The Rebellion of 1837 – 39
The Fenian Raids – 1866 to 1871
The Fenian Brotherhood, composed of Irish-Americans, sought to achieve Irish independence from Britain. The Fenians aimed to put pressure on Britain by raiding the colony of Canada from 1866 to 1871. Due to this threat, Lambton responded by quartering troops sent to defend the border and our militias combined to establish the first permanent military unit in the County – the 27th Lambton Battalion of Infantry.
Although there was never a raid on Lambton soil, families lived under the constant threat of American invasion. The Fenian Raids helped to unite a divided nation under the concept of Confederation in 1867, and led men and women in Lambton to consider what it meant to be uniquely Canadian.
The Boer War – 1899 to 1902
Less than three decades later, Britain put pressure on the colonies within their global empire to support their expansionist claims and economic interests in South Africa. Canada responded by sending over 7,000 volunteers overseas to support the British Empire during the Boer War of 1899 to 1902. This conflict was the first instance of a young Canada sending military troops abroad.
From Lambton, 16 men volunteered to serve overseas. They were supported financially by their fellow citizens and their employers who guaranteed their jobs upon their return home. Instead of the quick victory envisioned, the conflict dragged on for years and sickness spread. One Sarnia soldier, Daniel Crone, was among the of dozens of Canadian soldiers who died not of war wounds, but of disease in camp.
The beginning of a new century saw the start of modern conflict, with guerilla fighting, scorched earth policies, and concentration camps. However, the people of Lambton responded when Canada was called upon to fight on the world stage. Our support of the British Empire would be needed less than a generation later as conflict loomed in Europe.