Roll Call, Friends of the New Brunswick Military History Museum Newsletter




Volume 8, Issue 1                                                                           Spring 2022 

Roll Call is published four times a year: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

Submissions or comments can be sent to the Editor, Brent Wilson, at:

For details on joining the Friends, please contact the Museum at 506-422-1304or email us at:

Friends of the New Brunswick Military History Museum


President-Brian MacDonald

Vice-President- Harold Skaarup

Secretary- Greg Fekner

Treasurer-Larry Foreman


Paul Belliveau

Gary Campbell

Robert Dallison

Brent Wilson

Harold Wright

The Revitalization of the NBMHM

by Captain David C. Hughes

I feel extremely lucky to be writing this article for the newsletter as the current Director/Museum Officer of the New Brunswick Military History Museum (NBMHM). For me this is a dream job, and I am excited to be leading the charge on the revitalization of the museum.

In April 2021, the commander of 5 CDSG, Colonel Dwayne Parsons, asked me to take over the museum as he knew that the previous Executive Director would be resigning. I said yes, of course, and immediately started work on bringing the NBMHM back to its former glory after many years of neglect. I am fortunate to have the support and advice of the executive of the Friends of the NBMHM. As we work together to make the NBMHM the true Centre of Excellence for all things related to New Brunswick military history, we are setting ambitious goals, creating new partnerships and opportunities, and bringing the rich military history of our province and its people to an even bigger audience every day.

Some aspects of the revitalization of the museum have already begun. In 2021, we developed the Class Visits Program, which will allow a teacher to either bring their students into the museum or for museum staff to “beam in” to the classroom via MS Teams. Participants from grade levels K to 12 will receive grade level appropriate learning from costumed interpreters that covers a variety of topics relating to the military history of the province over the centuries. The program was developed using the current New Brunswick Schools Curriculum Outcomes as a guide. So far, Anglophone School District West is on board. The COVID situation and current staffing shortages, however, forced us to put the program on hold until the new school year and we hope to begin delivering it to students starting in September 2022. Aswe move forward the goal is to make this program available to all school districts in the province, and to have it available in both English and French.

The weapons vault at the NBMHM was bursting at the seams with our vast collection of weapons. Rather than have them locked up and out of sight we are developing many new weapons displays at the museum where visitors can see an example of all the small arms used by the military in New Brunswick from the 1700’s to the present day. We also have a great collection of the weapons of our allies and adversaries.

We are developing Army, Navy, and Air Force “Profiles” galleries that will tell the stories of individual New Brunswickers who have served in those three arms of service. Also, we are creating The Royal New Brunswick Regiment Gallery. The story of the RNBR goes back over 250 years and touches almost every aspect of New Brunswick’s military history.

Colour of the 71st York Regiment which is perpetuated by the RNBR.    

This gallery will be a miniature timeline but will be specific to the antecedent regiments of the RNBR. It will provide a proper home to the RNBR History Collection which was accessioned to the NBMHM by the Regiment a couple of years ago.

The “Feature Exhibit” plan has been put in place and has been very successful so far. Each Feature Exhibit highlights a particular aspect of the military history of the province. The exhibit is displayed in our front foyer for approximately a month at a time. We continue to receive donations and loans of artifacts from other museums, veterans’ groups, and private collectors. We are very grateful for all these items, and they are helping us to present fantastic stories of New Brunswick’s military history in an exciting and meaningful way.

Part of the overall plan for the museum was to also revitalize our social media presence. Our Facebook page has gone from about 500 page likes to over 2,400 page likes and over 2,500 followers. Posts are going up on the page almost daily and each month we are producing a video on the Feature Exhibit.

In the next few months, we will begin our “spring offensive” on our outdoor vehicle and field gun displays. Many of the monument vehicles and guns need restoration, a coat of paint, and some TLC. We will soon be putting the team together to make this happen so that visitors can stroll the museum grounds, and elsewhere on Base Gagetown, and see fine, properly maintained fighting vehicles, guns, and support vehicles from our history. I could go on and on about what we have going on at the NBMMHM but I will end here and advise the reader to check out our Facebook page at NBMHM-MHMNB, and visit the museum in person. We are currently open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and will be expanding our hours into the weekends and holidays starting in the summer.

Captain David C. Hughes, CD, is Executive Director of the New Brunswick Military History Museum. He is a 38-year veteran of the CAF. He and his wife, Geraldine Mazerolle, have two beautiful daughters, Sara, 16, and Emma, 13.

The NBMHM’s Russian T-72 Main Battle Tank

by Harold Skaarup

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Many of us are watching the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Both sides are using upgraded versions and variants of the Soviet-designed T-72 main battle tank that entered production in 1970. It was the most common tank deployed by the Soviet Army from the 1970s to the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has been widely exported and is used by more than 40 countries. In the 1970s, four that had been in service with the former East German Army came to CFB Gagetown (now 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown).

The tanks were initially used as Opposition Force (OPFOR) trainers and provided realistic training for our combined arms forces participating in live training on base. Due to international agreements related to the Arms Verification Program, three were eventually turned into targets on the Gagetown ranges and one came to the NBMHM. The Armour School has assisted with keeping the T-72 in a presentable state.

Built in the former Soviet Union, the T-72 has been equipped with laser rangefinders since 1978. It is armed with a125-mm 2A46 series main gun and is capable of firing anti-tank guided missiles, as well as standard main gun ammunition, including High-explosive anti-tank(HEAT) and armour- piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds. The125-mm main gun of the T-72 has a mean error of one metre (39 inches)at a range of 1,800 m (2,000yd). Its maximum firing distance is 9,100m (10,000 yd), due to limited positive elevation. The limit of aimed fire is 4,000 m (4,400 yd) (with the gun-launched anti-tank guided missile, which is rarely used outside the former USSR). The T-72’s main gun is fitted with an integral pressure reserve drum, which assists in rapid smoke evacuation from the bore after firing. The 125-mm gun barrel is certified strong enough to ram the tank through forty centimetres of iron-reinforced brick wall, though doing so will negatively affect the gun’s accuracy when subsequently fired.

The museum staff have occasionally opened the T-72 to visitors under close-supervision. This provides troops and visitors the opportunity to experience the interior of the tank and to get the real feel of being inside one. Most people are surprised to discover how compact the interior is, with the driver essentially operating the tank in a horizontal position. In July, 2021, Bob Dallison brought the Garrison Club history enthusiasts to examine the museum’s armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) collection and with the aid of a ladder, many of them took the opportunity to check out the T-72 and other vehicles on display. We will be opening other AFVs in the collection at future events and hope you will join us.

Major (Retired) Harold Skaarup, BFA, MA, CD, served as a Canadian Forces Intelligence Officer, retiring in 2011. He earned his Master’s degree in War Studies through RMC and is the Vice-president of the Friends of the NBMHM (and President of the York Sunbury Historical Society).

New Brunswick and the Trent Affair of 1861

by Gary Campbell

The outbreak of the American Civil War in April 1861 led to rising tensions between Great Britain and the United States. Diplomatic antagonism reached fever pitch in November 1861 after the USS Jacinto, a US Navy warship, illegally intercepted the British mail packet RMS Trent on the high seas and removed two Confederate envoys, one of whom was bound for England. While the American public delighted in the twisting of the lion’s tail, the British public was outraged. War seemed to be the likely outcome. In order to help defend British North America, a large-scale reinforcement was quickly planned. As the St. Lawrence River was closed due to ice, the troops destined for the Canadas would land in Saint John, New Brunswick and move by sleigh over the Grand Communications Route toRiviere du Loup for onwards travel by rail. By the time the deployment was over, 11,500troops had been sent to British North America of which 6,818had passed through New Brunswick to the Canadas.

British reinforcements travelling through New Brunswick in early 1862.

A great deal of planning went into this deployment. The horror of the Crimean winter of 1854/55 was still fresh in British minds. Medical experts, such as Florence Nightingale, and experienced logisticians were all consulted. However, speed was the essence. The first ship loaded with troops, equipment, and stores sailed by 7 December. A total of 16 ships were chartered, some of which made more than one voyage. The overland route was ready by the end of December and the first troops left Saint John by sleigh on 1 January 1862.

The route was divided into ten stages of about 30 miles each. Where suitable accommodations were not available, temporary camps were built such as the one at Petersville, New Brunswick. Detachments of the Military Train, Army Hospital Corps, and Commissariat Staff Corps were located at each of the staging stops. The movement of troops was regulated by telegraph.

Local contractors provided the open sleighs. The careful preplanning minimized the number of cold weather injuries. Desertion was a constant concern, and nine soldiers were lured away by American “crimps” as they travelled through New Brunswick. Fortunately, the diplomatic crisis had been resolved by late December and the Southern Commissioners had been released. This meant that the anticipated interference by American troops did not occur. This also resulted in the scaling back of the number of reinforcements.

British reinforcements arriving at Camp Petersville.

By 13 March 1862, six battalions of infantry, three field artillery and six garrison artillery batteries, two companies of engineers, two battalions of the Military Train, and detachments of the Army Hospital Corps and Commissariat Staff Corps had passed along the route.

This included the guns and equipment of the field batteries and a quantity of military stores.

The existing garrison in British North America had been reinforced by four battalions of infantry, two batteries of garrison artillery, and three field artillery batteries earlier in 1861.Four battalions of infantry, two batteries of field artillery and two of garrison artillery were added to Nova Scotia Command during the Trent Affair. This was a substantial reinforcement. Because of the relaxation in tensions, some of the troops began returning to England as soon as the summer of 1862. Those that remained, along with the militia they had trained, helped to defend British North American against the Fenian Raids four years later. The camp at Petersville is still in use.

Gary Campbell, PhD, is a retired Canadian Army Logistics officer. He has a special interest in logistics history, especially where it involves transportation. His articles on this subject have been published in several journals, both in Canada and abroad.



 Volume 8, Issue 2                                                                      Summer 2022

Museum Prepares for Summer

by David C. Hughes

It has been a busy few months here at the NBMHM as we get ready for the summer season.

Since the last Friends of the NBMHM Newsletter we have been fortunate to have brought on board four soldiers from the Return to Duty program and from the Base Training List. Even though their time at the museum is limited their work here is very much appreciated. In addition, the NBMHM has been given funding to hire a summer student who will fill the role of Researcher and Guide for the month of July.

On 9 May I started in my new civilian role at the Museum as the Executive Director. I would like to extend my thanks to all the Friends who have given me advice, guidance, and support over the past year while I was serving as the Acting Director/Museum Officer. Getting the job as Executive Director of the NBMHM is truly a dream come true for me and I am excited about the immense potential of the museum and look forward to starting on new projects.

Part of preparing for the summer season is the plan to get our collection of tracked vehicles, wheeled vehicles, and field guns out of the parking lot where they are currently being stored, and back out around the museum grounds where they can be more properly displayed and more easily viewed by visitors to the museum.

They were taken off the grass due to an oil leak from one of the vehicles and the environmental concerns it posed. Before the vehicle collection can be put back in its proper place the vehicles will need to be drained of all POL (petroleum, oil, and lubricants) and then properly sealed to prevent future problems. Then, there is then the issue of creating a means of getting the vehicles onto rubber, crushed rock, or concrete pads around the museum to prevent them from sinking up to their axles in the mud. At the same time as we face those challenges most of the vehicles in the collection need a coat of paint and some TLC. This is a big project that will require the suppor tof many different units and entities on Base Gagetown, as well as the help of volunteers.

We have also started the process of bringing back the NBMHM gift shop. In partnership with the CANEX the gift shop will be up and running this summer. We’re planning to have books, model kits, replica badges, T-shirts, and other items, all with a New Brunswick military history flavour.

