Reverend Sidney Elijah Lambert,O.B.E.

Sidney Lambert was born in Dorsetshire, England on September 19, 1887. He studied theology at Calgary and was a Methodist Church minister at Daysland, Alberta when World War 1 broke out. He enlisted in the 50th Battalion, C.E.F. at Calgary on June 19, 1915 and was assigned to the Canadian Chaplain Service with the rank of Captain. Lambert was wounded at the Battle of Vimy Ridge and had his leg amputated. Sent back to Canada, he was placed in the College Street Veterans Hospital in Toronto. While there he saw the need for a Canada wide organization to assist amputees in returning to civilian life and to offer assistance in finding jobs and cutting through government red tape in securing them benefits and to be there for them whenever they were needed. In 1920 Reverend Lambert brought his idea from a dream into a reality with the issuing of a national charter founding, “The Amputations Association of the Great War” with himself as the first President.

That same year saw him married to a heroine in her own right. Irene ‘Pearl’ Courtice of Bethany, Ontario had graduated from Toronto General Hospital in 1913 and she enlisted in the Canadian army in April, 1915 and served overseas with the Canadian Army Medical Corps. On her return to Canada she became the head of nursing at Whitby Hospital. They were married at the Sherbourne Street Methodist Church in Toronto.

Lambert became the Chaplain for the Christie Street Hospital for veterans and continued to do so for the duration of the hospitals stay at that site. In 1936 he led the Toronto delegation overseas to the Vimy Ridge reunion and throughout the thirties and forties he was often called to dedicate war memorials and was also in demand as a speaker. In 1942 “The Toronto War Honour Roll Committee” was created by Toronto’s Board of Control at the suggestion of Mayor Robert Saunders and Lambert was the chairman. The committee’s purpose was to acknowledge Torontonians who died on active service during World War 2. Over three thousand memorial scrolls were issued to their next-of-kin at sixteen memorial services which were held at City Hall, The Christie Street Hospital and under the auspices of the local Toronto regiments – The Royal Regiment of Canada – The 48th Highlanders and the Queen’s Own Rifles. The committee then created the “Golden Book of Remembrance” which was placed at Toronto city hall. The book was dedicated at a commemoration service held on Sunday, December 28, 1947 and over five thousand people attended the ceremony. The book contains the names of over three thousand men and five women from Toronto who died from 1939 – 1945.

With amputees returning to Canada in World War 2 the organization changed its name in the 1940’s to “The War Amputations of Canada” more commonly known to Canadians as The War Amps – an organization that is known and respected by all Canadians. Sidney Lambert left a great legacy in the War Amps and to this day it continues to serve Canadians, men, women and children. Lambert was an Orangeman and his membership was in Sproule Loyal Orange Lodge No. 2253 in Toronto and he served as lodge master in 1933.