Binghams' in War and in Peace

Over eight centuries members of the Bingham family have served in the military on all continents, often with distinction. Others have held political office. Given that the surname originates in an English place name, many Binghams have a common ancestry. The following is a brief summary of prominent soldiers, sailors, air crew and politicians who have shared the Bingham name, including the military service of the descendants of Thomas Bingham and the broader Bingham's Bay family in Canada and the US.

 England and Ireland

According to available evidence, the 'Bingham' name comes from England's Northeast Midlands – in the old Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia. There are several versions of the name's origin in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Danish. 'Bingham' may have once meant (i) the place in the hollow, (ii) the place of the manger, or (iii) the village of Bynna (an Anglo-Saxon name). Bingham has long been a market town nine miles east of the city of Nottingham. There are large numbers of Binghams to this day in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire and southern Yorkshire.

Nottingham itself was one of the 'five boroughs' dominated by Danish Vikings from the mid-9th until the 11th centuries. Robin Hood and his 'merry men' later decried the misrule of the early Plantagenet kings from Sherwood Forest, just north of Nottingham. Today Bingham has just over 9,000 inhabitants; in 2013 it was named the best place in England or Wales to raise a family.

A branch of the Bingham family moved to England's southwest in the 12th century. At this time Ralph de Bingham acquired a manor house at Sutton Bingham in Somerset. One of his sons, Richard of Bingham, earned a doctorate of theology at Oxford before being elected bishop of Salisbury on September 9, 1228. Over almost twenty years as bishop, he witnessed Henry III's confirmation in 1237 of both Magna Carta and the Forest Charter, completed the cathedral, and built a new bridge at Salisbury. Another ecclesiastic named William Bingham founded Christ's College, Cambridge, in the mid-15th century to train grammar teachers.

In the mid-13th century Robert de Bingham of the Somerset Binghams acquired a manor house at Melcombe Bingham just northwest of Dorchester in Dorset. Three centuries later Sir Richard Bingham, who had served as a soldier and naval captain in Flanders, France, then against the Turks in the Mediterranean, became one of Queen Elizabeth's principal commanders during the long, violent Tudor pacification of Ireland. As the notorious protestant governor ('President') of the province of Connacht for fifteen years starting in 1584, Sir Richard put down rebellions in Mayo, Galway and Sligo. When large Spanish contingents landed in 1588 after the failure of the Armada, Sir Richard Bingham was ordered to put hundreds to death.

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Plantagenet -

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Forest Charter -

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Richard's brother George, who had served as sheriff of Sligo, had a son named Sir Henry Bingham who was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1634. The earls of Lucan are descended from him. The barons of Clanmorris descend from Sir John Bingham, another brother of Sir Richard who had served in these long Irish campaigns. The Lucan and Clanmorris titles belong to the Peerage of Ireland.


The manor of Melcombe Bingham remained in the Bingham family until 1900 when it was sold by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Charles William Bingham of the Royal Artillery. Since 1934 the Earl of Lucan has been Baron Bingham of Melcombe Bingham in the Peerage of England.


British Empire

The Binghams were very well represented in the British military from the late eighteenth century onwards. Captain Arthur Batt Bingham, commander of HMS Little Belt (a light Danish frigate captured by Nelson at Copenhagen on September 7, 1807), contributed to the tensions that led to the War of 1812 when he returned fire on the larger USS President under Commodore John Rodgers off Cape Hatteras on May 10, 1811. In 1815 Brigadier General Sir George Ridout Bingham accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte to his final exile on St Helena, remaining on the island for four years.


In 1843, Commander J Elliot Bingham of the Royal Navy was among the first to publish an account of the First Opium War. Most famously, during the Crimean War George Charles Bingham, 3rd Earl of Lord Lucan, commanded the Cavalry Division at Balaclava, leading the heavy brigade in a futile charge to relieve the ill-fated light brigade – but surviving to achieve the rank of Field Marshal nearly 33 years later, in 1887. Charles Thomas Bingham was an officer in the Indian Army before publishing four definitive volumes on the butterflies, wasps, bees and ants of India, Ceylon and Burma.