Now that the Executive Director of the NBMHM has been hired, job ads for the Curator and a Museum Assistant will be running soon. We are looking forward to expanding the team and bringing in people in these two new full-time positions. The extra “horsepower” is definitely needed as we have many challenges ahead to bring our wonderful NBMHM closer to its full potential. I hope to see you all this summer at the museum!

David C Hughes ,CD is Executive Director of the NBMHM.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Ferret Scout Car Mk 1, CFR 54-82608.  NBMHM Vehicle Park. Ferret armoured Scout car was designed by the British for reconnaissance purpose and was produced between 1952 and 1971.  It was built from an all-welded monocoque steel body, making the vehicle lower but also making the drive extremely noisy inside as all the running gear was within the enclosed body with the crew.  Four-wheel drive was incorporated together with “Run flat” tires (which kept their shape even if punctured in battle thus enabling a vehicle to drive to safety).  The Canadian Army had 124 in service from 1954 to 1981, serving with the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s), and C Squadron, The Royal Canadian Dragoons, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and 5th Canadian Division Training Centre at CFB Gagetown until they were replaced by the Lynx tracked reconnaissance vehicles.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

M548A1 Carrier, Cargo, Full Tracked with winch, CFR 35479, 49E.  Museum Vehicle Park. The M548 is an un-armoured tracked cargo carrier equipped with a rear cargo bed based on the M113 APC chassis. They have been used at CFB Gagetown by the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, 4th Artillery Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, and the 5th Canadian Division Training Centre.

 Farley Mowat and Canada’s War Trophy Collection

by Harold Skaarup 

In 1973, I was an Officer Cadet serving in the Militia and was posted to CFB Shilo, Manitoba, to take part in Phase 1 of the Reserve Officer University Training Plan (ROUTP), graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant on completion of the program. I had the opportunity to explore and examine many of the artillery pieces then on display in the RCA Museum’s collection and photographed them for future reference. This is a story about one of the AFVs that was in the collection.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

The museum had a 7.5-cm StuG 40 (L-43) Assault Gun mounted on a Mk. III tank chassis, which was on display at the RCA Museum at that time. According to documentation compiled May- October 1945 and filed by Captain Farley Mowat with the Historical Section in Ottawa, registered in the Archives 10 September 1946, this vehicle is identified as Item 4 on page 12. This “specimen had been assigned to the defence of Amsterdam but did not come into action there. It was recovered from the Germans after their surrender, by the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada." This vehicle was in running order when it was shipped to Canada.

I spoke at length with Captain (Retired) Farley Mowat, the well-known Canadian author of many books, including And No Birds Sang and The Regiment, about the collection that had been assembled in 1945 by the 1st Canadian Army Collection Team, and, with the great assistance of the staff at the Canadian War Museum (CWM), they managed to track down his record compiled in 1946. I used it extensively in the compilation of my book, Canadian War Trophies, and managed to get a copy into Farley’s hands shortly before he passed away in 2014.

The story didn’t end there. This StuG III was one of three located at CFB Shilo through the 1970s. It was loaned to a museum in Calgary, but later sold to an American collector who restored it to running condition using an engine from a firetruck. It was later shipped to England. Late one night I received a phone call from David Ridd, who had a restoration team in the UK, asking if I could confirm this was the StuG III Captain Mowat had brought to Canada. They had stripped the AFV down and had the serial numbers of the gun and hull. I was able to match them with Farley’s record.

(David Ridd Photo)

The StuG III underwent a major overhaul and restoration in England by David’s team for a museum in Belgium.

(David Ridd Photo)

The restored StuG III in the UK has made an appearance in at least three different movies to date. A second German Sturmgeschütz 40 Ausf G Assault Gun had been out on the range and is now in the CWM. A third may have been used as a location marker on the range, identity unknown. It appears to have gone back to Germany in exchange for a German Jagdpanzer Kanone90-mm Tank Destroyer, now with the RCA Museum.

The 14th Field Ambulance

by Dr. Paul E. Belliveau

The 14th Field Ambulance has the distinction of being the first unit of the Canadian Army Medical Corps created in New Brunswick. It was authorized by General Order 11/06 as a militia unit on 26 January 1906, and was headquartered in Saint John, N.B. After mobilization for service in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1914, it sailed from the port city for Camp Shorncliffe, England. There, it provided medical services to Canadian soldiers until February 1917, when it was re- organized for field duty under the command of Lieutenant- Colonel G. G. Corbet from Saint John. The unit was officially attached to the 15thInfantry Brigade, 5th Canadian Division. When the 5thDivision was broken up in the spring of 1918, the ambulance was held in reserve until required at the front. It was finally called up and arrived in France on 6 June 1918, where it provided medical services to Canadian troops until the end of the First World War. After the Armistice, the 14thField Ambulance was demobilized in Toronto on 15 June 1919.

Back in Saint John, Lt.-Col. Corbet lobbied to have the 14th Field Ambulance reactivated in his hometown as a Militia Medical Unit. On 1 April 1920, the proposal was approved, and he was appointed Officer Commanding. For the next two years, Corbet and a few other officers spent their time on administrative and recruitment duties. The ambulance did not actually begin unit training until 1923. Like all other militia units across the country between the two world wars, it was drastically under strength and training was very sporadic.

(New Brunswick Military History Museum Collection, Harold Skaarup Photos)

The badge of the RCAMC consists of the rod of Asclepius (a serpent entwined around a staff) surrounded by a wreath of maple leaves, surmounted by the Royal Crown, with the name "Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps" on a scroll below. There are two versions of RCAMC badges. The snake faces to the left for male staff (King's crown), and to the right (Queen's crown) for female staff.

On the declaration of the Second World War in September 1939, it was found that the 14th Field Ambulance could not be brought up to strength due to the lack of available medically trained individuals and competition with other Saint John units for non- medical personnel. Army Headquarters therefore decided to move the unit to Moncton where the recruiting base appeared more lucrative.

The 14th Field Ambulance was officially mobilized as an active military unit in July 1940 and Lt.-Col. George A. Lyons, MD, was appointed Commanding Officer. In November, it moved its headquarters from Moncton to Camp Sussex and initiated basic training with a full complement of250 all ranks. In addition to Dr. Lyons, the other original medical officers were Drs. Paul Melanson, R. B. Eaton, F. J. Desmond, H. M. MacLean, and J. Arthur Melanson, all from the Moncton area. They were soon joined by other local physicians, surgeons, and dentists, including Drs. E. S. Stiles, A. L. Richardson, L. C. Lindley, J. G. McCarroll, Kelly  MacLean, Len H. Reid, and Raoul Landry.

The 14th Field Ambulance in England in 1943. Front row: Unidentified, Drs. K. MacLean, P. Melanson, L. Reid, and R. Landry. Back row: Drs. A. Melanson, F. Desmond, E. Stiles, A. Richardson, and R. Eaton.           

One year after mobilization, on 31 July 1941, the 14thField Ambulance sailed for England and landed in Liverpool on 19 August. The unit soon settled in the Aldershot area for more advance and collective training. One section of the unit, however, was selected to provide medical support to Force III which raided Spitsbergen on 25 August 1941. Meanwhile, back in England, Dr. MacLean’s A Company took up quarters at the summer mansion of a wealthy English aristocrat while Dr. Lyons, headquarters, and Dr. Richardson’s B Company were billeted in more conventional quarters near West Grindstead.

Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. Joseph Tanzman, OBE, Canadian Army Medical Corps. Born in Warsaw, Poland, Dr. Tanzman studied medicine at McGill University in    Montreal, graduating in 1927. By 1930, he was in medical    practice in Saint John. During the Second World War, Dr. Tanzman served overseas as the Commanding Officer of the 14th Field Ambulance. He was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for    his war service. After the war Dr. Tanzman returned to Saint John and his medical practice. He died in 1981.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397098)

Personnel of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) loading a casualty into a Willys MB ambulance jeep, and a Ram Kangaroo APC in the background, Sonsbeck, Germany, 6 March 1945.

From the time the 14th Field Ambulance landed in England until D-Day, the unit participated in numerous military exercises in various parts of Great Britain, including a full-scale amphibious invasion of the Isle of Man. On 6 June 1944, the 14th Field Ambulance, which was attached to the 7th Canadian Infantry Brigade, 3rdCanadian Division, landed on the beaches of Normandy and by 1100 hours, the unit had established a dressing station at Banville-sur-Mer. As the assault battalions continued to push inland, the 14th Field Ambulance followed, gathering the wounded, and evacuating them to their mobile dressing stations located close behind the advancing line. The unit continued providing medical services to the 3rdCanadian Division through Caen, Falaise, Calais, Reichwald Forest, and Nijmegen, and was ultimately stationed at Aurich in Germany at war’s end. Higher headquarters selected the 14thField Ambulance as the medical unit to accompany the “Berlin Brigade,” which was intended to march on to Berlin; however, this order was later cancelled.

Following the cessation of hostilities in 1945, many members of the14th Field Ambulance were immediately repatriated back to Canada, while others were only released gradually as they were still needed in the military hospitals of occupied Europe. The last commanding officer of the unit in Europe was Dr. Joseph Tanzman of Saint John. Once demobilized, the ambulance returned to Reserve Force status with headquarters at Moncton and under the command of Lt.-Col. H. P. Melanson. The unit was tasked to support the 14th Infantry Brigade of the 5th Division in the Maritimes. Although it survived the 1947 reserve force reduction, by 1948 the unit’s total strength had declined to four officers and no other ranks. Moreover, according to the unit’s annual historical report, there was no training conducted.

On 31 March 1949, Lt.-Col. Melanson retired and the following day another local doctor, Captain R. J. Brown, was given command of the unit. He immediately initiated a successful recruiting drive and implemented an ambitious training program. By 31 March1950, he had been promoted to the rank of major and the unit had increased in strength to six officers and 47 other ranks. Over the next three years the officer cadre expanded to nine while the other ranks strength remained in the vicinity of 50. In the fall of 1953, Major Brown was deservingly promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

In 1954, with the nation-wide change in the structure of the reserves, the unit was redesignated 3rd Medical Company. During that year the unit successfully recruited eight Nursing Sisters and participated in two summer camps. Over the next decade, 3 Med Coy underwent several “ups and downs” depending largely on the Moncton professional medical community’s interest in things military.

Nursing Sisters from 3rd Medical Company at Camp Gagetown in 1957 practicing artificial respiration. From left to right: Lieutenants Corrine Boulay, Kathleen MacRae, Dorothy Hickey, Eileen Larracey, Hubert Poirier, and Anne Marie LeBel.

By 1960, the unit was commanded by Major A. P. Murphy and was down to nine officers and 23 other ranks. Nevertheless, the unit continued conducting intensive garrison training and attended at least two camps each summer, providing medical services on various combined exercises, and participating in garrison and Remembrance Day parades. With the reorganization of the Canadian Forces in the sixties, in December 1964, the 3rd Medical Company was disbanded. Although dissolved as an independent unit, the company did manage to perpetuate its name by providing a small medical section to the newly created Moncton Service Battalion.

Paul E. Belliveau, BSc, MSc, PhD, CD was Atlantic Regional Manager of Laboratories for the Federal Department of Environment. He also served in the militia from 1960 to 1994 retiring with the rank of major as a Senior Staff Officer at the NB/PEI District Headquarters. Paul has authored a number of military history books, including (1) To Kill a Battalion (2) HMCS Coverdale: Riverview's Forgotten Navy Base and (3) Percy Guthrie and the MacLean Kilties.

