In Memory of
Army T/5
Robert Burns Birnie
Beresford, South Dakota
Union County
December 17, 1918 – December 31, 1944
Killed in Action in Belgium

Robert Burns Birnie

Robert Burns Birnie was born on December 17, 1918, in Beresford, South Dakota, to  Mr. and Mrs. James Birnie. When he was young, Robert was active in the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. Robert attended Beresford Public Schools and graduated from high school in the class of 1936. In high school he was involved in many sports, such as basketball and football. In addition to school and activities, Robert helped his father in the family’s meat market business. After his father’s health had failed, Robert and his brother took care of the market until both Robert and his brother Otto entered into the service.

Robert entered into the service on November 13, 1943, and was trained in several camps, and afterwards, he was able to come home on furlough to visit his parents in the August of 1944. Soon he was sent overseas to France.  Upon arrival in Europe, T-5 Birnie went into combat on the Western Front. Army T-5 Robert Burns Birnie was killed in action in Belgium on December 31, 1944.

His Commanding General of the Eleventh Armored Division wrote:

You have lost a beloved son and we have lost a loyal, faithful and gallant comrade.
Your son fought gallantly as a member of the 22nd Tank Battalion in a most critical
operation of the war. The manner in which he fought aroused a lasting pride in his
comrades, his officers and myself.

Robert Burns Birnie is buried in an American National Cemetery in France.

At the time of his death, he left behind his father and mother, his sisters, Annabelle, Margaret, and Marian; he also left behind his brothers, Donald and Otto.

Robert still lives on in the hearts of his family and friends; I know they will cherish his memory forever. I will also remember the service and sacrifice of Technician Fifth Grade Robert B. Birnie. He was a hero to our country and a beloved family member.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Cherie Forget, 8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 3, 2000. Information for this entry was provided by Mr. Otto Birnie, Beresford, South Dakota, brother of Army T/5 Robert Birnie.