Major General the Hon Sir Cecil Edward Bingham, grandson of the commander at Balaclava, was aide-de-camp to Major-General John French, as well as commander of the Cavalry Division in which many Canadians served during the South African War. Major General Bingham was later commander of the British Cavalry Corps in 1916, during the First World War. Rear Admiral the Honourable Edward Barry Stewart Bingham, the son of Baron Clanmorris, earned the only Victoria Cross at the Battle of Jutland on May 31, 1916 by taking his destroyer within torpedo range of the main German force. When HMS Nestor was sunk, Bingham became a German prisoner of war.

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Edward W Bingham was a polar explorer, helping to survey the Arctic air route over Labrador and Greenland before the Second World War. He later explored Antarctica, where the Bingham Glacier is named for him. John Michael Ward Bingham, 7th Baron Clanmorris of Newbrook, was a legendary counter-intelligence officer with MI5, ridding Britain of German spy networks on the eve of the Second World War and rolling up Soviet-sponsored leftist networks in the postwar years, before achieving great success with his first six novels, then serving as the original (with Vivian Green) for John Le Carre's infamous George Smiley, the hero of his most celebrated trilogy. Thomas Henry Bingham, a soldier and lawyer, served successfully as Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord over the period from 1996 to 2008.


In the late nineteenth century the greatest concentration of Binghams in England was in Yorkshire (with over 800 families), followed by Lancashire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The area around Nottingham, Chesterfield and Sheffield – just east of the Peak District, where Thomas Bingham of Bingham's Bay was born – is at the centre of these counties with heavy Bingham populations. When Thomas Bingham departed England for Canada, the Bingham family was present throughout the United Kingdom, including in Ireland and parts of Scotland, especially Lanarkshire in Scotland.


United States

The first Bingham known to have settled in North America was also named Thomas. His family origins were also in England's Northeast Midlands, with roots in north Nottingham and south Yorkshire. Thomas Bingham's father had been a cutler, a maker of fine knives, in Sheffield – a city still famous for this product. This Thomas Bingham landed in the Connecticut Colony around 1659, settling in Saybrook, then Norwich, and later further inland at Windham, some distance up the Shetucket River, where he is buried.


Of the thousands of descendants of this Thomas Bingham's many children, several became prominent politicians. William Bingham, a graduate of the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania), became a delegate to the Continental Congress, one of the richest men in Pennsylvania, an officer in the Continental Army, an advisor to Alexander Hamilton on taxation and a national bank, and later a United States Senator, who administered the oath of office to Thomas Jefferson. Hiram Bingham III, a famous archaeologist, discovered Macchu Picchu, then later became a US Senator for Connecticut. His son Hiram Bingham IV, as US Vice-Consul at Marseilles during the Second World War, was instrumental in saving many Jews from the Holocaust.

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Kelsey S. Bingham became Governor of Michigan in 1854 – one of the first Republicans to become a state governor. William Bingham was a Mayor of Pittsburgh from 1856-57. John Armor Bingham, an Ohio lawyer, was made Judge Advocate of the Union Army by Lincoln and became a member of the House of Representatives for Ohio, delivering eulogies for the slain president at the White House and Springfield, Illinois. He was the principal framer of the 14th amendment to the constitution, establishing criteria for US citizenship that are still in force. Henry H. Bingham received the Medal of Valor for his actions at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864. Later postmaster of Philadelphia, he was a long-serving Republican in the US House of Representatives.

George Caleb Bingham (1811-79) was one of the most celebrated painters of frontier American life in the mid-nineteenth century, especially in Missouri. He has left classic scenes of fur traders, raftsmen, election campaigns, political candidates on the hustings and even Daniel Boone. Brigadier General Theodore A Bingham of Connecticut, was a graduate of West Point and later police commissioner of New York from 1906 to 1909. In this capacity, he sent a New York City police officer to Palermo who was killed by the Sicilian mafia. In 1934 Theodore Bingham died at Chester, Nova Scotia, where he had a summer residence, aged 76. He is buried there.



