Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Artillery (1) British Columbia, Colwood, Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada

Artillery preserved in the province of

British Columbia, Colwood,  Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada

Data current to 26 Sep July 2019.

The aim of this website is to locate, identify and document every historical piece of artillery preserved in Canada.  Many contributors have assisted in the hunt for these guns to provide and update the data found on these web pages.  Photos are by the author unless otherwise credited.  Any errors found here are by the author, and any additions, corrections or amendments to this list of Guns and Artillery in Canada would be most welcome and may be e-mailed to the author at hskaarup@rogers.com.

For all official data concerning the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, please click on the link to their website:

Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Website

Note: Back in the day, artillery in Canada was referred to by its radio call sign "Sheldrake".  It is now referred to by its "Golf" call sign.  (Acorn sends)

British Columbia

Colwood,  Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site of Canada

Diagram of artillery located at Fort Rodd Hill.

 (grayllinq Photos)

 (Terry Honour Photo)

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

13-pounder 8-cwt Muzzleloading Rifle, weight 8-0-0 (896 lbs), (Serial No. 1230), mounted on a wheeled R.C.D. (Royal Carriage Department) gun carriage from the 1890s, on display along the main path through the site.  Six of these 13-pounders were British Royal Marine Artillery brought to Victoria in 1893,  When the British departed they were left behind.  This appears to be the only remaining 13-pounder 8-cwt in Canada.  Displayed near the exit to the site, this gun is on its original carriage which has had all of the woodwork of the wheels and seats reconstructed.  Six of these guns were sent to Esquimalt while the Royal Marine Artillery garrison was serving here in the 1890s.  This was the standard British field artillery weapon in the 1880s and early 1890s, but these guns were rare in Canada, where the Canadian army adopted the lighter 9-pounder RML gun designed for the horse artillery as their standard weapon, as it was more suitable for the difficult terrain and poor roads generally found in Canada. 

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

6-pounder 8-cwt Quick Firing (QF) Mk. I Hotchkiss Gun (Serial No. 502), mounted on a Hotchkiss cone/pedestal mount Mk I, Belmont Battery.  This gun is mounted on its original garrison carriage but is without its breech, sights and other fittings. It is displayed near the exit to the sites.  These guns were the first type of Quick Firing (QF) gun in British service and were widely used in the coast artillery and the navy as a defence against torpedo boats.  Two guns of this type were mounted in the Victoria- Esquimalt coast defences from c.1900-1904 at Duntze Head Battery.  They were replaced here, and in most British empire coast artillery sites, by the 12-pounder QF guns. 

 (Author Photo, 30 Jan 2019)

6-pounder 8-cwt Quick Firing (QF) Mk. I Hotchkiss Gun barrel, on a wood stand in front of the Museum entrance.  This gun barrel has no breech.

QF 4.7-inch coast defence gun with shield on a garrison mount.  Two 4.7-inch guns were located at Yorke Island, they were later replaced with 6-inch guns.  (DND Photo)

6-inch BL Gun, one of three installed in coastal defence positions at Point Grey during the Second World War.  (DND Photos)

 (Trevor Adams Photo)

6-inch Breechloading Gun Mk. III/IV (No. 302) weight unknown, mounted on a display base under a replica gin triangle (used for mounting and dismounting guns and carriages on and from traversing platforms), Lower Battery.

 (Maxwell Toms Photos)

 

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

6-inch Breechloading Mk. VI Gun (No. 841), on Mk. IV Disappearing Garrison Carriage in the Upper Battery.  One of two, this gun was first test-fired in 1897.  This is the gun barrel originally mounted in this battery in 1897 on a Mk. 4 HydroPneumatic (HP) disappearing carriage.  Two more guns of this type were originally mounted in the Lower Battery at Fort Rodd Hill, and three more at Macaulay Point Battery in Esquimalt. 

 (Trevor Adams Photo)

 (Terry Honour Photos)

6-pounder 10-cwt QF Mk. I Guns on Mk. I 6-pounder Twin Mounting, Belmont Battery.

 (Terry Honour Photos)

 6-pounder 10-cwt QF Mk. I Guns on Mk. I 6-pounder Twin Mounting, Belmont Battery.  Port side gun, breech open.

 (Terry Honour Photos)

6-pounder 10-cwt QF Mk. I Guns on Mk. I 6-pounder Twin Mounting, Belmont Battery, installed in 1944.  Starboard side gun, breech closed.   This gun is mounted in an emplacement designed for it and constructed in 1944 at Belmont Battery.  The gun is complete, and its range finder, two spare barrels and various spare parts are displayed in the Belmont Battery artillery store.  This gun, and all the other guns of this type in Canada, were removed from their batteries in 1956 and given to Norway as part of a NATO mutual aid agreement.  This gun was returned by the Norwegian government in1983.