New Brunswickers and the American Civil War

by Troy Middleton

The American Civil War was a pivotal time in North American history. This war took place just prior to Confederation, and in part was the cause for British North American union. It was a violent and deadly time, and, although no one is now proud of it, our American neighbors still revere the men and women who took part and, in many cases, sacrificed everything for their cause. As Canadians, we also have the right to admire the men and women from here who participated in that terrible war. Through our research, Coy. I of the 20thMaine have identified over 4,000 Atlantic Canadians who served in the conflict with well over half coming from New Brunswick. Enlisting in the ranks of both armies most served the North, while some signed up to fight for the South. Many reasons can begiven for a “Canadian” to take up the fight. At that time, borders were mainly an idea, and many would have been working in the U.S. Others, working here on farms, or toiling in mills, warehouses, or docks looked at the war as a chance for adventure, or even money as bounties were paid to enlistees. Still others believed in the cause, no matter what they thought that cause was, and felt it their duty to help their neighbours.

U.S. Civil War re-enactors from Company I of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment plan an event in Saint Andrews this weekend. From left are Lindsay Titus, Troy Middleton, Larry Burden, Janet Burden, Colin Moore, Steven Norman and Bruce Barber. (Photo courtesy of Larry Burden)

Between 33,000 and 55,000 men from British North America enlisted in the war, almost all of them fighting for Union forces.

Guy Landry, right, of Madawaska County took part in a re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Larry Burden)

Sarah Emma Edmunds from Magaguadavic is the most famous New Brunswicker who took part in the war. Born in 1841 to a poor farmer in New Brunswick, she escaped an arranged marriage between her and one of her father’s creditors, “disguised herself to a man and emigrated to the United States”. She served in the Civil War as a soldier in Company F of the Second Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment, under the name of Franklin Thompson.

There are many other Canadians who served in the war, whose names have been lost to history. Below are just some of the New Brunswickers who enlisted.

Cpl. Nathan J. Dunphy, 11th Maine Infantry, 1861. (Photo courtesy of the Maine State Archives Collection)

Cpl. Benjamin F. Dunphy, 11th Maine Infantry, 1861. (Photo courtesy of the Maine State Archives Collection)

Upon discharge Nathan and Benjamin re-enlisted with the Veteran Volunteers on 4 January 1864 and mustered out 2 February June 1865. He enlisted with the 6thBattery of the Maine Light Artillery on 6 February 1862. Capt. Edwin B. Dow commanded the battery.

Sgt. Nathan J. Dunphy (born 25 August 1839) served along with his brothers Pvt. James E. Dunphy (born 1843) and Cpl. Benjamin F. Dunphy (born 7 July 1839). Born in Blissfield, NB, Nathan enlisted in Co. H, 11th Maine Infantry on 4 November 1866. James was wounded during his service and took his discharge 18 November 1864. Nathan passed away on 7 May 1915 in Togus, Maine and was buried in Dover Cemetery. Benjamin died on 15 March 1917 in Sebec, Maine and was interred in Lee Cemetery.

Carte de Visite of Captain Edwin B. Dow, 6th Battery, 1st Maine Mounted Light Artillery. (Photo courtesy of the Maine State Archives Collection)

Capt. Edwin B. Dow was born in Shefield, NB, on 20 June 1835. He enlisted with the 6thBattery of the Maine Light Artillery on 6 February 1862. Capt. Dow commanded the battery during the Battle of Gettysburg. He passed away in New York on 29 June 1917 and was interred in Arlington Cemetery.

2Lt. John E. Bailey, 7th Maine Infantry. (Photo courtesy of the Maine State Archives Collection)

2Lt. John E. Bailey was born in Fredericton, NB in 1840. He enlisted with Co. I, 7th Maine Infantry on 11 August 1861 and rose through the ranks, obtaining the rank of 2nd Lt. His right leg was amputated due to a severe wound he received on 12 July 1864 during the Battle of Fort Stevens. He succumbed to his wound and passed away on 30 July 1864 and was interred in Arlington Cemetery.

2nd Lt. Jacob E. Carvell was born 25 July 1834 in Newcastle, NB. He was living in Greenville, Mississippi when the war broke out he enlisted with the 22nd Mississippi Inf. After serving for a year he then enlisted with the 18th Virginia Cavalry and rose to the rank of 2nd Lt. by war’s end. In 1873, he joined the newly formed North West Mounted Police with the commission of Superintendent and took part in the historic march west. After three years of service with the NWMP he resigned and moved back to Virginia settling in Rileyville where he passed away in June 1902. Worthy to note, some of his descendants still reside in Rileyville on Carvell Lane.

Troy Middleton was born in New Brunswick and grew up in Maugerville. In June 2021, he released from the Canadian Forces and is presently enrolled at Athabasca University studying heritage resource management. He is a volunteer at the NBMHM and a member of the board for the New Brunswick Historical Society. He has been a member of Company I, 20th Maine re-enactment group since it formed in the early nineties and is currently its president.



Volume 8, Issue 3                                                                                Fall 2022

Remembering the Llandovery Castle

by Brent Wilson

The recent publication of Dianne Kelly’s book, Asleep in the Deep: Nursing Sister Anna Stamers and the First World War (Fredericton: Goose Lane Editions and the Gregg Centre, 2021) renewed interest in New Brunswick’s connection with the in famous sinking of the Canadian Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle in June1918 by a German submarine. In addition to N.S. Stamers who came from Saint John, twelve other New Brunswickers were lost during the attack, including Privates Harry Harrison (#536276), Edward M. Macpherson (#536277), and Walter B. Sacre (#536477) from the mall town of Marysville.

These men had much in common. All were young when they enlisted: Harrison and Sacre were both 21, while Macpherson was only 19 years old. All listed their occupation as laborer. Perhaps the biggest difference was their place of birth. Harrison was born in Marysville and Macpherson was from nearby Fredericton (although his mother, Charlotte, lived in Marysville), whereas Sacre was born in Swansea, Wales. He immigrated to Canada and lived in Marysville along with his wife, Laura, and parents, Annie and Walter, who resided at 41 Morrison Street.

Between August 1916 and March 1917, they enlisted in No. 16 Canadian Field Ambulance of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, which was organized in Saint John.

On 28 March 1917, they sailed from Halifax on board the troopship Saxonia, along with several other men from Marysville, including Corporal Walter Sacre, Sr., Walter’s father. They arrived in England on 7 April. Later, Harrison, Macpherson, and Sacre became members of the medical personnel serving on board the Llandovery Castle. On 27 June 1918, the ship was sailing from Halifax to Liverpool to pick up casualties when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-Boat (submarine) about 100 miles off the southern coast of Ireland. Of those serving on board the ship 234 perished and only 24 survived, making it the worst Canadian naval disaster of the First World War. All three privates from Marysville were lost at sea. Making the event even worse, the submarine had not only fired on a clearly marked hospital ship, a violation of international law, but afterwards the Germans rammed lifeboats and fired on survivors in the water.

(Photo courtesy of Harold Wright)

His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Llandovery Castle with hospital markings. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Howard MacDonald of Nova Scotia, HMHS Llandovery Castle was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-86 on 27 June 1918. Firing at a hospital ship was against international law and standing orders of the Imperial German Navy. The captain of U-86, Helmut Brümmer-Patzig, sought to destroy the evidence of torpedoing the ship. When the crew, including nurses, took to the lifeboats, U-86 surfaced, ran down all but one of the lifeboats and machine-gunned many of the survivors. Only 24 people in one lifeboat survived. They were rescued shortly afterwards by the destroyer HMS Lysander and testified as to what had happened.

HMHS Llandovery Castle, print by G.W. Wilkinson, 27 June 1918.

Needless to say, this incident provoked widespread outrage in Canada and internationally. The Canadian and British governments made it the focus of a concerted propaganda campaign. The St. John Standard newspaper referred to the German submariners as “Hun pirates.” One can only imagine how the families felt when they received notification of the loss of their loved ones amid the anger that surrounded the event. The Standard reported that “the families of the boys...are prostrated over the news of the sinking.”

(Canadian War Museum, 19850475-034)

Canadian war bonds poster depicting the German submarine U-86 firing on Canadian survivors from the Llandovery Castle.

In 1921, the captain and two officers of the U-Boat were put on trial in Germany for war crimes. However, the captain escaped the country and the other officers were acquitted on appeal on the grounds that the captain was solely responsible for the incident. It is doubtful Marysville families would have felt like justice had been served.

(Hantsheroes Photo)

Nursing casualties are listed on the Halifax Memorial and the names of Privates Harrison, Macpherson, and Sacre appear on the Halifax Memorial to the Missing in that city’s Point Pleasant Park. This is the official memorial for all Canadian military personnel who were lost at sea during both world wars. Their names also appear on the Marysville Great War Cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park on Canada Street, which was erected in 1925 on land donated by Canadian Cottons, the owners of the nearby cotton mill.

Brent Wilson is the Director of the New Brunswick Military Heritage Project at the Gregg Centre at the University of New Brunswick and Editor of Roll Call.

“There I Was”

by Harold Skaarup

How fortunate we are! One of the most remarkable things about having served in the Canadian Forces is that most of us have had an extraordinary number of interesting experiences while wearing the uniform. Many of us are lucky enough to have lived to tell the tales, but I find that most do not share much of what they have seen and learned. Canadians need to know how fortunate they are to have been protected from the kind of threat that the people of Ukraine are experiencing even now.

(DND Photo)

I am often asked to speak to school groups via the Memory Project, and I like to ask the kids to imagine what it was like to have the air raid siren go off and to have your teachers tell you to get under your desk, or to hustle to the school basement in case of a bomb threat. I have them do that in the classroom, and then speak to them for a few moments, while they are sitting under their desks. Although they are smiling, I tell them that in 1962 the teachers I had at RCAF Station 3 (Fighter) Wing in Zweibrucken, Germany were not.

(Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-B0628-0015-035 / Heinz Junge)

At that time, Russia’s Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, took off his shoe and banged it on the podium in the United Nations Headquarters in New York and shouted, “we will bury you.” The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was a 35-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, which escalated into an international crisis when American deployment of missiles in Italy and Turkey were matched by Soviet deployment of similar ballistic missiles in Cuba. Despite the short time frame, the Cuban Missile Crisis remains a defining moment in nuclear war preparation. The confrontation was likely the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.

As the children are sitting under their desks, I ask them to remember this, and the next time they see an old veteran with only one or two medals, to take the time to say thank you and to shake their hand. Because they stood prepared and ready to stop a war, we didn't have a war, and they as students never had to get under their desks for real. It can be hard to imagine just how fortunate we have been and are to this day.

I have given a number of tours to school groups, seniors, and serving soldiers at the NBMHM, and have been invited to speak to Grade 12 classes at Fredericton High School. Some schools really do want to hear our stories. Yes, some things we have experienced can induce trauma. On the other hand, we all have a "there I was, no sh*t, and a weaker man wouldn't have survived!" story to tell. I saw these two Military Freefall Parachutists (MFP) get their rucksacks stuck together on exit, just as I took the photo. Although they were in serious trouble for a few moments, they managed to separate OK. I am sure, however, that both of them had a “there I was” story to tell afterward. I am equally sure many of our readers have a “there I was” story of their own to tell, and we would like to hear them!

If we don’t tell our stories, who will? Canadians need to knowhow fortunate we are.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Lockheed C-130 Hercules dropping Military Freefall jumpers over Edmonton, Alberta during the winter of 1979-80. Two of the jumpers the author photographed here managed to get their rucksacks hooked together on exit.  They managed to get disentangled fairly quickly, but it did make the jump a bit more interesting for the participants.

