George Fraser Kerr, VC, MC & Bar, MM
Plot 14, Section 36, Lot 6
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
One of Canada’s most highly decorated soldiers George Fraser Kerr, VC was the recipient of the Military Medal, the Military Cross & Bar, and the prestigious Victoria Cross all of which he received while with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion during the First World War. Kerr was one of only seventy Canadians awarded the Victoria Cross during the four year conflict. Interestingly, only sixteen such medals were awarded during the Second World War. The official citation accompanying Kerr’s honour reads as follows:
INCIDENT: 27 September 1918 Bourlon Wood, (near Cambrai) France.
For most conspicuous bravery and leadership during the Bourlon Wood operations on 27 September, 1918, when in command of the left support company in attack. He handled his company with great skill, and gave timely support by outflanking a machine gun which was impeding the advance. Later, near the Arras-Cambrai Road, the advance was again held up by a strong point. Lt. Kerr, far in advance of his company, rushed this strong point single-handed and captured four machine-guns and thirty-one prisoners.
His valour throughout this engagement was an inspiring example to all. A likeness of his Victoria Cross is sculpted on Kerr’s memorial.
Kerr was born in Deseronto, Ontario on June 8, 1894. With the outbreak of war in August, 1914 Kerr went overseas with the 3rd Canadian Infantry Battalion (the Toronto Regiment). By war’s end Kerr had been promoted to the rank of captain.
On the evening of December 8, 1929 Kerr went to the garage at the family residence at 38 Cheltenham Avenue in north Toronto to warm up the car before a trip to Union Station to meet friends arriving from New York City. While waiting, Kerr read a newspaper. When he hadn’t returned after three hours, his wife went to the garage and found her husband slumped over in the front seat, barely alive. He died before medical help arrived. Police speculated that a gust of wind had blown the door shut and Kerr had succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Three days later Kerr was accorded a full military funeral complete with rifle honour guard.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded