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Lennard Bertram

There’s a street in Brampton called Colonel Bertram Road. It’s one street east of Hurontario Street, between Conservation Drive and Mayfield Road, and it’s where Lennard Bertram had his farm. It used to be called Andrew Street, but in 1990 Brampton city council changed the name.

Lennard Bertram (1883-1964) came from Dundas, and was a veteran of the first world war. He volunteered as a private in the 1st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, when the war first broke out, in September 1914. In 1915 he was gassed and wounded – he was shot in the face and the bullet went through his nose and came out his mouth. He was sent to hospital in England, then took training for a commission and was promoted lieutenant. He would suffer the effects of being gassed for the rest of his life, and when he returned to Canada always kept a gas mask at his farm.

Returning to France in January 1916, he was attached to the 20th Battalion as a company commander, and promoted Acting Major in May 1917. In October of that year, his unit was involved in the capture of the Paschendaele Ridge. Lennard was awarded a Military Cross for his part in that action, but he would never talk about how he won it, because so many men lost their lives while fighting under his command.

Bertram’s Military Cross, now in the Dundas Museum.

When he was doing his officer training, he met Edith Sims, and they were later married when he was on leave, one day before returning to the front. Lennard had studied at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph before he enlisted, and when he and Edith came to Canada at the end of the war, they settled on the farm near Snelgrove that was to be their home.

Commanding Officer, The Peel and Dufferin Regiment

He continued to be active in the militia, and commanded The Peel and Dufferin Regiment, 1924-9. That would have been retirement, but he was persuaded to assume command of the 2nd Battalion, 1942-6, when the Lorne Scots were mobilized during the second world war. He spent a lot of time at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where the defence units trained, and where the reserve unit did their summer training. It was a full-time job until September 1944, when he returned to civilian life, but remained in command. Most weekends he was able to motorcycle home.

We still had an alliance with the Ulster Rifles, and a visit by one of their officers led to a Lorne Scot being attached to them, and taking part in their airborne operations in Germany. Major C.H. Boulton of the Lancashire Fusiliers visited Niagara in July 1944, one of the first personal contacts between the two allied regiments.

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