Thomas Bingham (our common ancestor at Bingham's Bay on Lake Cecebe) came to Canada in 1886 – a year after the last spike was driven into the CPR. Sir John A Macdonald had been in office continuously since 1878. Thanks to the vision of Canadian Sir Sandford Fleming, the International Meridian Conference of 1884 had adopted a common standard of longitude and time, with time zones soon covering the world.

The British Empire was close to its zenith. Thanks to the CPR, immigration to Canada was booming. In 1886, there were 69,152 immigrant arrivals in Canada. In each of 1882, 1883 and 1884, the country received over 100,000 immigrants – for the first time in our history. But storm clouds were gathering. In 1885, the Gordon Relief Expedition failed to prevent the fall of Khartoum – despite the exploits of 386 Canadian voyageurs sent to Egypt to negotiate the cataracts of the Nile. In 1886, both William Ewart Gladstone and the Marquess of Salisbury held the office of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – the latter twice. The scramble for Africa was underway. Imperial rivalries were intensifying. By 1890, the German Emperor had dismissed Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor: the march to world war had begun.

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Thomas Bingham's roots were in the Peak District – around St John the Baptist parish church in Tideswell, 'the Cathedral of the Peak' (though it is not a cathedral), and in Ashover and Litton. The area is about ten miles from Chatsworth House, home of the Cavendish family since the mid 16th century and to Dukes of Devonshire since 1694. Thomas Bingham's uncle was a soldier: their local 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment, united in 1881 with the 45th Nottingham Regiment to form the Sherwood Foresters.

When Thomas Bingham set out for Canada after a life spent mostly in Stockport and Coventry, he was 37 years old. By the start of the First World War, he was 66. There are 71 service records for Binghams who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War One. The sons of Thomas Bingham, all born in Coventry in the 1870s and 1880s, as well as his one son-in-law, do not figure in this roll: it was common practice for members of the Christian clergy and doctors to continue serving their congregations and patients in wartime, when demands on them grew acute.

In our records of Bingham's Bay, there is little record of this terrible cataclysm, which took over 60,000 Canadian lives in a country in 1914 of under eight million. At the outset of war, William, Selina and Bert were all married. Albert and Ernie – the youngest siblings – would marry before the war ended. When war was declared in August 1914, Flora Bingham and her husband Dr. Alpheus S. Lovett were living in Paris, Ontario – a town of barely 4,000 that would see 352 men in arms over the next four years. At this time Herbert Henry was a Baptist minister in London, Ontario. William Bingham spent the war years as a doctor and minister in Sterling and Denver, Colorado.

Alpheus S. Lovett’s half-brother Lt Col James Henry Lovett was born on July 26, 1889, the youngest son of Dr. William Lovett and Jennie Morton of Ayr, Ontario. Educated at Galt and Paris collegiate institutes, Jim Lovett was an outstanding athlete in many sports, including a member of the Senior Ontario Hockey Association when they won the World Championship, as it was then called. Jim joined the Canadian Bank of Commerce at an early age, working as a bank clerk across Ontario and later in Winnipeg.

When the First World War broke out, Jim was among the first to join up, volunteering in Winnipeg in August 1914 before enlisting formally in the 13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders) at Valcartier on September 23, 1914. He was present at major actions with his regiment in 1915 and 1916 from Ypres to the Somme. In one incident, his battalion headquarters were hit by a Big Bertha shell. Jim was buried upside down for an extended period, suffering blindness and complete hearing loss, among other injuries. In the course of the war, Jim suffered gunshot wounds three times. He was awarded the Military Cross on the Somme in 1916 for “conspicuous gallantry in action”.