The St. John River Flotilla During the War of 1812

by Gary Campbell in collaboration with Robert Dallison

As the threat of war with the United States increased during 1811, the British were considering ways to defend New Brunswick. There were two vital areas to protect. One was the harbour of Saint John. This was the port from where the long, clear white pine logs were shipped to England to be made into the masts and spars that were so vital to the Royal Navy. The other was the Grand Communications Route that ran up the St. John and Madawaska Rivers, across Lake Temiscouata and over the Grand Portage to the St. Lawrence River. This route was the only all-year one that linked London, Halifax, and Quebec City. It was of particular importance during the five or six months each year when the St. Lawrence River was closed to navigation because of ice. The creation of a flotilla to defend the St. John River was part of this planning. In August 1811, Captain Gustavus Nicolls, Royal Engineers in Halifax wrote to Captain James MacLauchlan, Commander Royal Engineers in New Brunswick, to ask how many boats in the river could be made into gunboats in an emergency? The idea was to either use them as bateaux to carry 30 men or to mount an 18-pounder carronade in their bow.

MacLauchlan evaluated the options of purchasing and refitting existing boats or building new ones and recommended buying new ones. While Nicolls was writing on behalf of Lieutenant General Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Commander of the military forces in Nova Scotia command that included New Brunswick, Major General Sir Martin Hunter, the President of the Council in New Brunswick and commander of the provincial militia, was also interested in this idea.

From the correspondence it appears that there were already “garrison bateaux” on the St. John River that were used to transport supplies between Fredericton and the Upper Posts at Presqu’ile and Grand Falls. There was also a gunboat that needed to be replaced. The additional boats would be an expansion of an existing capability.

The United States declared war on 18 June 1812 and British preparations to defend New Brunswick began in earnest. One of the first considerations was improving the defences of Saint John. Nicolls wrote to MacLauchlan on 25 July and provided guidance for the preparations. He was to use the “greatest economy” on any works. In Nicolls’ opinion: "the principal defence to be made in New Brunswick, by an inferior Army [i.e., the British Army, which was deployed primarily in Nova Scotia in this region] must be on the River Saint John and its Banks, and that by means of a superior Flotilla....” The creation of the St. John River Flotilla had apparently become official policy; on 28 July, MacLauchlan sent one of the newly constructed bateau to Major General George Stracey Smyth, Hunter’s successor, for approval. Having received feedback from Smyth, MacLauchlan proceed with the construction programme. On 3 August, he reported that one of the contractors “will have completed their ten boats on Saturday.” Some of the boats were being built at a works near Fort Frederick at Saint John. These consisted of eight bateaux and one large boat equipped to carry two 24-pounder guns. Not all was going well, however, as another contractor was experiencing delays in the construction of his five boats. Later in the month, MacLauchlan reported that there were ten boats at Fredericton. Five carried a 6-pounder cannon, two had a 3-pounder cannon, one was fitted to carry 30 troops and the details of the other two were not mentioned. It is possible that they were not armed due to a shortage of guns.

At the end of July, Smyth had indicated that there were only four guns in the province that were “fit for the Batteaux.” By the end of September, MacLauchlan submitted another report that stated 15 bateaux were completed and were mounted with field pieces. The calibre of these guns was not given. Two wood-boats were decked and mounted with a 24-pounder carronade. One had been mounted with three 24-pounder carronades (two in the bow and one on the stern) on a trial basis and had been found to be able to withstand the shock of firing. However, Smyth had decided that “one gun [was] quite sufficient.” In the absence of any immediate threat, the boats were being used to carry provisions from Saint John to Fredericton. This appears to have been the extent of the Saint John River Flotilla. This was confirmed in a report dated 1 January 1813 that states “2 of the Riverwood boats mounting 2x24 pdr  carronades and 15 bateaux have been fitted with ordnance by order of the Lieutenant General Commanding and paid for out of the contingency of the army.” Apparently, Smyth had reconsidered the armament on the gunboats.

River Bateau.

There were two types of boats in the flotilla. The majority were described as bateaux, a flat-bottomed boat that was capable of carrying troops and supplies, and mounting a small gun in the bow. They were about 38 feet long. The other type was a larger, wood-boat. These were used as general- purpose cargo boats along the St. John River. Their name comes from them being used to carry firewood. They were capable of carrying a load of 40 tons or 28 cords of wood. The Brunswick Lion at King’s Landing is are construction of one of these boats. They were a bit longer at about 42 feet and the open holds could be decked over. Larger guns, such as carronades, could be mounted on their decks. The cost of building a bateau was £35 while the cost of a wood-boat was not given. Both types of boats were equipped with sails and the bateaux had a sweep oar on the stern for steering. It appears that they were crewed, at least in part, by soldiers stationed in New Brunswick. W. Austin Squires in The104th Regiment of Foot (The New New Brunswick Regiment),1803-1817 (Fredericton, N.B.: Brunswick Press, 1962) mentions “Private Philip Callaghan [of the 104th] was in charge of a gunboat” and writes that “They [the New Brunswick Fencibles] also manned several armed gunboats on the St. John River.” George F.G. Stanley states in “The New Brunswick Fencibles” (Canadian Defence Quarterly, vol. XVI, No. 1,October, 1938) that one of the corporals in the New Brunswick Fencibles“ was a pilot on a gun boat on theSt. John river".

It appears that the flotilla was designed to perform a number of tasks. Based on Nicolls’ report of 14 November 1812 in which he made recommendations to Sherbrooke about the defence of New Brunswick, the flotilla was to command the St. John River below Fredericton. He observed “that it must be attended with much hazard anddifficulty, for an enemy to establish himself on its [the St. John River]Banks, or to keep up a communication across it below Fredericton while we have a superior Flotilla on the River….”Although it did not occur, the threat of an American attack was not an empty one. On 16 September 1812, Sherbrooke advised Earl Bathurst, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that the Governor of Massachusetts had declined a request from Washington to mobilize the state militia. However, the Federal government was raising three regiments of 1,000 men each there and it was anticipated that they might be used in operations against New Brunswick.

Both MacLauchlan and Nicolls saw the need to establish a fortified depot around Grand Lake or Lake Washademoak. If attacked, the gunboats would be used to help defend it or any other point that needed to be quickly reinforced. The first official function of the flotilla was to participate in the celebrations held at Fredericton on 10 September 1812 marking the victory at Detroit. Because the Americans did not attack New Brunswick or threaten the St. John River, the flotilla probably spent most of the war transporting troops and supplies along the river. The records show that boats from the flotilla were used to move a detachment of the 104th to Saint John in April 1813 and to carry a relief party to the Upper Posts the next month.

The last entry in the Royal Engineer papers relating to the flotilla is dated 22 October 1814 and it states that some bateaux were being sent to Saint John for repairs. Given the traditional post-war need for economy, some of the boats were likely sold off. However, it appears that others were retained in service, as there was still a need for military transport along the lower St. John River, as well as to the garrisons at the Upper Posts.

Two years later, a new requirement for the bateaux arose when it became necessary to transport the soldiers of several disbanded regiments, their families, and supplies to the military settlement being established between the military posts at Presqu’ile and Grand Falls. In March 1816, Captain MacLauchlan was directed to have five boats at Fredericton repaired and readied for use in the spring to transport provisions from Saint John to Grand Falls for use by military settlers from the 10th Royal Veterans Battalion. Ernest Clarke in The Weary, The Famished and The Cold: Military Settlement, Upper St. John River, 1814-1821 (Carleton County Historical Society, Woodstock, N.B., 1981)indicates that soldiers were used to operate these boats. If some of the vessels from the St. John River Flotilla were employed in this service, they probably were among those that Peter Fisher found abandoned along the shore at Presqu’ile when he visited the area circa 1825. About fifty years ago, a small, approximately 3-pounder iron cannon was found along the banks of the St. John River not far from the site of the Presqu’ile military post. It is possible that this was one of the guns that were used to arm the bateaux.

The establishment of the St. John River Flotilla is a unique event in the military and naval history of New Brunswick. It provided a highly mobile capability to bring additional firepower and troop reinforcements to bear on any area along the lower St. John River that was under enemy threat. When not engaged in combat operations, it was used to transport troops and provisions. It was New Brunswick’s counterpart to the much better-known Provincial Marine and Commissariat Voyageurs that operated along the St. Lawrence River and on the Great Lakes of Canada during the War of 1812. Most importantly, its existence underscored the fact that shallow waters as well as deep ones need to be defended.  

(The Brunswick Lion at King's Landing)

Gary Campbell, PhD, is a retired Canadian Army Logistics officer. He has a special interest in logistics history, especially where it involves transportation.

His articles on this subject have been published in several journals, both in Canada and abroad.

Robert Leonard Dallison attended both the Royal Roads Military College and the Royal Military College of Canada and, following graduation in 1958, was commissioned into the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. He received a BA (History) from R.M.C. and a BA (History and International Studies) from the University of British Columbia. He served for thirty-five years with the Canadian Army, obtaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and ending his career as Chief of Staff of the Combat Arms School at CFB Gagetown. After retiring, he maintained his life-long interest in history and heritage, including serving as the President of Fredericton Heritage Trust and as the New Brunswick representative on the Board of Governors for Heritage Canada. From 1992 to 2002, he was Director of Kings Landing Historical Settlement, a living history site portraying the Loyalist settlement in the St John River Valley of New Brunswick. In 2008, he developed a permanent Loyalist exhibit for the York-Sunbury Museum. Dallison has a particular interest in the Loyalist regiments and the military campaigns of the revolutionary period. In 2003 he published Hope Restored - The American Revolution and the Founding of New Brunswick (Fredericton: Goose Lane, 2003).

Tunic of Regimental Sergeant Major Herbert Endall, 26th Battalion. 2009.008.01, NBMHM.

Articles from NBMHM Newsletters of the past:

Battle of Hong Kong, December 1941, Newsletter March 2015

The winter of December1941 was a hard one for Canada and its allies. The Japanese attack on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu on 7 Dec took most of the headlines, but Canadians were already involved in the Pacific theatre, having sent soldiers to Hong Kong just before the conflict began.  Britain had first thought of Japan as a threat with the ending of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in the early 1920s, a threat which increased with the expansion of the Sino-Japanese War.  On 21 October 1938 the Japanese occupied Canton (Guangzhou) and Hong Kong was effectively surrounded.  Various British Defence studies had already concluded that Hong Kong would be extremely hard to defend in the event of a Japanese attack, but in the mid-1930s, work had begun on new defences.  Although Winston Churchill and his army chiefs initially decided against sending more troops to the colony, they reversed their decision in September 1941 in the belief that additional reinforcements would provide a military deterrent against the Japanese.

In the fall of 1941, the British government accepted an offer by the Canadian Government to send two infantry battalions and a brigade headquarters (1,975personnel) to reinforce the Hong Kong garrison. The Canadian battalions were the Royal Rifles of Canada from Quebec and the Winnipeg Grenadiers from Manitoba.

The Royal Rifles were serving in New Brunswick where they recruited a large number of soldiers from across the province as well as from PEI and Nova Scotia.  In the fall of 1941 these soldiers were deployed to Gander, Newfoundland, where they served on Coastal Defence duties.  From there they redeployed to Valcartier where they were outfitted for tropical operations.  They travelled by train to the port of Vancouver where they joined up with the Winnipeg Grenadiers.  These two units were formed into a formation designated as “C Force” and on 27 October they embarked on board the troopship Awatea and the armed merchant cruiser Prince Robert. They arrived in Hong Kong on 16 November 1941, but without all of their equipment as a ship carrying their vehicles was diverted to Manila at the outbreak of war.

(IWM Photo, KF 189)

Canadian soldiers on exercise in the hills on Hong Kong Island before the Japanese invasion.

The Royal Rifles had served only in Newfoundland and New Brunswick prior to their duty in Hong Kong, and the Winnipeg Grenadiers had been serving in Jamaica.  As a result, many of these Canadian soldiers did not have much field experience before arriving in Hong Kong.  Unfortunately, these were the soldiers who found themselves engaged in the Battle of Hong Kong which began on 8 December 1941 and ended on 25 December 1941 with the surrender of the Crown colony to the Empire of Japan.  More than 100 casualties suffered by the Royal Rifles during this battle were soldiers recruited from New Brunswick.

