Last week we talked a bit about the history of the Community Field on Concession Street. In the early days, performances would be held there and large platforms would be brought out for stages and dancing. Although no photos seem to exist of these platforms, at least to my knowledge, last week we looked at a few pictures of sports days, school events, etc. on the premises of what is now known as Lockwood Memorial Field.
But who was the “Lockwood” that this field is named for?
To sum it up in just a few words, Dr. Ambrose Lockwood was a war hero.
Dr. Lockwood made his way to The Front during the early days of WWI where he soon discovered that patients brought into the clearing stations with lung injuries were being shuffled off to wards to die. At the time it was felt that beds and nursing care needed to be reserved for those with injuries that could be treated and had at least some hopes of survival. Hope didn’t exist for those whose lungs were damaged by shrapnel or gunshot wounds.
Unable to perform operations that he knew would save the lives of hundreds (or thousands) of men, as families could not be reached in time to get permission to perform a risky and unheard of surgery, Dr. Lockwood’s hands were tied…
…until a soldier entered the clearing station who, as fate would have it, was a relative of one of the higher-ups that was present at the hospital. Knowing that there was a chance to save the young man’s life, Dr. Lockwood was finally granted the permission needed from a family member and performed the lung surgery. This young soldier survived the war, as did countless others that were brought out from the back wards of the hospitals and given the life-saving surgery that Dr. Ambrose Lockwood had wanted to perform since the onset of The Great War.
So the next time you are strolling through Lockwood Field, think of the story of a local hero that gave so many young soldiers the chance to return home to their families after a devastating injury that would have otherwise ended their life.
Dr. Ambrose Lockwood was born in 1888 and grew up in the home and store owned by his father, Hiram, on the corner of Main and Bedford Streets.
An athletic youth, Ambrose Lockwood played baseball and hockey in the village, which makes it so fitting that Lockwood Field has hosted so many tournaments and games over the years.
Awards kept piling up as Dr. Lockwood continued his field work at the hospitals overseas during The Great War. He would return from the war front and open The Lockwood Clinic in Toronto, which is still in existence today.