St John the Baptist Church -,-          3.0759729,8z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x487a2e8f3f00de97:0xcf7310c42733e2f3!8m2!3d53.278853!4d-1.772532

First World War -

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Despite his wounds, Jim survived the horrors of the Great War. By 1918 he was a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 20th Reserve Battalion (Royal Highlanders, Canada) at Bramshott and Ripon in England. After the war he remained an active member of the Montreal-based Royal Highlanders Regiment of Canada (The Black Watch), shown here on parade in Montreal in 1924:



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Jim retired as Chief Clerk of the Bank of Commerce in Toronto in 1949. While his poor hearing prevented him from reaching the bank's topmost positions, his marriage to Margaret Dorothy Watson after the First World War at her family home in Ayr was a great success – the perfect alliance of famous solider and local beauty. Dr. Alpheus Lovett's family missed the wedding due to influenza, which killed many at this time. Uncle Jim would later take his nephew Al Lovett to the Ex, putting guests up in the Queen's Hotel – on the site of today's Royal York. Jim Lovett lived into his late 90’s, dying on December 22, 1984. He is buried in Ayr cemetery.

The Bingham brothers continued their ministry throughout the First World War, preaching in summer with their father as the «Bingham Quartet». Among the few references to wartime is this note sent to Mrs. A.S. Lovett in Paris in 1916:

"I have been at the artillery camp here for a week. Leave for home next week. Here we are just passing the guard into the camp. Kindest regards to all, Lovingly, Bert"

The writer was Herbert Henry Bingham, who served as a chaplain to the Canadian Expeditionary Force – a role he resumed in the Second World War, travelling to England on behalf of the Canadian Army Chaplain Corps. The Corps’ motto was In hoc signo vinces, “In This Sign, Conquer” – the message given to Emperor Constantine before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 AD, a reminder to march under the sign of the cross. The following is a photograph of Rev. Bert Bingham during his visit to Camp Petawawa in 1916, in the back seat of car serving the Major-General for Administration (M.G.A.). Over 10,000 Canadian soldiers trained at Petawawa from 1916 to 1918:



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 Bingham’s Bay family members were also active in military roles south of the border. During the consolidation of the Mexican republic under President Alvaro Obregon,

Will Bingham served as a medical director at the Hospital Latino-Americano in Puebla, Mexico in 1923, arriving “in the last days of the revolution, while bullets were going through the windows of the top floor of the hospital and as battles continued between troops on each side of the city. He treated the wounded of this last fight of the Mexican Revolution,” which had begun in 1910. 

When Judith Lovett met her husband Gordon Converse Pearson, he was an ensign in the US Navy Volunteer Reserve stationed in Sanford, Florida. In January 1944, he was transferred to Kodiak, Alaska, remaining there for the balance of the Second World War.

Jeremy Toothe, the son of Patricia Lovett Toothe and Edward S. Toothe, later served in the US Armed Services in the Cold War era, specializing in electronics.

During the Second World War Will Bingham’s son R.B. Bingham was a captain in the US Army medical service at Camp Shelby, Mississippi before being posted to army hospitals across the Pacific theatre – from New Caledonia to the New Hebrides, from Guadalcanal and Luzon in the Philippines to the Army of Occupation in Japan. He was the first army doctor to enter Nagasaki after Special Mission 16 dropped ‘Fat Man’, an atomic weapon containing enriched Canadian uranium, on August 9, 1945. His photographs were later published in military journals.

Two Bingham’s Bay fixtures served in combat in the Second World War.

Alpheus Bingham Lovett, the son of Flora and A.S. and beloved nephew of Jim Lovett, joined the Royal Canadian Regiment as a private in 1943. After training at Camp Borden and Kingston, where he distinguished himself, Al was assigned to the Canadian Intelligence Corps. He served in England, the Netherlands and Germany. During the D-Day invasion of Normandy, Aunt Audrey had no contact with Al for three weeks. Cynthia, born during the war, did not meet him until she was three years old.

Given the nature of his work, Al was sworn to maintain “perpetual secrecy” about much of what he had seen and done. By his own account, he was wounded three times – once by shrapnel to the head (presumably deflected by a helmet); a second time by a bullet that passed through his shoulder; and thirdly by gunshot to his foot. In the last incident, his assailant was apparently a female Nazi collaborator whose lethal intent Al was able to redirect downwards. The fateful sidearm she used remained a private memento. In later years Al recounted how after one horrible day in Germany, he got off his motorcycle in the countryside, lay down on the grass, looked up at the big puffy white clouds in the sky and somehow knew he would be safely back at Lake Cecebe one day.