C. C. J. Bond / Historical Section, General Staff, Canadian Army - Stacey, C. P., maps drawn by C. C. J. Bond (1956) [1955]. Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War. Volume I: Six Year of War: The Army in Canada, Britain and the Pacific(PDF). (2nd rev. online ed.). Ottawa: By Authority of the Minister of National Defence. OCLC 917731527). Map compiled and drawn by Historical Section, General Staff, Canadian Army.

Map of the Battle of Hong Kong Island, 18-25 December 1941.

The Japanese attack began shortly after 08:00 on 8 December 1941 less than eight hours after the Attack on Pearl Harbor. British, Canadian and Indian forces, commanded by Major-General Christopher Maltby supported by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps resisted the Japanese invasion by the Japanese 21st, 23rd and the38th Regiments, commanded by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai.  Some 52,000 Japanese assaulted the 14.000 Hong Kong defenders, most of whom lacked the recent combat experience of their opponents.

The colony had no significant air defence.  The Commonwealth forces decided against holding the Sham Chun River which separated Hong Kong from the mainland and instead established three battalions in a defence position known as the Gin Drinkers' Line across the hills.  The Japanese 38th Infantry under the command of Major General Takaishi Sakai quickly forded the Sham Chun River by using temporary bridges.  Early on 10 December1941 the 228th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Teihichi, of the 38th Division attacked the Commonwealth defences at the Shing Mun Redoubt defended by the 2nd Battalion Royal Scots.  The line was breached in five hours and later that day the Royal Scots also withdrew from Golden Hill.  D company of the Royal Scots counter-attacked and captured Golden Hill.  By 10:00am the hill was again taken by the Japanese. This made the situation on the New Territories and Kowloon untenable and the evacuation from them began on 11 December 1941 under aerial bombardment and artillery barrage.  Where possible, military and harbour facilities were demolished before the withdrawal.  By 13 December, the 5/7 Rajputs of the British Indian Army, the last Commonwealth troops on the mainland had retreated to Hong Kong Island.

MGen Maltby organised the defence of the island, splitting it between an East Brigade and a West Brigade.  On 15 December, the Japanese began systematic bombardment of the island's North Shore. Two demands for surrender were made on 13 December and 17 December.  When these were rejected, Japanese forces crossed the harbour on the evening of 18 December and landed on the island's North-East.  That night, approximately 20gunners were massacred at the Sai Wan Battery after they had surrendered.  There was a further massacre of prisoners, this time of medical staff, in the Salesian Mission on Chai Wan Road.  In both cases, a few men survived to tell the story.

On the morning of 19 December fierce fighting continued on Hong Kong Island as the Japanese annihilated the headquarters of West Brigade.  A British counter-attack could not force them from the Wong Nai Chung Gap that secured the passage between the north coast at Causeway Bay and the secluded southern parts of the island.  From 20 December, the island became split in two with the British Commonwealth forces still holding out around the Stanley peninsula and in the West of the island.  At the same time, water supplies started to run short as the Japanese captured the island's reservoirs.

On the morning of 25 December, Japanese soldiers entered the British field hospital at St. Stephen's College, and tortured and killed a large number of injured soldiers, along with the medical staff.  By the afternoon of 25 December 1941, it was clear that further resistance would be futile and British colonial officials headed by the Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, surrendered.  The garrison had held out for 17 days.

(Hong Kong Archives Photo)

228th Japanese Infantry Regiment enters Hong Kong, 8 December 1941.

The Allied dead from the campaign, including British, Canadian and Indian soldiers, were eventually interred at the Sai Wan Military Cemetery and Stanley Military Cemetery.  A total of 1,528 soldiers, mainly Commonwealth, are buried there.  At the end of February 1942, The Japanese government stated that numbers of prisoners of war in Hong Kong were: British 5,072, Canadian 1,689, Indian 3,829, others357, for a total of 10,947.   Of the Canadians captured during the battle, 267 subsequently perished in Japanese prisoner of war camps.  

Following the battle, John Robert Osborn was awarded the Victoria Cross.  After seeing a Japanese grenade roll in through the doorway of the building Osborn and his fellow Canadian Winnipeg Grenadiers had been garrisoning, he took off his helmet and threw himself on the grenade, saving the lives of over 10 other Canadian soldiers.[1]

Canada responded to the outbreak of war with Japan by significantly strengthening its Pacific coastal defences, ultimately stationing more than 30,000 troops, 14 RCAF squadrons, and over 20 warships in British Columbia.  Canadian forces also co-operated with the United States in clearing the Japanese from the Aleutian Islands off Alaska.  Before Japan surrendered in August 1945, a Canadian cruiser, HMCS Uganda, participated in Pacific naval operations, two RCAF transport squadrons flew supplies in India and Burma, and communications specialists served in Australia.

[1] Internet:

Battle of Hong Kong, New Brunswick Soldiers serving with the Royal Rifles of Canada

New Brunswick Units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in the First World War

12th Battalion, CEF

The 12thBattalion, CEF, an infantry battalion of the CEF, was authorized on 10 August 1914 and embarked for Britain on 30 September 1914, where it was redesignated the 12th Reserve Infantry Battalion, CEF on 29 April 1915,to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field.  The battalion was reduced during the summer of1916 and ultimately dissolved.  Its residual strength was absorbed on 4 January 1917 into a new 12th Reserve Battalion, upon re-organization of the reserve units of the Canadian Infantry.  The battalion was officially disbanded on 30 August 1920.  The 12th Battalion formed part of the Canadian Training Depot at Tidworth Camp in England.

26th Battalion(New Brunswick), CEF

The 26thBattalion (New Brunswick), CEF, was authorized on 7 November 1914and embarked for Britain on 15 June 1915.  It arrived in France on 16 September 1915,where it fought as part of the 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division in France and Flanders throughout thewar. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.  (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

55th Battalion(New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island), CEF

The 55th Battalion (New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island), CEF, was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 30 October 1915, where it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 6July 1916, when its personnel were absorbed by the 40th Battalion (Nova Scotia), CEF.  The battalion was disbanded on 21 May 1917. (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

104th Battalion, CEF

The 104th Battalion, CEF, was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Britain on 28 June 1916,where it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 24January 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 105th Battalion(Prince Edward Island Highlanders), CEF.  The battalion was disbanded on 27 July 1918.  (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

115th Battalion(New Brunswick), CEF

The 115th Battalion (New Brunswick), CEF, was authorized on 22 December 1915and embarked for Britain on 23 July 1916, where it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 21 October 1916, when its personnel were absorbed by the 112th Battalion (Nova Scotia), CEF.  The battalion was disbanded on 1 September 1917.  (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

132nd Battalion(North Shore), CEF

The 132nd Battalion (North Shore), CEF was a unit in the CEF Force during the First World War. Based in Chatham, New Brunswick, the unit began recruiting in late 1915 in North Shore and Northumberland Counties. After sailing to England in October 1916, the battalion was absorbed into the 13th Reserve Battalion on 28 January 1917.

140th Battalion (St. John's Tigers), CEF

The 140thBattalion (St. John's Tigers), CEF, was authorized on 22 December1915 and embarked for Britain on 25 September 1916, where, on 2 November 1916,its personnel were absorbed by the depots of The Royal Canadian Regiment, CEF and Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, CEF to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field.  The battalion was disbanded on 27 July 1918. (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

145th Battalion (New Brunswick), CEF

The 145thBattalion (New Brunswick), CEF was authorized on 22 December 1915 and embarked for Britain on 25 September 1916,where, on 7 October 1916, its personnel were absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion, CEF to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field.  The battalion was disbanded on 17 July 1917.  (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

165th Battalion (Acadiens), CEF

 The 165th (French Acadian) Battalion, CEF was a unit in the CEF during the First World War.  Based in Moncton, New Brunswick, the unit began recruiting in late 1915 throughout the Maritime provinces. After sailing to England in March 1917, the battalion was absorbed into the 13th Reserve Battalion on April 7, 1917.  (Perpetuated by The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment).

 236th Battalion (New Brunswick Kilties), CEF

The 236thBattalion (New Brunswick Kilties), CEF was authorized on 15 July 1916 and embarked for Britain on 30 October and 9 November 1917, where it provided reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field until 13 March 1918, when its personnel were absorbed by the 20th Reserve Battalion, CEF.  The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920. (Perpetuated by the RNBR).

28thField Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, CEF

The 28th Field Battery, RCA originated in Newcastle, New Brunswick.  The 28th Battery, which was authorized on 7 November 1914 as the 28th Battery, CEF, embarked for Great Britain on 9 August 1915. The battery disembarked in France on 21 January 1916, where it provided field artillery support as part of the 7th Brigade, CFA, CEF in France and Flanders until 19 March 1917, when its personnel were absorbed by the 15th and 16th Field Battery, CFA, CEF.  The battery was disbanded on 1 November 1920.  (Perpetuated by The North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment).

New Brunswick Regiments in Home Defence

Elements of the 62nd Regiment St. John Fusiliers, 67th Regiment Carleton Light Infantry, 71st York Regiment, and 74th Regiment The Brunswick Rangers were placed on active service on 6 August 1914 for local protective duty.

More on the CEF can be found here:

Canadian Army Triumph motorcycle

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3225468)

Sergeant R.H. Easby (L) handing a message to a despatch rider, Signalman J.K. Armstrong, with his Triumph motorcycle at 5th Canadian Armoured Division Headquarters, 17 March 1944.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Triumph motorcycle, Canadian Army Serial No. 532176, on display in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3298166)

Sergeant Gordon Davis of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, riding a Welbike lightweight motorcycle used by airborne forces, Carter Barracks, Bulford, England, 5 January 1944.

(Author Photo)

Canadian Army folding Welbike motorcycle used by airborne forces, on display in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick. The Welbike has the distinction of being the smallest motorcycle ever used by Commonwealth Armed Forces.  Between 1942 and 1943, 3,641 units (plus a prototype and some pilot models) were built.  A few were used by the British 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions and some were used at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden in the fall of 1944.

Provost Fred Estabrooks and Princess Elizabeth, Newsletter article, 10 March 2015

by Harold Skaarup

Frederick Walter Estabrooks, a retired veteran of Canadian Army Provost Corps who served in the the Second World War has passed. Fred joined the Canadian Army in 1943 at the age of 16in Woodstock, New Brunswick, did his basic training in Fredericton and then was sent to Sydney, Cape Breton, where he served on Coast Defence searchlights.  Shortly afterwards he was sent to Halifax for a course in mechanics. He then sailed to the UK in May 1943 on the Queen Mary along with 20,000 other Canadian troops and landed at North Southampton.  There, he joined the Military Police, No. 11 Provost Company.

During his training in England in 1943 as a Provost Corps Military Policeman, he spoke with 17-year-old Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret, while their father. King George VI was inspecting Canadian troops. He saw Winston Churchill while patrolling routes for convoys through the Reichswald Forest in Germany, and General Harry Crerar, Commander of the First Canadian Army. He spoke with him at a rest stop on one of the routes where directing traffic.  He saw General McNaughton, and he was also in a group of Canadian troops addressed by General Bernard Montgomery in the UK and again later in Antwerp.  He also he saw General Eisenhower about the same time.

Frederick went ashore at Juno Beach on 11 June, the 5th day of the landings at Normandy, with two MP sections, 26 motorcycles, and two jeeps on a landing barge.  He carried a Browning 9-mm pistol.  He served in the 11th Provost Company attached to 1st Canadian Army Headquarters.  He rode a Harley Davidson 40/41 low clear clearance which he felt was too low and later used Matchless motorcycles.  He was at Rouen with No. 4 Company riding Norton and Triumph motorcycles.

