It would be at the famous battle of Amiens that his bravery would result in his earning the Military Cross.
Amiens was almost taken by the Germans not long before and its capture would have been critical to them. It was a very large central hub of rail lines that could allow the ease of transporting troops and supplies in most directions. The Allies knew it and had to keep it out of enemy hands.
The battle started on 8 August 1918 and was the beginning of what would later become known for the Allies as the Hundred Days Offensive. It would be the start of the end for Germany and when the series of battles was over... so was WW1. It would be the first time that the Canadians would have artillery, cavalry, tank corps and infantry all working together on the same offensive. On a bigger picture there were over 600 RAF bombers, more than 400 tanks and 350,000 allied troops spread over a 17 mile stretch of land, and all men and machines moving in on Amiens. The Germans would later call this day..."The black day of the German Army."
Day one would cost the Canadians some 4,000 men, by day 100 there would be over 11,600 Canadians casualties. But even with the high costs on day one, the Canadians advanced some 8 miles, more than most of the rest of the Allies and, the total one day advance for all Allies was one of the most impressive so far in the entire war.
And Fraser Kerr did his bit that day as well... and on those to come. It would be on the 18th, when the battle for Amiens was coming to a conclusion that he would earn his MC. The unit's war diary for the day tells the reader that 3 officers were killed and 110 from the unit were wounded. The lower ranks lost 29 killed, 8 missing, 151 wounded. They captured 5 enemy howitzers, 2 4.2 inch filed guns, 4 77 mm howitzer field guns. AND 450 PRISONERS. The diary also notes that... "the large majority of prisoners are Alastians who were exceedingly pleased at being captured."
Here's what the London Gazette had to say about Lt Fraser Kerr when awarding him the MC...
But he'll get his yet! He had to get another medal first though.
The targeted area was a long ridge in which the Germans had dug many trenches on the front and back side some 10 KM's long. They had the area very heavy protected by artillery and machine gun positions and were lying in wait for the Canadians to attack. It was said to be the toughest trench system along the Western Front.
Once General Currie's Canadians, some 150,000 strong, attacked, the 7 German divisions awaiting them let go with the bombardments, the machine guns and the poisonous gases. But the Canadians pushed on and by days end had not only pushed through... and beyond their objectives by two miles, but had also captured almost 10,500 prisoners. They also gained 123 artillery pieces, 99 trench mortars and 927 machine guns. But it cost them over 5,600 casualties.
Apparently the Kaiser would later write that... "Now we have lost the war."
While they have lost the war Lt Kerr has gained another medal. He was awarded a bar to his Military Cross. You can see an image of a MC with bar, above, and below is what the London Gazette said about his bravery on 2/3 Sept 1918.
And Lt Kerr was not finished yet. Again here is an extract from the London Gazette that has awarded him the Victoria Cross...the highest medal for bravery in the entire British Empire.
Shortly after this the military decide he was no longer fit for duty and sent him back to Toronto to be released from further service.
Back home he took up work in the medal supply business and joined the 3rd battalion's reserve unit at Toronto and by then had obtained the rank of Captain.
Most curiously, with a chemist background and incredible due diligence under extreme enemy fire, he would die in a "freak accident" when he became overwhelmed by automobile fumes while attempting to get his car going in his garage in December 1929. He was only 34 years old. He received a full military funeral in that city.
Captain Kerr's grave marker in Toronto Ontario and a German 77 mm howitzer believed to be the very artillery piece that Kerr captured, and now on display at Milton Ontario.
Lt George Fraser Kerr VC, MC and Bar, MM, one of Canada's most decorated war heroes was born on 8 June 1895. That was 118 years ago Saturday past.