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 While Al’s field was intelligence, he also saw regular combat. When troops were short at the end of the war during the Canadian liberation of Holland, he was pressed into service as an infantryman. Al took part in a famous action when on April 15, 1945 the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) disobeyed orders to liberate the town of Leeuwarden in northern Holland. They met fierce Nazi resistance, but won the day. Leeuwarden’s flag, still flown by the RCD wherever they are deployed, was among Al’s treasures.




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Al Lovett arrived back in Canada in February 1946 aboard HMS Scythia, a Cunard liner that transported troops, war brides and orphans during the war. It would later bring large numbers of European refugees to Canada, including Hungarians in the late 1950s. He was among the many who found it paradoxical that those trained to take lives in wartime should be expected after the peace to return to normal civilian roles. Like all soldiers with combat experience, Al was marked by war in ways he could never fully acknowledge, relying on family, friends and his beloved lake for comfort.



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Ernest James Bingham Jr. was born on December 25, 1916. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, he was the only child of a single mother. The pull of patriotism led him to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force in September 1940. Aunt Maud was not keen, thinking the navy a more suitable choice. But Ernie had always wanted to fly.




His training took him first to Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba, then to Introductory Training School in Regina. When one of the classes before his learned they were to be bomber crew, they “trashed the place”. Ernie completed flight school at Mount Hope (Hamilton) with a solo cross-country in a Tiger Moth on January 3, 1941 after 29 hours and 10 minutes of training. He then flew the Avro Anson at Brantford and the Yale, Harvard and Fairey Battle aircraft at Picton. He qualified as a navigator at Rivers, Manitoba. From October 1941 until August 1944, he trained pilots, bombardiers and navigators while flying dozens of different models of aircraft for ferry and bomber reconnaissance squadrons. He was often the first pilot in his unit to qualify on a new aircraft. He would have fun with other pilots, allowing two to get thoroughly lost over the Rockies before informing them of their correct location. On another occasion in 1941 he was reprimanded for making an emergency landing, in a farmer’s field in Manitoba.


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Ernie Bingham was a very successful pilot. Over his RCAF career he flew 28 different aircraft types, and was fully qualified on at least a dozen. His work was part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP); by war’s end, more than 167,000 Canadian, British and other allied students had been trained in Canada, 50,000 of them as pilots. It was one of Canada’s most important wartime contributions.

Ernie served in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Rockcliffe, near Ottawa; North Sydney, Dartmouth and Debert, Nova Scotia; St Hubert, Quebec; and Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. In August 1944 he travelled by sea to England, then by air to India, where he was attached to 435 Squadron, RCAF, in Gujarat. Ernie and his squadron then trained for his transport missions at Chaklala – now the international and military airport at Islamabad, Pakistan – practicing “circuits and bumps”, glider towing, supply dropping, low level flying and para invasion exercises.

In late December 1944, Ernie joined 435 Squadron in Tulihal-Assam, in India’s northeast. Their mission was to fly military supplies, munitions, equipment and food to a British and Indian Force centred on 18 Infantry Division seeking to dislodge the Japanese from Burma. In this capacity, Ernie successfully flew 188 sorties, putting in 589 operational hours by day and 23 hours by night. His squadron saw only one major encounter with Japanese aircraft; one C47 Dakota aircraft was lost to enemy fire. Ernie is today one of the “Burma Stars” commemorated at the National Air Force Museum of Canada adjacent to 8 Wing, Canadian Forces Base Trenton.



Like so many others, Ernie did not often speak about his war experiences. He gave Jamie the middle name Kenneth in honour of one of his close friends killed by the Japanese over Burma. Ernie’s relationships with his co-pilot Harris and navigator Buck Tamblyn lasted a lifetime. There are mementoes of their R&R breaks in India at Bingham’s Bay to this day. Ernie had dreamed of being a commercial pilot, but after his military service he never flew again. He had contracted malaria in India or Burma and suffered from dysentery. His sinuses had been damaged by years of flying in non-pressurized cabins.