Frederick was directing traffic in the battles North of Caen in France, and lost his motorcycle to shell fire.  He was attached to the No. 3Provost Company with the 3rd Canadian Division and was in the vicinity of the unfortunate bombing of the Polish Armoured forces serving under the Canadian Corps with tremendous casualties. He counted more than 200 ambulances on one of the roads he was traffic controlling, and on at least one occasion had to use his pistol to order anofficer’s staff car off the road to make way for the ambulances.  His supervisor, Sergeant-Major Ray Chambers took note and approved.

On 14 November 1944 a shell hit close enough to him to destroy his motorcycle and blow him up over the cab of an oncoming truck near Nijmegen. He bounced off the hood of the cab on the truck and landed in a water-filled ditch on the other side. The German 88-mm shell took a chunk out of his right arm and pieces went through the calf of his left leg.  His legs were black and blue for months, and he was sent to the Casualty Clearing Post at Cenocky sur Mer, and then to the 6th Brigade General Hospital in Antwerp for five weeks to convalesce about the time of the Battle of the Bulge through to March1945.  He went on to No. 4 Provost Company with the 3rd Division in Antwerp, then to No. 13 Provost Company with II Corps.  He was on traffic control duty and served as the Company Dispatch Driver in a Willys Jeep, moving up to Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and then across the border into Germany.  He passed through Goch and onto Bad Zwishenheim over the next three to four weeks, where he was serving when the war ended on 8 May 1945.  He then volunteered for duty in the Pacific war with Japan.

He returned to Canada at the end of July 1945 on the Isle de France at the age of 20.  The war ended before he was to be deployed west.  He was in Montreal for 30 days leave then went back to Saint John and then on to Fredericton where he was discharged on 21 Nov 1945.  He was on train patrol from Fredericton to Newcastle for the winter of 1945-46, and was married to Joyce Taylor from Woodstock in 1946.  He worked for the CPR before moved to Guelph where he met up with his former Sergeant Ray Chambers who he had served with in No. 4 Provost Company.  Ray put in a good word for him with the Inspector in Guelph and Frederick was hired on with the Guelph Police Force a week later.  He served with the Guelph Police Force for 30 years from Sep 1949 until his retirement as a Staff Sergeant in June 1979.  He and his wife travelled in a trailer coach for four years before settling near a lake in Bobcaygeon, Ontario in 1983.  Their two children Gary and Linda and their families live in Ontario.  Fred passed away on 24 February 2015. He was my mother Beatrice's older brother, and my uncle.

In 1945, Princess Elizabeth convinced her father to let her contribute directly to the war effort.  Elizabeth was a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the ATS), No. 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, and was trained as a driver. Few of you may be aware that Britain had introduced conscription of women at the end of 1941.  Elizabeth formally registered under the wartime youth service scheme in April and was given a registration card, E. D.431.  By 1943, 90 per cent of single and 80 per cent of married women were in work, mostly in industry and the Armed Forces. She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in the spring of 1945.  She became a competent driver and was proficient in vehicle maintenance, and was enrolled on an NCO’s cadre course.  The Princess’s personal contribution to service life lasted only a few months.  On VE-Day, 8 May 1945, Princess Elizabeth, dressed in her ATS uniform, stood with her parents, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Princess Margaret on the palace balcony. Later, the Princesses slipped away with young Guards officers to join the cheering crowds.  They came back to stand outside the palace incognito, chanting: “We want the King, we want the King.” (Extracted from “A New Biography of the Queen”, by Sarah Bradford).


Major Raymond M. Hickey, MC, Chaplain with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment during the Second World War, Friends of the NBMHM Newsletter

by Harold Skaarup

One of the things about New Brunswick military history is that it is intricately tied to most of our family history.  As a boy on farm in Carleton County I can remember listening to a veteran of the Second World War talking to my grandfather, a First World War veteran, about his experiences in Normandy.  The man had served with the North Shore Regiment, and he was talking about the Hitler Youth boys he had fought and the hard fact that they wouldn’t surrender even when the adults had, and had to be mown down with machine gun fire.  My grandfather said he was still suffering from a form of shell-shock.  These days we call it post-traumatic stress.  It has always been around us, even in peacetime.

When my father, RCAF Warrant Officer Aage C. Skaarup was posted to CFB Chatham, New Brunswick where he serviced the equipment that was used to start up the McDonnell CF-101B Voodoos, my mother introduced me to another veteran soldier who had been in Normandy.  He was a former chaplain who had also served with the North Shore Regiment, and at that time in 1973 was living in a hospital in the town of Chatham.  

The first thing I noticed as I entered his small room was a Military Cross hanging on his mirror, a fairly rare medal of bravery.  I was not catholic, so calling him a father didn’t seem right.  I therefore asked if I could address him as Padre or Major (Raymond Myles) Hickey and he was very pleased with that.

I had read a great deal about the war, and had many questions for him.  He kindly spoke at great length about his experiences and the pride he had in having served with the men of the North Shore Regiment.  He loaned me a book he had written called “The Scarlet Dawn”, which gave me much more information to add to my list of questions.  His stories covered his wartime experiences from the time he did his basic training in Woodstock to his trip to England by ship and what happened when he landed in Normandy on D-Day with the first wave going into the German storm of fire.  He pulled wounded men from the water as bullets splashed around him, he gave the last rites to those who weren’t going to survive, and he tended to all around him in spite of the danger.  The Military Cross hanging on his mirror was well deserved, but for him, the appreciation of the men he served with was far more important.

Major Hickey stayed with his men through the horrific battles in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and on into Germany where the war ended for them.  He came back to the village of Jacquet River, New Brunswick where he had been born in 1905, and where he had been ordained as a Catholic priest in 1933. He had served as a curate in Bathurst, for four years until he was appointed to the teaching staff at St. Thomas University in Chatham. When the Second World War began and Canada followed Britain in declaring war on Germany in September 1939, Father Hickey enlisted in the Canadian Army to serve as the Chaplain for the North Shore Regiment, a task he managed for six hard years.  In his book, his citation includes this tribute, "His understanding and leadership of men, his keen sense of humor, and his spirit of self-sacrifice, which won him the Military Cross for bravery under enemy fire on D-Day, made him beloved and respected by all who knew him."[1]

After the war, Reverend Hickey served as the Pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas church in Campbelton, Nova Scotia.  His book The Scarlet Dawn was published in 1949. He became a Monsignor and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by his alma mater, but what he valued far more in his recollections to me was histime served with the men of the North Shore Regiment.  Padre Hickey died in Chatham, now the Miramichi in 1987.  

As you will find often in these newsletters, New Brunswick’s history is often our family history, and we often learn far more by word of mouth about what it was really like to have been in the service by those who were there because of it.  Perhaps you have similar stories you would like to share with the Friends of the New Brunswick Military History Museum.

For those of you who would like to read a much more detailed account of Major Hickey’s service, please have a look at Melynda Jarratt’s webpage at

Major Raymond M. Hickey, MC

[1] Reverend Raymond Myles Hickey, The Scarlet Dawn, Tirbune Publishers Limited, Campbelton, Nova Scotia, 1940, endpapers.

5 Canadian Division Support Group Gagetown History

5 Canadian Division Support Group(5CDSG), aka Canadian Forces Base Gagetown was created at the beginning of the Cold War as a training facility for the Canadian Army which was in need of an exercise area suitable for the deployment of division-sized armoured, infantry and artillery units.  Canada had just deployed two Brigades overseas, with one going to the battlefields of Korea and a second established in northern Germany to face the combined forces of the Warsaw Pact which were threatening NATO. Defence planners recognized the fact that existing facilities were relatively small, and a larger base site would need to be located relatively close to an all-season Atlantic port and have suitable railway connections.  Regional economic development planners noted that the establishment of the new base in southwestern New Brunswick would provide considerable economic benefits to the province, although it would eventually come to disrupt the lives of over 900 families living in the area selected.

Following many years of construction, Camp Gagetown was officially opened in 1958, with its headquarters located near the community of Oromocto.  The base occupies an expansive plateau west of the Saint John River between the cities of Fredericton and Saint John and encompasses 1,129 sq km.  It was the largest military training facility in Canada and the British Commonwealth until the opening of CFB Suffield in 1971.

Initially, Camp Gagetown was the home base for many army regiments, including the Black Watch and the Royal Canadian Regiment, until defence cutbacks resulted in the removal of their parent formation, 3 Brigade Group, from the Canadian Army Order of Battle. Following the unification of the Canadian Forces on 1 February 1968, Camp Gagetown was renamed CFB Gagetown.  Since that time, the base has served as the primary combat training centre for the Canadian Army, supported by 3 Area Support Group. Now 5 CDSG Gagetown.  The year 2023 marks 64 years of service for both 3 ASG and CTC within our New Brunswick community.

 (Harold Skaarup Photo)

Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV), 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Fort Hughes (Sir Douglas Hazen Park),(1781 - 1782, 1813 - 1815), Oromocto

(Town of Oromocto Photo)

A reconstructed British wooden block house located at Sir Douglas Hazen Park. Originally built to protect the local masting operations, and as a relay station between Halifax, NS and Québec City, QC. Rebuilt and re-garrisoned in 1813, it was to be used as a place of refuge and defence if Saint John were to be captured.

Soviet ASU-57 Assault Gun, NBMHM

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Russian ASU-57 SP Airborne Assault Gun, Gun Serial No. 52-∏-270, N?556 on display in the NBMHM vehicle park. The ASU-57 is a small, lightly constructed Soviet assault gun that was specifically designed for use by Soviet airborne divisions. From 1960 onwards it was gradually phased out in favour of the ASU-85.

The ASU-57 was designed to be alight-weight assault gun that could be air-dropped and deployed by rocket-assisted parachute (PP-128-500 or P-7) along with the troops. It was lightly armored and armed with a 57 mm gun Ch-51, a development of the Second World War ZIS-2 but with some similarities to the Ch-26. From 1954, an improved 57-mm gun Ch-51M with much shorter double-baffle muzzle brake was fitted. The gun fired standard caliber 57x480R ammunition of the ZIS-2 anti-tank gun, such as the BR-271 series and the O-271U, of which it had 30 on board. The ASU-57'sengine was taken from the GAZ-M-20 "Pobeda" civilian car.

The ASU-57 was a successful design, and saw service with Soviet airborne divisions for around 20 years before being replaced by the ASU-85.  During its years of operation 54 vehicles would have been assigned to each airborne division.

One main drawback was the vehicle's welded aluminum hull, which offered little protection for the crew.  However for airborne troops such vehicles are invaluable, giving lightly armed soldiers who are isolated behind enemy lines mobile artillery support on the battlefield.

Every vehicle was equipped with a radio 10 RT-12 and intercom system TPU-47. Late-production models (from 1961)had the R-113 and R-120, as well as a TVN-2 night vision device for the driver.[1]

There is another ASU-57 on display in the Petawawa Military Museum in Ontario. Both of these ASU-57s are reported to have been found in the Middle East and brought back to Canada via Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport sometime inthe early 1970s.


Centurion Bridgelayer, 5 CDSG Gagetown

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4816313)

Centurion Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge (AVLB), (aka No. 6 tank bridge), 4 Field Sqn, RCE, Ex Reforger 74, Eilheim, Germany, Oct 1974.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Centurion AVBL (aka Number 6 tank bridge), Canadian Military Engineering Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  This AVBL carried a single piece bridge mounted on the Centurion that departed from the launch method employed by the Churchill Bridgelayer and used an up and over deployment.  The bridge itself was 52 feet long, significantly longer than its predecessors and 4 feet 8 inches wide, able to accommodate a load class of 80.  The bridge was dimensioned from extensive trials and was the largest single piece that offered a reasonable compromise on mobility.  Although the folded or scissor bridge offered a lower visible footprint, it takes longer to deploy and recover.  Although the single piece Number 6 tank bridge presented a conspicuous target when it was being deployed, it took less than two minutes to put in place.

