Artillery in Canada (11) Yukon Territory, (12) Northwest Territories, and (13) Nunavut
Artillery in Canada, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territory and Nunavut
The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document every historical piece of artillery preserved in Canada. Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these guns to provide and update the data found on these web pages. Photos are by the author unless otherwise credited. Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Guns and Artillery in Canada would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at email@example.com.
For all official data concerning the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, please click on the link to their website:
Note: Back in the day, artillery in Canada was referred to by its radio call sign "Sheldrake". It is now referred to by its "Golf" call sign. (Acorn sends)
(Sandy Watson Photos)
German First World War 15-cm schwere Feldhaubitze 1902 (15-cm sFH 02), (Serial Nr. 1169). This gun was captured on 8 Aug 1918 by the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), near Aubercourt, France. The gun is No. 1 of 2 Guns in front of the cenotaph at Victory Gardens.
(Sandy Watson Photos)
German First World War 10.5-cm leichtes Feldhaubitze 16 (10.5-cm leFH 16), (Serial Nr. 6562), no data. The gun is apparently equipped with the shield from an sFH13. This weapon was likely captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in a Canadian Division with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France. The gun is No. 2 of 2 Guns in front of the cenotaph at Victory Gardens.
German First World War 7.92-mm Maxim Spandau MG 08/15 Machinegun, (Serial Nr. 4218), 1917. This weapon was captured by the 31st Battalion (Alberta), 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in France. The MG 08/15 machine gun was originally allocated to Dawson City, Yukon. Oshawa, Ontario also claims to have one with this serial number.
German First World War 7.92-mm Maxim Spandau MG 08 Machinegun (Serial Nr. TBC). This weapon was likely captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in a Canadian Division with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France.
7-pounder Steel Mk. IV 200 lb Rifled Muzzleloader Gun,(Serial No. 1372), or (Serial No. 350) mounted on a field carriage, reported to be on display here. According to “The Arms and Acoutrements of the Mounted Police”, there were originally six bronze guns for the Red River Expedition. Four stayed in Winnipeg after the rebellion and went to the NWMP. Two went back east for a while and then went to the Yukon Field Force. The NWMP was issued two new steel guns after the 1885 Rebellion. Four steel guns were acquired from British stores when the Canadian government took over Halifax in 1905 - the CWM has one, and the other three are in Halifax. The bronze guns were conversions from the 3-pr smoothbore, while the steel guns were designed from scratch. All 7-pounders used the same projectile but different charges. They were the same 3-inch calibre as the 9-pounder, but could not interchange projectiles (except for case shot) because the studs on the projectiles were different. Designation source is "Treatise on the Manufacture of Guns and Textbook of Service Ordnance, Third Edition, 1886". It actually notes that our six bronze guns were sent here for the Red River Expedition. (Doug Knight)
German First World War 7.7-cm Feldkanone 16 (7.7-cm FK 16) Field Gun (Serial Nr. 7414). This gun was captured on 27 Sep 1918 by the 102nd Battalion (Central Ontario), 11th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), West of Bourlon Wood, during the battle of Canal du Nord, France. The gun was originally allocated to Dawson City. This gun is located 13 km SE of Whitehorse at the Cadet Camp by Mary Lake. (Photos courtesy of LCol Bruce Kiecker)
(LCol Bruce Kiercker Photos)
German First World War 17-cm mittlerer Minenwerfer (17-cm mMW), Medium Trench Mortar (Serial Nr. 5270). This medium trench mortar was captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France. It was originally allocated to White Horse. This trench mortar is located 13 km SE of Whitehorse at the Cadet Camp by Mary Lake.
(Al Schoepp Photo)
Cast Iron 12-pounder 6-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Carronade with Blomefield-pattern breeching ring, weight >600lbs. This Hudson’s Bay Company gun is mounted on a wood naval gun carriage. It was placed here in the early 1900s and is chained to a rock on the East coast of Baffin Island. The Carronade is a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, which was used by the Royal Navy and first produced by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland. It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s. Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon. While considered very successful early on, Carronades eventually disappeared as rifled naval artillery changed the shape of the shell and led to fewer and fewer close-range engagements.