The trauma of war had left its mark. This shared experience forged a close bond between Ernie and Al Lovett. Ernie Bingham believed strongly in the worth of his mission and was proud to have been a key contributor to the outstanding Canadian air crews that had accomplished it. He started the war as a Leading Aircraftsman and finished as a Flight Lieutenant. The C47 Dakota, better known after the war as the DC-3, was one of the most robust and reliable aircraft ever built.



 Albert Bingham, Jack Bingham, Fred Bingham (1919-2003) and D.L. Bingham also served in the armed forces during the Second World War. Albert C. was an Air Raid Protection Warden in British Columbia, where bombing attacks were expected:


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Fred and his elder brother Jack had been excellent athletes in high school together. Both were excellent rugby players. Fred had received a serious injury playing rugby in 1939 or 1940, undergoing surgery that left a serious scar. He was declared medically unfit for active military service but served at the Boeing plant at Vancouver airport for two years. As the photographs below indicate, Jack also served in uniform during the war and was a Navy chaplain in the decades that followed:





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Eva Maud Mann Bingham (1891-1980) and her sister Edna Lillian Mann Morrow (1889-1985) were daughters of the Rev. James Wesley Mann (1853-1942). Maud was born in Dutton, Elgin County, Ontario, and later married the youngest Bingham brother. Edna married noted industrialist Frederick Keenan Morrow. After the death of Ernie Bingham Sr. in 1919, Edna ensured her husband would provide for Maud. In 1925 Fred Morrow built the cottage Jamie Bingham occupies today. Fred came to love Lake Cecebe. In the 1930s, he was a director of the Bank of Toronto and Ogilvie Flour Mills, as well as a trustee of the Canadian National Railways. In 1934, he and his brother George Morrow took over the Christie, Brown Company – the famous Toronto-based cookie maker. They also held controlling interests in many food and retail companies, including the Standard Milling and United Cigar Stores. As an associate of Industry Minister C. D. Howe, Fred Morrow played an important role in organizing Canada’s industrial and financial efforts to win the Second World War.

His daughter Mona Morrow Campbell (1919-2008) shared her father’s love for Bingham’s Bay on Lake Cecebe. In 1940 Mona married John Band, who served during the Second World War as First Lieutenant on HMCS Swansea, a Canadian frigate that helped sink three German U-boats. He also commanded HMCS Stone Town, another frigate, as a Lieutenant Commander. Mona later divorced John Band. In 1967 she married Lieutenant Colonel K. L. Campbell, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment from 1951 to 1954, including during the Korean War. (The commander of the 1st Battalion RCR in Korea was Lt-Col P. R. Bingham – no known relation to the Bingham’s Bay family.) Lt-Col Campbell also served as defence attaché at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow. Mona Campbell was one of Canada’s greatest female business leaders. She and her father Fred Morrow were benefactors of countless institutions – from Dalhousie University to St. Joseph’s Hospital and the National Ballet School in Toronto. The F. K. Morrow Foundation remains prominent. Eva, Edna and Mona are buried together with their parents in Mt Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.


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After completing her medical degree at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Dr. Gail Madell served for four years in the early 1960s as a medical officer with the rank of Flight Lieutenant at No. 1 Air Division, RCAF, in Metz France. In response to the Cold War, Canada had twelve squadrons of aircraft in Europe at this time – six in Germany and six in France. In Metz she met her future husband Bill Madell, with whom she moved to Mareeba, Australia in 1965 before returning to Orillia.


Chris Alexander was Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Afghanistan from 2003 to 2009, working with Canadian, US, British, Afghan and other NATO and non-NATO militaries to strengthen Afghan institutions, defeat the Taliban, and end Afghanistan’s conflict.



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Hedvig Alexander served as a Danish Army Captain in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan in 2002-03, later working for the UN, Peace Dividend Trust and Turquoise Mountain. She was based in Kabul from 2002 to 2009. Chris and Hedvig were married in 2008, while still working in Afghanistan.