When the designs were made for Centurion to become Britain’s main battle tank it was recognised that asuitable replacement for the Churchill bridgelayer would also be needed.  The FV4002 was created from the Centurion Mk 5hull to launch and recover the aluminium alloy No. 6 Tank Bridge.  It was manufactured by the Royal Ordnance Factory.  In Canada the vehicle is identified as the Centurion Bridgelayer Mk. 5 CA, and one is on display outdoors at 5 Canadian Division Support Group Gagetown, not far from the NBMHM.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Churchill Infantry Tank Mk IV RE, (Serial No. BW9229), Great Eastern Armoured Ramp (Serial No. WD No T172796/D), only survivor.  Great Eastern Tank Ramp, although designed in 1944 the Great Eastern ARC was not available before 1945 and not in time for the D Day landings, still based on the Churchill it was fitted with two ramps, one 27ft long and the other 25ft long. This was to enable higher obstacles to be traversed than the normal ARK’s.  Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario.

The Centurion was a faster vehicle than the Churchill “Great Eastern” Bridgelayer, (one is preserved in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa), but the heavier class of bridge it carried could span a gap of 15 metres and carry 80 tons. This meant that this bridge was capable of being used by tanks and could be deployed in 2 minutes and recovered within4 minutes.  To enable the deployed bridge to be used by smaller vehicles a central roadway was installed by hand between the main bridge sections.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Beaver Armoured Vehicle Bridge Layer (AVBL), Canadian Military Engineering Museum, 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, New Brunswick.  

The Centurion Bridgelayer was introduced in the 1960s and remained in service until 1974 when it was replaced in the UK by the Chieftain version and in Canada by the Leopard Beaver Bridgelayer version (one of which is held by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum at 5CDSG Gagetown).  The vehicle carried a crew of 3 with the driver located in the same position as in the gun tank.  The other members of the crew were located towards the left and centre of the vehicle within the superstructure which replaced the original turret.  A Rolls-Royce B series gasoline engine powered the hydraulic system for the bridge launch equipment.

Canadian Warships with New Brunswick names

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 5671742)

During the Second World War, from dawn till sunset every day shipping convoys bringing food and raw material to Britain were escorted by Short Sunderland aircraft of the RCAF and RAF, April 1941. A main focus of operations for the RCN and RCAF was the Battle of the Atlantic, fought to secure North Atlantic trade routes against enemy attack.  Much of this effort was carried out by small escort vessels used to defend convoys of merchant ships against German U-boats.

(LCdr Stacy Photo)

HMCS Saint John (K456) (River-class Frigate.

Several ships bearing New Brunswick names participated in the campaign.  Among them was the frigate HMCS Saint John, which sank two German submarines, the second most successful submarine hunter of its class in the Canadian fleet.  The destroyer HMCS St. Croix was also credited with destroying two U-Boats before being sunk in September 1943 by an acoustic torpedo.  The Saint John-built corvette, HMCS Sackville, participated in several convoy battles.  In July 1942, it engaged three U-Boats in a single night, damaging two of them.  In May 1985, the restored Sackville was preserved in Halifax as Canada’s National Naval Memorial.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS St. Croix.

(RCN Photo)

HMCS Sackville (K181) (Flower-class).  Built by Saint John Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Saint John, NB, she was launched on 15 May 1941.  Commissioned on 30 Dec 1941, at Saint John, N.B., HMCS Sackville arrived at Halifax on 12 Jan 1942.  She joined NEF after working up, and on 26 May 1942 left St. John's to escort HX.191 as part of the newly formed EG C-3.  In Apr 1943, she transferred to C-1, and in Sep 1943 briefly joined EG 9 in support of the beleaguered combined convoy ONS.18 / ON.202, which lost six merchant vessels and three escorts.  In Oct 1943 HMCS Sackville transferred to C-2 for the balance of her war career.  She underwent two major refits: at Liverpool, NS, and Halifax, from 14 Jan to 02 May 1943; and at Galveston, Texas, from late Feb to 7 May 1944, when her fo'c's'le was extended.  Upon her return from working up in Bermuda, in Jun 1944, she made a crossing to Londonderry.  Soon after leaving for the westward journey she split a boiler and had to return to 'Derry for repairs.  She left again on 11 Aug 1944, to limp home as escort to ONS.248, refitted at Halifax and, in Sep 1944, briefly became a training ship at HMCS Kings.  In Oct 1944 she began, at Halifax, refit and reconstruction to a loop-laying vessel, and work was still in progress by VE-Day.  The ship was paid off on 8 Apr 1946, but re-commissioned 4 Aug 1950, as a depot ship, reserve fleet.  She was refitted in 1950 but remained inactive until 1953, when, as a Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel (CNAV), she began a survey of the Gulf of St. Lawrence that was to last several years.  She also carried out a number of cruises to the Baffin Island-Greenland area.  Extensive modification in 1968 reflected HMCS Sackville's new status as a research vessel, and she was operated by the Department of National defence on behalf of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.  In 1983, as the sole surviving corvette, she was transferred to the Canadian Naval Corvette Trust (now Canadian Naval Memorial Trust) and restored to her wartime appearance.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

HMCS Sackville (K181) (Flower-class), alongside in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Italian 75-mm Cannone da 75/27modello 06 Field Gun

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

The NBMHM has an Italian 75-mm Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 Field Gun on display in the Museum’s outdoor park. The gun is stamped Gio. Ansaldo & C., Genova 1916, FCA 1099, MLA3432, KG 345.  This gun was shipped from the Mediterranean Theatre in 1944 to Halifax, then went to the Canadian War Museum and then to CFB Gagetown.

The Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 was a Field Gun used by Italy during the First and Second World Wars.  It was a license-built copy of the Krupp Kanone M 1906 gun.  It had seats for two crewmen attached to the gunshield as was common practice for the period.  Captured weapons were designated by the Wehrmacht during the Second World War as the 7.5-cm Feldkanone 237(i).   Special fortress versions were produced as the Cannone da 75/27 modello 06 in Casmatta and in Caverna.  These had different carriages suitable for static use.  In March 1945 four Italian guns were shipped to Canada from the Middle East including the 75-mm Obice da75/27 now on display at the NBMHM, 5CDSG Gagetown, New Brunswick.  This gun was allocated to 3 RCHA, and is on loan from the Canadian War Museum.

Japanese 70-mm Type 92 Battalion Gun

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

The NBMHM has a Japanese 70-mm Type 92 Battalion Gun (Serial No. 2561), on display inside museum.  The Type 92 Battalion Gun was a light Howitzer used by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War and Second World War. Each infantry battalion included two Type 92 guns; therefore, the Type 92 was referred to as “Battalion Artillery”. This gun is on loan from the RCA Museum, CFB Shilo, Manitoba.

British King William IV 1822 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sword

The NBMHM recently received a pair of British King William IV 1822 Pattern Infantry Officer's Swords  dates from the short reign of King William IV (1830-1837).  They each have a distinctive Gothic hilt with fold down guard and a grip of fish skin wrapped with brass twist wire.  The blade is of pipe back form.  The original swords came with a leather and brass mounted scabbard.  Both are slightly different in details.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26June 1830 until his death. William, the third son of George III and younger brother and successor to George IV, was the last king and penultimate monarch of Britain's House of Hanover.

The 1822 Pattern Infantry Officer’s Sword was a radical departure from previous designs, with its half basket hilt becoming the standard format for British infantry swords until the end of the nineteenth century.  Distinctive features of the sword include the “Gothic” style pierced hilt, so-called after its resemblance to the shapes of windows in Gothic architecture, and the “s-shaped” folding guard.  Elegantin design, the slender pipe backed blade was sheathed in a black leather scabbard with decorated gilt brass mounts.  The royal cypher was placed within an oval hilt cartouche and during its lifetime, this pattern featured three monarchs (George IV, William IV and Victoria).  Victorian examples are pretty common with many varieties of design interpretations to the royal cypher. The blade's foible is intricately etched with a crowned William IV monogram and decorations.

Later versions have the single fullered 1845 Pattern “Wilkinson” type blade that became the army standard.  The pipe back version is more elegant in profile and truer to the original design.  There is a “picquet”, “levee” or dress form of this sword whichis a lightweight version with a much narrower blade.  It was carried bythe officer at social functions including balls, mess dinners and probably at Court.

As a fighting weapon, the 1822 Pattern was rather unsatisfactory, the blade being far too weak and the hilt bars affording little protection.  When the 1845 Pattern blade was introduced, officers were not required to immediately change to the new pattern.  They were allowed to carry the old pipe back sword blade until it became unserviceable.  As with many new items of equipment introduced into a regular army, it was unlikely to have been a seamless and rapid introduction.  Some years would pass before all officers carried the new official regulation sword.  The idea that in 1845, all British infantry officers suddenly discarded the 1822 Pattern pipe back blade in favour of the1845, would be a little fanciful and completely impracticable, and not to say, uneconomic.  The purchase of an officer’s sword was a major financial strain on many officers and they were not likely to discard an expensive sword because the authorities deemed it necessary.

Both George IV and William IV had relatively short reigns and, consequently, examples are scarce, especially in good condition.  They tend to be more delicate than later Victorian pieces and many are found with broken or missing folding guards, and damage to the hilt piercings.  It is a good idea to check carefully to see that the folding guard is working properly as they were easily damaged.  Also take care when folding guards as they were held together with very thin pins and can easily snap.

Late Georgian blades are very finely etched with much less decoration than later Victorian examples.  Consequently, thepre-Victorian swords tend to have very worn etching (sometimes to the point of obscurity).  Up until around 1835, there would also have been a black leather hilt lining.  Very few of these survive intact.[1]

Average market price ca $350, sword only.  With scabbard ca $1,200 - $1500.  Internet:

Communist Weapons used in the Korean War in the NBMHM

The NBMHM has a fair number of weapons on display in its collection that were used in the Korean War which ran from 1950 to1953.  Most of the weapons in use by the United Nations (UN) forces including Canada, and the Communist opposition forces they faced in Korea were the same as those in use during the Second World War.  The North Korean forces were largely equipped with Soviet weapons and equipment including tanks, artillery, small arms and aircraft.  Although newer kinds of infantry weapons, radios, and vehicles had either been developed or were in production on both sides, few were sent to the theatre and no nuclear weapons came into play.  Communist arms were of more recent manufacture, or in better condition, than those in the hands of UN and Republic of Korea (ROK) soldiers in 1950, and included the standard Soviet model AK-47 automatic rifle.

One significant development on the battlefield was the use of helicopters for reconnaissance, transport, and evacuation on a largescale.  Modern jet fighters including the North American F-86 Sabre, were deployed when Communist forces first introduced their MiG-15.

Throughout the combat action in Korea, enemy forces managed to capture and make use of significant numbers of UN weapons and equipment.  In the first three months of the war, the North Korean People's Army (NK) secured enough equipment from ROK and US divisions to equip several of their own.  Early in the war the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF), were often equipped with Western arms that had originally been supplied to the Nationalist government both during and after the Second World War which had fallen into Communist hands.  

The Chinese also had considerable quantities of surrendered Japanese weapons, from rifles to field artillery.  The principal source of armament for the NK combatants, however, and, after the first year also for the CCF, was the Soviet Union.  The majority of these weapons and equipment had been in use during the Second World War.  A number of weapons used by the Communist forces were brought to Canada as souvenirs and may be found in military museums across the country including a few of the following weapons in the NBMHM.