(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4731784)
12-pounder 6-cwt SBML, Pangnirtung, Nunavut, 1960.
Queen Maud Gulf
Bronze 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, No. 1, on the wreck of HMS Erebus, lost during the Franklin Expedition.
Bronze 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, No. 2, on the wreck of HMS Erebus, lost during the Franklin Expedition.
HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales in 1826. The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus. The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars, - one 13-in (330-mm) and one 10-in (250-mm), and ten guns. The ship was abandoned during the Franklin Expedition in 1848 and rediscovered in a submerged state in September 2014 after a long search.
HMS Terror, the other ship that was travelling with Erebus when it sank, has not yet been found but may also have had two SBML guns. Franklin was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who departed England in 1845, looking to traverse the last uncharted sections of the Northwest Passage. The two ships became icebound and all 128 aboard were lost. A number of missions had tried to locate the wrecks, with the first setting out in 1848. Since 2008, Parks Canada has lead six major searches. On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut's Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island. The wreck was discovered 92 km (57 mi) south of the location where the ship was reported abandoned, and some 50 km (31 mi) from the wreck of HMS Erebus, discovered in 2014.
HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, August 1841, painting by John Wilson Carmichael.
Congreve Rocket replica, Leipzig, Germany. (Author Photo)
During a recent visit to Germany I discovered a reproduction Congreve Rocket on display in the Leipzig Museum, located beside the massive monument to the coalition victory over Napoleon in 1913. The Congreve rocket was a British military weapon designed and developed by Sir William Congreve in 1804, based directly on Mysorean rockets found in India. The main user of Congreve rockets during the Napoleonic Wars was the Royal Navy, and men from the Royal Marine Artillery became experts in their use. The navy converted HMS Galgo and HMS Erebus into rocket ships. This is one of the rockets connection to Canada, with the recent discovery of HMS Erebus. The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars, including one 13-inch (330-mm) and one 10-inch (250-mm) mortar and 10 guns. The ship took part in the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843. It was abandoned during the Franklin Expedition in 1848 and rediscovered in a submerged state in September 2014 after a long search.
Two battalions of Royal Marines were sent to North America in 1813. Attached to each battalion was a rocket detachment, each with an establishment of 25 men, commanded by lieutenants Balchild and John Harvey Stevens. Both rocket detachments were embarked aboard the transport vessel Mariner. Rockets were used in the engagements at Fort Oswego, and at Lundy's Lane in Ontario.
A third battalion of Royal Marines arrived in North America in 1814, with an attached rocket detachment commanded by Lieutenant John Lawrence, which subsequently participated in the Chesapeake campaign. During this campaign, the British used rockets at the Battle of Bladensburg to rout the militia (which led to the burning and surrender of Washington, D.C.), and at the Battle of North Point.
HMS Erebus or HMS Terror.
It was the use of ship-launched Congreve rockets by the British in the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the US in 1814 that inspired the fifth line of the first verse of the United States' National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner": "and the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air". HMS Erebus fired the rockets from a 32-pound rocket battery installed below the main deck, which fired through portholes or scuttles pierced in the ship's side.
Also in Canada, rockets were used by the British at the Second Battle of Lacolle Mills, on 30 March 1814. Rockets fired by a detachment of the Royal Marine Artillery, though inaccurate, unnerved the attacking American forces, and contributed to the defence of the blockhouse and mill. Rockets were used again at the Battle of Cook's Mills, on 19 October 1814. An American force, sent to destroy General Gordon Drummond's source of flour, was challenged by a contingent of infantry which was supported by a light field cannon and a frame of Congreve rockets. The rockets succeeded in discouraging the Americans from forming lines on the battlefield.