Members of the Alexander, Bingham and MacDonald families have been candidates for elected office at the federal, provincial and local levels, including in Ryerson Township, where Bingham’s Bay is located. Chris Alexander was Member of Parliament for Ajax-Pickering (2011-15), Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for National Defence (2011-13) and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (2013-15)

Many members of the Bingham family have worked in public service – as teachers, doctors, crown attorneys and assistant deputy ministers. We are proud of their contributions – military and civilian – to a stronger Canada and a more peaceful world!



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Binghams have a long tradition of military service. Over the past century members of our Bingham’s Bay family alone have served in every major branch of military affairs – from air warden to army officer; from the intelligence corps to the medical corps; as chaplains and diplomats; from the work of building aircraft to the demands of flying them in combat; from the training camp of Petawawa to the radioactive rubble of Nagasaki; from war production to peace-making; from flying supplies to sinking subs; from the dawn of a new republic in Mexico to the launch of a new Europe in Metz. We have seen the Leeuwarden flag fly in Holland and Kabul.

Why do we serve in uniform and fight wars, when necessary? Such fundamental questions need asking: it’s even more important to have answers in which we believe. Why have we fought? Because Canada and other countries failed to keep the peace. Because dictators threatened the international order. Why do we still have an army? As the 1947 guide to Canada’s peace-time army put it, we have armed forces to ensure no other nation runs our country for us – to defend ourselves and to help others.

As the poet-divine Peregrine Bingham wrote in “The Pains of Memory, A Poem,” published in two books in London in 1811,

Deep in the centre of those echoing woods

Where Niagara rolls his thund’ring floods,

Red-gleaming on the clouds of startled night

Bursts from a gloomy grove the war-fire’s light.

Military service has been a part of the lives of those at Bingham’s Bay because there is no peace, no rule of law and no prosperity unless they are defended. In every generation there have been serious threats to global stability. War has touched us even here in this tranquil place precisely because we understand and appreciate more than most the benefits that peace has bestowed.

Keeping the peace requires diligence. As Peregrine Bingham writes in the refrain to his epic poem, there is no sense dwelling on the painful chapters of history when we know our principal duty is to give our attention to the challenges of our time:

The thoughts, the cares of man are vain,

The joys of Memory are but pain;

Ere then the moments speed their way,

Seize the present, live today!

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 Whatever view we may each take with regard to wars past and current prospects for peace, there is something in military service that brings out the best in Canada – and in Bingham’s Bay. Across the lake from us sits the Trotter cottage. The Trotters acquired a property here because of their friendship with Thomas Bingham and his family. Like him, they were staunch Baptists. At the outbreak of the First World War Bernard Freeman Trotter, finishing his degree at McMaster, was turned down for active service. In deep anguish, he wrote the following lines in June 1915 at Lake Cecebe:

Peace…. Peace…. the peace of dusky shores

And tremulous waters where dark shadows lie;

The stillness of low sounds….the ripple’s urge

Along the keel, the distant thrush’s call,

The drip of oars; the calm of dew-filled air;

The peace of afterglow; the golden peace

Of the moon’s finger laid across the flood.

Yet ah! How few brief, fleeting moments since,

The same still finger lay at Langemarck,

And touched the silent dead, and wanly moved

Across the murky fields and battle lines

Where my late Country’s bravest kept their faith.


Oh, to have died that day at Langemarck!

In one fierce moment to have paid it all—

The debt of life to Earth, and Hell and Heaven!

To have perished nobly in a noble cause!

Untarnished, unpolluted, undismayed,

By the dank world’s corruption, to have passed,

A flaming beacon-light to gods and men!


They died for Justice—Justice owes them this:

That what they died for be not overthrown.

That fall Trotter enrolled in graduate studies at the University of Toronto. By early 1916 he had been selected as one of fifty students recruited by the British War Office to join the British Army officer corps. Before the year was out, he was on the Western Front. On May 7, 1917 a shell exploded near the 26-year-old transport officer, who was on horseback. 2nd Lieutenant Bernard Freeman Trotter of the 11th Leicesters was killed instantly. His words below, written in the voice of a survivor addressing the war dead, are a fitting tribute to all who served:


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We shall grow old, and tainted with the rotten

Effluvia of the peace we fought to win,

The bright deeds of our youth will be forgotten,

Effaced by later failure, sloth, or sin;

But you have conquered Time, and sleep forever,

Like gods, with a white halo on your brows –

Your souls our lode-stars, your death crowned endeavour

The spur that holds the nations to their vows.

