Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: Gerald Alfred Birks (1894-1991)


Born at Montreal on 30 October 1894, son of William Massey Birks and Miriam Gifford, he was educated at the Montreal High School, Lower Canada College, and McGill University (Architecture). In 1909, he joined the family jewellery business of Henry Birks and Sons and worked in several of its departments. In January 1924, he moved to Winnipeg to work at the local branch.

In June 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and served with the 73rd Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada. He was wounded on The Somme in November 1916, joined the Royal Flying Corps in March 1917 and flew with the 66th Squadron in Italy where he was credited with 12 kills and was awarded the Military Cross and Bar. He was deemed unfit for further active service in August 1918 and returned to Canada, resuming work with the jewellery business.

On 21 August 1924, he married Margaret Ryrie of Toronto. He was a member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Kinsman Club (Winnipeg), Mount Bruno Country Club (Montreal), St. James Club, and Winnipeg Winter Club.

He died on 26 May 1991.


Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

We thank Peggy Hamilton for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 December 2013

Memorable Manitobans

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