Captain Henry Lane's 1st Rocket Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery embarked at the end of 1814 in the transport vessel Mary with 40 artillerymen and 500 rockets and disembarked near New Orleans. Lieutenant Lawrence's rocket detachment took part in the final land engagement of the War of 1812 at Fort Bowyer in February 1815.
...and for an interesting ending, a retired Canadian Gunner advised that Canadian Honest John Rocket Batteries wore black scarfs with their combat clothing - the Congreve rocket detachments wore black stocks on their uniforms.
762-mm M31/M50 Honest John Rocket with M33 launcher trailer set-up and in operation in Canada the early 1950s. (Library and Archives Canada Photos MIKAN Nos. 4235079)
I would imagine that many of you who are reading this book are very likely familiar with the standard routine of military training exercises and the rigours of being in the field in all seasons, not to mention the conditions found on deployment these days. Whether or not you have experienced it, I am sure you can well imagine what it is like to train and work in the heat, the dust and the mosquitoes in summer, the wind, the rain and the mud in the spring and fall, the snow and the cold in the winter and of course the routine day-to-day challenges of combat exercises in the training areas of the Canadian Forces. For most in the Army, this includes CFB Gagetown, CFB Valcartier, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Shilo, CFB Edmonton, CFB Wainwright, CFB Suffield and all the fields and exercise areas of LFAATC Aldershot and LFCATC Meaford and their environs.
As an Army Officer in the Canadian Forces, it has been my privilege to have served alongside a tremendous number of highly professional military men and women of our nation while taking part in training in Germany, the UK and the USA and while on operational deployments to Cyprus, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Afghanistan. During my training and military professional development, I have learned much about our long military history. My interest in our multi-faceted historical record has led me to write about it and to seek out the stories about Canada's military servicemen and women and the tools and equipment they used to preserve our security when warclouds darkened our horizons.
As a military history enthusiast, I have learned over the years that there are many with similar interests in preserving our story. We have all seen the odd old gun or retired tank placed on display outside a Militia Drill Hall, War Memorial, city park site or Royal Canadian Legion Hall, and many will have enjoyed visiting a number of our military Museums. The vast majority of retired wartime combat equipment used by members of the CF have dwindled in number, many being scrapped, others being shot up as targets, while a few have been sold to overseas operators and collectors. Fortunately, a handful of important examples of retired CF guns and war machines have been preserved and may be found in a wide variety of locations throughout Canada.
Curators, docents and volunteers working in Canada's military museums have been successful in preserving a good number of retired military weapons of war and many are still being sought after and in some cases, being restored to running condition again. As an artist, photographer and military history enthusiast, I have attempted to keep track of where historic Canadian military equipment has survived and is presently located and to make that information available to others with the same interest. For those of like mind, the purpose of this handbook is to provide a simple checklist of the classic Great War and WWII artillery that is part of our military heritage and a location guide to where they can be found in Canada. The book includes a number of photographs to illustrate an example of each gun wherever possible, and lists the locations of the survivors by province.
The numbers of restored Canadian guns is actually increasing as a few rare examples are being recovered from scrapyards and monument sites and salvaged for restoration. (Ultra rare items such as Skink AA gun turrets come to mind). One of the aims of this book is to help an enthusiast track down these monuments and museum artefacts and to have a simple reference book on hand with more detailed information about them such as a serial number, a Museum location and contact information which might be helpful in learning a bit of the history of a particular vehicle. The guns detailed in this handbook are listed alphabetically by manufacturer, number and type in the order that they came into service with the CF. The data is also appended with a list of most of the current guns found in the various collections and Museums in Canada. The book is also meant to serve as a companion volume to "Ironsides", Canadian Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicle Museums and Monuments, also available online.
It is my sincere hope that more of the guns and artillery found in this list will one day be added to the record of historically important military armament survivors that have been recovered and restored.
Shelldrake can be ordered online in softcover or e-book at these bookstores:
Photos and technical data on artillery preserved in Canada may be viewed by Province on separate pages on this website.