Yugoslav 7.62-mm Simonov M59.66 (SKS) carbine.  This is a bolt-action rifle of 1944 vintage.

Japanese 7.7-mm Model 99 (1939) Imperial Army rifle with 5-round internal box magazine.  Many were seized from the Kwantung Army by the Soviets in 1945 and turned over to the CCF.  Rifles were largely discarded when submachine guns became available in quantity.

Soviet 7.62-mm Shpagin PPSh41 submachine gun.  The “paypayshah” SMG held a 72-round drum magazine or a 35-round curved box magazine. This SMG was inexpensive to make, simple to operate and could function well in battlefield conditions.

Soviet 7.62-mm Tokarev SVT40 semi-automatic rifle.  This rifle was fitted with a flash hider and bipod.  There are a number of different machine guns that were used by the NK and CCF.

Soviet 7.62-mm SG43 Goryunov Heavy Machine Gun, wheel mounted.

Soviet 14.5-mm PTRD-1941 anti-tank rifle.  Originally designed to penetrate armour, in the Korean War it was primarily used against vehicles and for long-range sniping.  Each North Korean division was equipped with 36 PTRD-1941.

Chinese stick hand grenades.

Soviet 61-mm, 82-mm and 120-mm Mortars.  An NK regiment had six 120-mm mortars, each of its 3 battalions had nine 82-mms, and the 61-mms were deployed at company level. Their 82-mm and 61-mm guns could use US 81-mm and 60-mm ammunition, which the Communists captured in large quantities.

Rocket launchers and recoilless rifles were not standard NK or CCF issue, but were used when captured.

Soviet 45-mm AT Gun, 76-mm Field Gun, 76-mm SU-76 SP Gun and 122-mm Howitzer.  A division contained twelve 122-mm howitzers, twenty-four 76-mm field guns, twelve 76-mmSU-76 self propelled guns, and twelve 45-mm anti-tank guns.  In addition, each of a division's three regiments was issued four 76-mm howitzers, and the 122-mm howitzer was also furnished by the Soviets.

Soviet T-34/85 main battle tank, weighing 35 tons and capable of 34 mph, had excellent traction and was well suited to Korean terrain. One is on display in the Canadian War Museum; another is on display at the Base Borden Military Museum, and a third is with 3 CDSB Edmonton.

Canadian Nursing Sisters

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

Canadian Nursing Sister ministering to a soldier in the Great War (1914-1918), maniquin display in the New Brunswick Military History Museum, 5 CDSB Gagetown, New Brunswick.

In April 1885, orders were issued from Ottawa requesting that a medical and surgical department be organized for service in the Northwest.  This led to Canada’s Nursing Sisters taking to the field later that year, providing care to the Canadian troops sent to putdown the North-West Rebellion.  A total of seven nurses, under the direction of Reverend Mother Hanna Grier Coome, served in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan served a tour of duty which lasted four weeks, providing treatment to wounded soldiers.  With the discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1898, a contingent of Royal Canadian Dragoons was sent to the Klondike to reinforce the Northwest Mounted Police.  Included with this contingent were four members of the Victorian Order of Nurses.  

Following the formation of the Canadian Army Medical Department in June of 1899, the Canadian Army Nursing Service was created and four Canadian nurses were dispatched along with the volunteer force of 1,000 other Canadians to South Africa.  They were granted the relative rank, pay and allowances of an army lieutenant. Before the war was over on 31 May 1902, eight Canadian Nursing Sisters and more than 7,000 Canadian soldiers had volunteered for service in South Africa.

(Balloch Family Photo)

Pauline Douglas Balloch, of Centreville, N.B., seated at her desk.  She joined the Canadian Army Medical Corps in the spring of 1917.   Pauline D. Balloch, a nurse from Centreville N.B. Pauline was a graduate nurse and an experienced professional employed in Toronto. She joined the CAMC (Canadian Army Medical Corps) in May of 1917, and served overseas at No. 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital BEF, France.  Visiting her parents at their general store in Centreville on her way to Halifax and overseas, she tried to reassure them that she would be safe. It was a message she had to repeat often in her letters as she travelled to England and then to France.  In the end, Pauline did return home safely.  As it turned out, her parents' fears were not unfounded. The hospital ship on which she returned was sunk by a German U-boat a few months later and her good friend and fellow nurse was killed by German bombing at the hospital she had served at in France.  Over 3,500 Canadian women served as nurses in the CAMC and 45 perished.  Very few collections of nurses’ letters, let alone women's correspondence, have survived.

At the beginning of the Great War of 1914-18 there were five Permanent Force nurses and 57 listed in reserves. By 1917, the Canadian Army Nursing Service included 2,030 nurses (1,886overseas) with 203 on reserve.  In total, 3,141 Canadian nurses volunteered their services.  Because of their blue dresses and white veils they were nicknamed the "bluebirds".

In many ways, the First World War was a time of great change and innovation in the field of military medical services.  At first, medical units were set up in hospitals. However, the eventual establishment of Casualty Clearing Stations provided faster and more effective treatment to the injured at the front line.

One of the innovations of the First World War Medical Services was the introduction of the hospital ship. These ships were also subject to the dangers of enemy attack.  On the night of 27 June 1918, the Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle was torpedoed by a German U-boat and 234 people lost their lives, including all 14 sisters on board.

A total of 3,141 Nursing Sisters served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and 2,504 of those served overseas in England, France and the Eastern Mediterranean at Gallipoli, Alexandria and Salonika.  By the end of the First World War, approximately 45 Nursing Sisters had given their lives, dying from enemy attacks including the bombing of a hospital and the sinking of a hospital ship, or from disease. The Nursing Sisters’ Memorial in the Hall of Honour in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa commemorates their service.

During the Second World War the Canadian nursing service was expanded to all three branches of the military, each branch having its own distinctive uniform and working dress, while all wore the Nursing Sisters’ white veil.  They were all commissioned officers.  By the end of the war 4,480 Nursing Sisters had enlisted, including: 3,656 with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, 481 with the Royal Canadian Air Force Medical Branch, and 343 with the Royal Canadian Naval Medical Service.  During an air raid on Catania, Sicily, on 2 September1943, an anti-aircraft shell fell on No. 5 Canadian General Hospital and 12Nursing Sisters were wounded.  With the end of the war in Europe, the medical units gradually disbanded.  Some of the Nursing Sisters as well as other personnel stayed on with the Army of Occupation to care for both military and civilian prisoners of war.

During the Battle of the Atlantic, which lasted for the duration of the war, the Canadian Navy had two hospital ships, the Letitia and the Lady Nelson. Both were staffed by army sisters. The navy sisters served on naval bases on both coasts of Canada, in Newfoundland, and at HMCS Niobe, Scotland.  Sub-Lt. Agnes Wilkie died following more than two hours of struggle to hold out in alife boat, after the sinking of the SS Caribou on 13 October 1942, inthe Cabot Strait off Newfoundland.

The Nursing Service of the Royal Canadian Air Force was authorized in November 1940.  More than 100 station hospitals were built and the Nursing Sisters were more and more in demand. Some of them were trained for evacuation by air, 12 served in Newfoundland to participate in air-sea rescue missions and 66 served overseas.By the end of the Second World War, 3,649 Nursing Sisters had served in the Army, 481 in the Air Force and 343 in the Navy.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194287)

Nursing Sisters of No. 10 Canadian General Hospital, RCAMC, landing at Arromanches, France, 23 July1944.

At the end of the Second World War a total of 80 nurses, 30 RCAMC, 30 RCAF and 20 RCN sisters joined the permanent force and served at military establishments across the country; many more staffed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospitals to care for hundreds of returning Veterans.  Nursing Sisters continued to serve with the Armed Forces after the end of the Second World War.  During the United Nations Operations in Korea, 60 RCAMC Nursing Sisters served in Japan and Korea. RCAF Sisters qualified as Flight Nurses, flew air evacuation with casualties to Canada.  Others served on the Air Ambulance in Canada.  Another specialty was the formation of a para-rescue service with five RCAF volunteering, four of whom received the Para-rescue Badge.  With Canada’s commitment to NATO, Canadian nurses served in Europe with the RCAMC in Soest, Germany, while RCAF Sisters served at fighter bases in France and Germany.

Nursing Officers continue to serve in the present day Canadian Armed Forces Medical Service, many having deployed on tours of duty overseas in the Gulf War, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Somalia, Afghanistan and Mali.  Internet:

RML 9-pounder8-cwt Gun

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

The NBMHM has a Rifled Muzzle Loaded (RML) 9-pounder 8-cwt Gun on display inside the main display area.  This field gun was developed by a British officer, William Palliser.  With a range of 3,300 metres, the RML 9-pounder threw a shell fitted with studs that held and slid along three grooves which lined the gun’s bore.

The 9-pounder was the first Gun used by the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery in action.  “A” Battery employed six of this type of gun at the battles of Fish Creek and Batoche during the Riel Rebellion in 1885 in the North West Campaign.  The 9-pounder arrived in 1873 and within the decade, it was being used extensively throughout the Regiment.

In the autumn of 1873, Lieutenant-Colonel (later Major-General Sir) George A.  French, the first Commandant of A Battery Garrison Artillery, was appointed as the first Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police.  Together with 32 Gunners of A and B Batteries, he formed the nucleus of the new police force.

In February 1874, North West Mounted Police Commissioner George French travelled from Lower Fort Garry to Ontario to meet with the Governor General, Lord Dufferin.  Responding immediately to French’s concerns about the possible outbreak of armed conflict at Fort Whoop-Up, Lord Dufferin cabled England for two 16 pound mortars and two 9-pounder 8-cwtGuns.  These guns would be manned by members of the North West Mounted Police. (RCAM)

In1879, there were sixteen artillery batteries in Canada.  Up to 1871, with one exception, these batteries had been armed with SBML Brass field pieces including three guns and one howitzer to each battery.  From that time forward, all batteries were armed with the RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Gun with “modern wrought iron carriages with Madras Wheels from the Woolwich Royal Gun and carriage factories.”  At this time there were 60 RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Guns in service with the Canadian Militia.[1]

RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Guns were used by Canadian gunners for over 25years.  There are at least 35 RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Guns on display in Canada, including four in New Brunswick.  The one shown above is inside the NBMHM is an RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Gun, weight 8-1-4(928 lbs), (Serial No. 1520), Firth Steel on the muzzle, W arrow D, R.C.D.1877, No. 459, I, stamped on the iron carriage with wood wheels.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

One is mounted outdoors at Fort Hughes in the Sir Douglas Hazen Park in Oromocto. It is an RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Gun, weight 8-1-8 (932 lbs), stamped 1873, (Serial No. 2857), mounted on a field carriage stamped Sir W.G. Armstrong and Co., Newcastle on the Tyne.  This gun was used in the North West Rebellion, 1885.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

A third gun is on display outdoors at the Kennebecassis Yacht Club in Saint John.  It is an RML 9-pounder 8-cwt Gun, weight 8-1-1 (925 lbs), stamped1873, (Serial No. 92), I, mounted on an iron field carriage, stamped RCD 1873,Sir W.G. Armstrong and Co., Newcastle on the Tyne.  1042 Millidge Ave.

(Harold Skaarup Photo)

The fourth 9-pounder 8-cwt Muzzleloading Rifle, weight 8-1-13 (937 lbs), Queen Victoria cypher, Sir W.G. Armstrong and Co., No. 285, Newcastle on the Tyne on the left trunnion.  This gun was previously located at Maces Bay. It now stands outside the Keswick Ridge Historical Society Museum.

[1] Sessionial Papers (No. 5),A. 1879, Appendix No. 8.   Thomas Wily, Director of Stores and Keeper of Militia Properties, and Colonel W. Powell, Adjutant-General of Militia, Ottawa, 27 Dec 1878, p. 280.