944 and returned back to Canada.
Last Man Standing
Rubin's regiment, The South Saskatchewan, decimated by earlier German attacks, had been waiting for help from the 7th Armoured Division to withdraw the regiment's survivors to a safer position.
Meanwhile, the Germans were regrouping down the hill and bringing up reinforcements. When the order finally came for The South Saskatchewans to withdraw, the regiment commander was dead, the platoon officer wounded, and Rubin's section leader killed. There was nobody to give Rubin orders.
Almost all his comrades had already fallen, dead or wounded, as Hitler's 272 Division stormed Hill 72 in Normandy. The regiment's survivors made a simple but enormous request. Would Rubin hold the position while they withdrew?
On that day, July 24, 1944, Rubin Bider collected all the weapons he could carry – a Bren Gun, two tommy-guns and two rifles – and fought alone to defend what remained of his regiment during a German counter-attack.
Rubin Bider risked his own life to hold the advancing Germans back while his comrades withdrew to safety.
As Rubin later recalled, "There were Germans advancing so with the arms I had collected, I opened fire as they neared our position. We had wounded men in the trenches so I crawled out to another position as they began to advance again."
Hidden in a hedge and later behind a stone fence, Rubin slowed the enemy's advance while his regiment pulled back with its casualties.
After his outfit's safe departure from its trenches, Rubin realized the advancing Germans were cutting him off. "I was real lucky because I saw the Germans coming and I dug into the side of a trench and hid by covering myself up with dirt."
When Rubin looked out again, he says, "they had literally walked right over me." Rubin circled behind the German lines until he reached another Canadian unit. During the next three days he would fight alongside three different Canadian units before he could return to The South Saskatchewan.
Rubin was severely wounded in September, 1944 and was evacuated back to Canada. His brother, Abe Bider served in the RCAF. Rubin lived in Calgary after the war, working as a salesman and actively assisting many causes including the Jewish War Veterans, the Shriners, and the Legion often using his own money to support them.
And what kind of man was Rubin Bider? His wife Janet says, "Rubin didn't believe rules were made for him, which from what I've heard caused him trouble in the army. But he was always willing to help the underdog."
Rubin Bider died in 1982, age 60.