From the LAC files, mounting No. 149 had Gun No. L/228 on the left, and Gun No. L/247 on the right while it was installed at Sydney, Nova Scotia in South Bar Battery in 1943.  Confirmation that the serial numbers were Canadian is in the official war records.  The position of the barrels may have been reversed when the guns were transferred from the East to the West coast.  (Doug Knight) 

 (British Government Photo, ca 1897)

12-pounder BL 6 cwt field gun. This British gun was donated to the site in the early 1970s after having been discovered in a dump in Nanaimo, BC.  While most of the metal parts of the carriage have survived, they are badly corroded.  Nothing remains of the wheels or their hubs and the breech is missing.  The barrel and carriage have been stabilized by Parks Canada staff, but it is considered that too much of the gun is missing for it to be displayed.  This type of gun was adopted in Britain for Horse Artillery in 1900 and the type was used by Canadian gunners in South Africa.  Several of these guns were issued to the 5th (BC) Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery in Victoria about 1910, to replace the 13-pounder RML field guns previously in service.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM54-S4-: Mil P290.09)

HMCS Rainbow, with a civilian examining one of her 12-pounder 12-cwt QF Mk. I Guns, 20 July 1914. 

 (Maxwell J. Toms Photos)

 (Trevor Adams Photo)

12-pounder 12-cwt QF Mk. I Gun (Serial No. 2767), on Mk. I Garrison Carriage, Belmont Battery.  This gun originally came from Halifax, ca 1902-1943, and is currently on loan since 1975 from the RCA Museum, CFB Shilo, Manitoba.  This gun is mounted in the right-hand 12-pounder gun emplacement at Belmont Battery.  Two guns of this type were mounted in this battery from 1900 to 1944.  Guns of this type were also mounted at other batteries in the Victoria-Esquimalt defences (at Duntze Head, Black Rock, Golf Hill and Ogden Point) and during the Second World War in the defences of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.  These guns were also mounted on some smaller naval vessels which served in BC waters, including several Canadian Bangor Class minesweepers. The gun is displayed without its breech, but the breech is in storage at the site.

1-inch aiming rifle. This was a British standard sub-calibre insert for the 12-pounder 12-cwt QF gun, and was used to allow live firing practices to take place with much cheaper ammunition.  This piece is on loan from the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum, Shilo, Manitoba.

 (Maxwell Toms Photo)

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

American 90-mm M1A1 Anti-Aircraft Gun, 72382 stamped on the barrel, Chevrolet, and General Motors stamped on the breech.  The left indicator regulator (M1A1) on the gun bears a plate with the serial number 19873.  This gun is on display near the parking lot.   This type of gun was used by the American army during the Second World War, but it was not adopted by the Canadian army until the early 1950s when it replaced the British 3.7 inch anti-aircraft gun.  The breech of this gun has been welded shut and the wheels used when the gun is being transported have been removed.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1184-S3-: CVA 1184-629)

40-mm Bofors Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, University Point, British Columbia, 1943.

  (Maxwell Toms Photos)

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

40-mm Bofors Light Anti-Aircraft Gun, on display along the main path, near the exit.  This gun is complete on its carriage and has been painted in the colours of the 27th AA Regiment, RCA, which mounted such a gun in the Lower Battery at Fort Rodd Hill in the later part of the Second World War.  Designed by the Swedish Bofors company, the 40-mm has been built under licence in many countries and was the standard light antiaircraft gun in British, Canadian and American army service during the Second World War.

40-mm Bofors Light Anti-Aircraft Guns with searchlights mounted on a Canadian National Railways Armoured Train, 12 July 1942.  (Library and Archives Canada Photos, MIKAN No. 3224686 and 3224683).

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-1141)

Colonel J.S. McGlashan firing a 3.7 inch Anti-aircraft gun in service, Vancouver, 1943.

Fort Rodd Hill Anti-Aircraft placard.

3.7 inch Anti-aircraft gun in service with the 43 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RCA for the defence of Vancouver, ca 1945.  (DND Photo)

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-1225)

3.7 inch Anti-aircraft gun in service at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, 1943. 

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-1225.2)

3.7 inch Anti-aircraft gun in service at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, 1943. 

 (Terry Honour Photo) 

 (Maxwell Toms Photos)

3-pounder QF sub-calibre Gun (Serial No. 1403), for 6-inch BL Gun Mks. VII, XI and XII, on display in the Lower Battery artillery store.   It was designed to be inserted into the breech end of a 6-inch gun barrel to allow live firing practices to be carried out using very much cheaper ammunition.  This gun has been on loan since 1975 from the RCA Museum, CFB Shilo, Manitoba.

