John Chipman Kerr

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John Chipman Kerr
A. Y. Jackson-John Chipman KERR VC (CWM 19710261-0174).jpeg
portrait painted by A. Y. Jackson
Born11 January 1887
Fox River, Nova Scotia
Died19 February 1963
Port Moody, British Columbia
AllegianceCanadian Red Ensign (1868–1921).svg Canada
Service/branchCanadian Expeditionary Force
Canadian Army
Royal Canadian Air Force
RankPrivate (Army)
Sergeant (Air Force)
Unit49th (Edmonton) Battalion
Battles/warsFirst World War
Second World War
AwardsVictoria Cross

John Chipman Kerr VC (January 11, 1887 – February 19, 1963), was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

In 1912, after working as a lumberjack near Kootenay, British Columbia he bought a homestead in Spirit River, Alberta, where he and his brother farmed until war broke out. Immediately they set out for Edmonton, leaving only a single note tacked to the door of their humble shed. It read: "War is Hell, but what is homesteading?"

He was 29 years old, and a private in the 49th (Edmonton) Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 16 September 1916 at Courcelette, France, during a bombing attack, Private Kerr was acting as bayonet man and noting that bombs were running short, he ran along the parados under heavy fire until he was in close contact with the enemy when he opened fire at point-blank range, inflicting heavy losses. The enemy, thinking that they were surrounded, surrendered - 62 prisoners were taken and 250 yards of enemy trench captured. Earlier, Private Kerr's fingers had been blown off, but he did not have his wound dressed until he and two other men had escorted the prisoners back under fire and reported for duty.[1]

His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Mount Kerr in the Victoria Cross Ranges, in Jasper National Park, Alberta was named in his honour in 1951, and in 2006 Chip Kerr Park in Port Moody, British Columbia, was dedicated.

After the war he returned to farm in Alberta and also worked in the oil patch and as a forest ranger in Alberta.[2]

He is a great Uncle of Greg Kerr, MP for West Nova.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 29802". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 October 1916. p. 10395.
  2. ^ Alberta Government "The Victoria Cross Mountain Ranges" website

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]