Lieutenant-colonel Bertram Dawson Lyon (1905-1986) : Merchant and WWII Veteran
The Lyon Brook is an important brook in Sherbrooke that flows along the greater part of the Regional Industrial Park, and enters the Magog River east of the Maurice-gingues Bridge, part of Autoroute 410. The name, made official in 2013, goes back to the 1960s and relates to a family who had their farm around this brook. It was Bertram Dawson Lyon who bought the Graham farm around 1937-1938 and added the Andrew Faith farm around 1950. The greater part of his land became the Sherbrooke Regional Industrial Park in 1971.
Bertram Dawson Lyon was born in 1905 in Island Brook. He was the son of Alice Dawson (1878-1962) and of Edward Lyon (1881-1933), the manager of Bury’s Lumber in Island Brook. After his grammar and high school studies in Island Brook, Stornoway and Sherbrooke, he took a commercial course at Mcgill University. He began his career in the lumber trade, likely with his father. But in 1929, he bought the Sherbrooke News Co., the store of which still stands at the north end of Wellington Street. In 1931, he married Ruth Ermina Edney (1906-1989) in the former Trinity United Church on Court Street, Sherbrooke. They had four children: Donald Edward (1932-1999), Stuart Bertram (1934-2004), William Arthur, and Joan Carol.
Apart from his life as a civilian, Bertram Lyon also led a military career from 1921 to 1946. He first served in 1921 with the 35th Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery, as a member of the Sherbrooke militia unit. In 1923, he was promoted lieutenant with the 3rd Signal Troops, also in Sherbrooke. He then joined the Sherbrooke Regiment. When war broke out in 1939, Major Lyon volunteered for active service. He was first attached to Mcgill University’s Cadet Officer Training Corp (COTC) in Montreal (1939-1940). In 1940, he joined the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment, the future 27th Canadian Army Tank Regiment and, in 1943, the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment). In 1941, he was first garrisoned in Newfoundland before going with his regiment to England where he was attached to the 14th Army Tank Regiment (The Calgary Regiment). He was seriously wounded during a training exercise in 1942 and was subsequently demobilized from active duty in May 1943. He was promoted Lieutenant-colonel and, from 1943 to 1946, commanded the 2nd Battalion of the Sherbrooke Regiment (now part of The Sherbrooke Hussars). In 1947-1948, he was elected president of the Sherbrooke Fusiliers Regiment.
Due to his military service, Bertram Lyon became an honorary member of the Rotary Club in 1940, and was president from 1949 to 1950. At the start of the Cold War, an aircraft control and warning auxiliary unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force was set up in Sherbrooke from September 1949 until December 1961. This was the 2450 Aircraft Control and Warning Unit (2450 AC/WU), commanded by Squadron Leader Frank Wakefield Mccrea. A mobile radar mounted on a convoy of vehicles was stationed in different locations in the area, one of them on Bertram Lyon’s farm in 1950. Lyon died in Sherbrooke in 1986 and is buried with his wife in Island Brook cemetery.
Lyon Brook came close to making history during the gold rush in the Eastern Townships in the 1860s. A geologist had discovered gold there but after having dug five exploration wells in 1866, one 10 meters deep, he only found but a few flakes.