 (Trevor Adams Photos)

 

 (Author Photos, 30 Jan 2019)

9.2-inch Breechloading Gun, weight 59 ¼-cwt (6,636 lbs), mockup made for display, mounted on an original 30-ton Gun Drug Mk. I, 1902, R.C.D. (Royal Carriage Department), Reg. No.  S. 18681.  This gun was discovered behind the Menzies Street Drill Hall in Victoria in the early 1970's.  It is presumed to have been supplied by the navy to the 5th (BC) Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery, to allow the gunners to practice repository drill, and was apparently buried soon after the regiment moved to the Bay Street Armoury in 1915. 

Fort Rodd Hill, 28-ton gun placard.

British 9.2-inch Breechloading Gun, Mk. III or Mk. VI HMS Iron Duke, mounted on a Mk. I railway truck, in action at Maricourt, France, during the Battle of the Somme, Sep 1916.  (British Government Photo)

British Armstrong Whitworth 12-inch railway gun mounted on a Mk. II railway carriage, Arras, France, Nov 1917.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3194826), and (John Warwick Booth Photo).

British Armstrong Whitworth 12-inch railway gun mounted on a Mk. II railway carriage, France, 1917.  (Daily Mail Postcard)

British Armstrong Whitworth 12-inch railway gun mounted on a Mk. II railway carriage, France, 1917.  (Ernest Brooks Photo)

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site         

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site is a 19th-century coastal artillery fort on the Colwood, British Columbia side of Esquimalt Harbour, (Greater Victoria/Victoria BC Metropolitan Area).  The site is adjacent to Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site, the first lighthouse on the west coast of Canada.  Both the fort and lighthouse are managed and presented to the public by Parks Canada.

Between February 1894 and October 1897, two separate forts were constructed: one at Macaulay Point (site of earlier earthwork batteries), and an entirely new location at Rodd Hill, a bluff of rock overlooking the western side of the narrow entrance to Esquimalt harbour.  Both forts would each mount three 6-inch disappearing guns (Mk VI barrels on a Mk IV mounting).  Because of limitations of space in Rodd Hill, two of these guns were mounted with a common magazine in the “Lower Battery”, while the third required a separate battery (along with an underground magazine, loopholed wall, water supply, guardhouse, etc.) on another, higher hill some 200 meters away, named, logically, the “Upper Battery.”

Fort Rodd Hill 6-inch gun emplacement placard.

These guns were sited in concrete emplacements ten feet thick, which were in turn protected by the rock massif of the hillside into which they were sunk.  The barrels were normally kept down in the loading position, within the protection of the concrete emplacement (which also had an overhead metal shield).  Using a central Observation Post and remote electric dial system to pass target information, the guns would be loaded and aimed while in the “down” position.  Only when actually about to fire, would the large hydro-pneumatic system raise the 5-tonne barrel up over the parapet.

The strength of the system was that the barrel was exposed to the enemy for a minimal amount of time, and with naval guns of the time firing on a flat trajectory, it was virtually impossible for an enemy ship to drop a shell on the emplacement, with its sloping rock glacis in front.  Disadvantages of the system included a slow rate of fire (perhaps one shot every two minutes), and a propensity for the complicated hydro-pneumatic system to leak.

The 6-inch guns used “non-fixed ammunition”, that is, the explosive cartridge that propelled the shell was stored and loaded separately from the shell or shot.  Cartridges were made of raw silk, and stored in wooden crates in a special high-security section of the underground magazine.  There were five types of shell on the Fort Rodd manifest in 1897: High Explosive (Lyddite), Armour-piercing, Common Pointed (for non-armoured maritime targets), and Shrapnel.  The other class of projectile (and the one most often fired) was a solid steel shot (without any cavity for explosives or fuses, it was cheapest to produce). The shells and shot all had the same service weight of 94 pounds (to simplify calculation of elevation and depression) and diameter of 6 inches (150 mm); therefore, lengths of the various types varied.

In addition to these medium guns (intended to fend off an attack by up to six enemy light cruisers), smaller quick-firing guns were sited, in order to deal with the potential threat of fast, unarmoured torpedo boats.  At Fort Rodd, a separate emplacement, called Belmont Battery was constructed to house two Quick-Firing 12-pounder guns, which were assisted by two sets of “Defence Electric Lights” (searchlights), which were powered by diesel engines and generators concealed in an engine room built into the landward side of a hill.

For heavy, “counter-bombardment” defence, a battery of 9.2-inch guns was built at Signal Hill, on the east side of Esquimalt harbour; in the event, these guns did not become active until 1912, and even then were rarely fired, as the concussion caused much damage to windows in Esquimalt village, directly below the battery.  (Information courtesy of the Fort Rodd Hill Visitor Centre)