Cameron Macpherson Edwards

1881-1959  

C.M. Edwards was the sixth child of John C. Edwards (who built 345 Laurier) and a nephew of W.C. Edwards. Between 1920 and 1937, he lived at 407 Wilbrod St. In the 1921 census, Edwards is listed with his wife Agnes Wallace Watson, a son, a governess and two servants. A daughter would be born later.

Standing 5’9”, with black hair, grey eyes and a dark complexion, Edwards had a distinguished military career, serving in both world wars. He was the youngest Canadian colonel in France during WW1, was wounded at Vimy and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for gallantry in action. The official citation reads: “for conspicuous gallantry in action. He organized his battalion for attack, and carried out a dashing assault in a snow-storm with conspicuous success. He set a splendid example of courage and initiative throughout.” In addition, Edwards was awarded two bars to the DSO, the French Médaille d’honneur, the British War and Victory Medals and the Canadian War Medal and was mentioned three times in official dispatches. He served overseas with the Canadian military until June 1919. Later in life, he served as honourary lientenant-colonel of the Ottawa Highlanders and as honourary colonel of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa.

As a civilian, Edwards was a successful lumberman and the director of various companies. He was one of the founders of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires and a chairman of the Salvation Army advisory board. The Corps of Commissionaires recognized his service by naming its headquarters on Lisgar St. the Edwards building. In 1947 the Salvation Army bestowed upon him the Army’s Order for Distinguished Auxiliary Service, one of only five Canadians and 45 persons throughout the world holding that order. He was also a benefactor of the First Baptist Church of Ottawa (at Elgin and Laurier) and helped pay for the reconstruction of the sanctuary in the 1920s. A three-panel stained glass window in the north wall serves as a memorial to his father John C. Edwards and to John A. Cameron.

He and his wife suffered a personal tragedy in May 1940 when the car his son was driving plunged off the Chaudière Bridge, drowning him.

C.M. Edwards and his older brother Gordon have an unexpected association with Canadian prime ministers. In the 1920s, C.M. built a summer cottage at Harrington Lake that is now is the Prime Minister’s official country residence. Gordon, for his part, lived in a large house at 24 Sussex Dr. that he had inherited from his uncle and that was expropriated in 1946 later to become the prime minster’s official residence.  Both Cameron and Gordon, and their uncle W.C., who started the family business, are buried at the Beechwood cemetery.

Sources

https://firstbaptistottawa.ca/a-brief-history-of-first-baptist-church/

http://38thbattalion.blogspot.com/2008/12/lieutenant-colonel-cameron-macpherson.html

http://www.canadaveteranshallofvalour.com/EdwardsCM.htm

http://www.beechwoodottawa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/historical_portraits_booklet_en_may2015.pdf

http://38thbattalion.blogspot.com/search/label/medaille%20d%27honneur

http://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/24-sussex-drive

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