Chris Alexander

August 11, 2016

Bingham’s Bay



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Photos from Kabul in 2005: (i) Canadian Embassy security detail at Tajbeg palace; (ii) transfer of Canadian Task Force Kabul command from Col Jim Ellis to Col Walter Semianiw; (iii) Canada's Camp Julien in front of the ruined Darulaman Palace.


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Acknowledgements, Sources and Suggested Further Reading

My deep gratitude goes to Janet Varsava and Jamie Bingham for their guidance, input, enthusiasm and comments. Other members of the Lovett, Bingham, Alexander and Madell families also provided invaluable perspectives for which I am grateful. My thanks go to all members of the Bingham's Bay family for their anecdotes, stories, recollections and insights. This story (and its telling) are not over.

Many facts about Bingham's Bay family members in the military were drawn from «The Binghams 1848-1980,» a typewritten family history prepared for the Lake Cecebe Reunion, August 2-4, 1980, as well as undated type-and hand-written notes from Albert Carey Bingham and Alpheus Lovett.

The story of Ernie Bingham Jr's wartime service as a pilot is based on thirteen pages of typewritten notes from Barbara and James Bingham dated August 1, 2016. They in turn are drawn from the original logbook of F/L Ernest James Bingham Jr. (1916-1977).

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography lists seventeen British persons with the surname Bingham – most of whom are named in this article.

Information on the geographic concentration of the Bingham name in the UK and on prominent US Binghams comes from online British census records and wikipedia.

The details of Lieutenant-Colonel James Henry Lovett's Military Cross can be found at and the attestation paper upon his enlistment in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force is at

The squadron histories of 435 and 436 squadrons, RCAF, are entitled Determined on Delivery and Canucks Unlimited. There is also a limited edition history of 435 squadron's experience in Burma entitled Chinthe.

Robert H. Farquarson's For Your Tomorrow (Victoria, 2004) covers Canadian involvement in the Burma Campaign, 1941-45. A recent account of the overall campaign is Frank McLynn's The Burma Campaign: Disaster Into Triumph, 1942-45 (London, 2010).

The liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian units in 1944-45 is covered at and

Lt Col. K. L. Campbell gave his «Summary of Experiences, Korean Campaign,» on 25 March 1954.

The Long Way Back: Afghanistan's Quest for Peace (HarperCollins, 2011) by Chris Alexander covers the mission in Afghanistan, 2001-11.

Pains of Memory, A Poem, in Two Books by Peregrine Bingham was published in London by Richard Taylor and company, in 1811.

«The Officer and Fighting Efficiency (Extracted from Army Training Memoranda) dated 1940, which superseded «The Officer and His Job», was reprinted in Canada in August, 1942 by permission of the Controller, His Majesty's Stationary Office.

«Canada's New Army: Facts About the Peace-Time Army. For the Information of Veterans and Young Canadians Everywhere.» was issued by Army Headquarters, Ottawa, on March 11, 1947.

A Canadian Twilight and Other Poems of War and of Peace by Bernard Freeman Trotter was published posthumously in Toronto by Macdonald, Goodchild & Stewart in 1917.

Under the 'Peace and War in the 20th Century' rubric on the McMaster University website, there is a very thoughtful account of Trotter's life entitled «McMaster University's Own Soldier Poet» at




From: Janet Varsava

To: All

Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 6:43 PM

Subject: Binghams in War and Peace


Dear Descendent,

Here's the second in the series of the PDF Bingham History Package.

Your 110th Bingham Reunion History Committee wished to make available detailed information on the Binghams' contribution to Canada's military. It's important to understand the sacrifice and gift of freedom & prosperity we all enjoy today.

Thanks Chris for lending us your expertise, for your excellent presentation and further research on Binghams in the Military. We all really appreciate it!

Please find attached "Binghams in War & Peace" by Chris Alexander!