Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Artillery preserved in Canada, 11: Yukon Territory, 12: Northwest Territories & 13: Nunavut

Artillery preserved in Canada:

Yukon Territory

Data current to 13 June 2017.

Dawson City

German First World War 15-cm schwere Feldhaubitze 1902 (15-cm sFH 02), (Serial Nr. 1169).  This gun was captured on 8 Aug 1918 by the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish), 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), near Aubercourt, France. The gun is No. 1 of 2 Guns in front of the cenotaph at Victory Gardens.  (Sandy Watson Photos)

German First World War 10.5-cm leichtes Feldhaubitze 16 (10.5-cm leFH 16), (Serial Nr. 6562), no data. The gun is apparently equipped with the shield from an sFH13. This weapon was likely captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in a Canadian Division with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France. The gun is No. 2 of 2 Guns in front of the cenotaph at Victory Gardens.  (Sandy Watson Photos)

German First World War 7.92-mm Maxim Spandau MG 08/15 Machinegun, (Serial Nr. 4218), 1917.  This weapon was captured by the 31st Battalion (Alberta), 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in France.  The MG 08/15 machine gun was originally allocated to Dawson City, Yukon.  Oshawa, Ontario also claims to have one with this serial number.

German First World War 7.92-mm Maxim Spandau MG 08 Machinegun (Serial Nr. TBC).  This weapon was likely captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in a Canadian Division with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France.

Steel 7-pounder 2-cwt Muzzleloading Rifle, mounted on a field carriage, possibly (Serial No. 1372), or (Serial No. 350) may be on display here, (TBC).

Whitehorse

German First World War 7.7-cm Feldkanone 16 (7.7-cm FK 16) Field Gun (Serial Nr. 7414).  This gun was captured on 27 Sep 1918 by the 102nd Battalion (Central Ontario), 11th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), West of Bourlon Wood, during the battle of Canal du Nord, France.  The gun was originally allocated to Dawson City.  This gun is located 13 km SE of Whitehorse at the Cadet Camp by Mary Lake.   (Photos courtesy of LCol Bruce Kiecker)
German First World War 17-cm mittlerer Minenwerfer (17-cm mMW), Medium Trench Mortar (Serial Nr. 5270).  This medium trench mortar was captured ca 1918 by a Battalion of an Infantry Brigade in the 2nd Canadian Division, Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), in France.  It was originally allocated to White Horse.  This trench mortar is located 13 km SE of Whitehorse at the Cadet Camp by Mary Lake.  (Photos courtesy of LCol Bruce Kiercker)

Northwest Territories

Yellowknife

Nunavut

Pangnirtung

Cast Iron 12-pounder 6-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Carronade with Blomefield-pattern breeching ring, weight TBC.  This Hudson’s Bay Company gun is mounted on a wood naval gun carriage.  It was placed here in the early 1900s and is chained to a rock on the East coast of Baffin Island.  The Carronade is a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, which was used by the Royal Navy and first produced by the Carron Company, an ironworks in Falkirk, Scotland.  It was used from the 1770s to the 1850s.  Its main function was to serve as a powerful, short-range anti-ship and anti-crew weapon.  While considered very successful early on, Carronades eventually disappeared as rifled naval artillery changed the shape of the shell and led to fewer and fewer close-range engagements. (Photo courtesy of Al Schoepp)

Queen Maud Gulf

Bronze 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, No. 1, on the wreck of HMS Erebus, lost during the Franklin Expedition.

Bronze 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, No. 2, on the wreck of HMS Erebus, lost during the Franklin Expedition.

HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in Pembroke dockyard, Wales in 1826. The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus.  The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars, - one 13-in (330-mm) and one 10-in (250-mm), and ten guns.  The ship was abandoned during the Franklin Expedition in 1848 and rediscovered in a submerged state in September 2014 after a long search.

HMS Terror, the other ship that was travelling with Erebus when it sank, has not yet been found but may also have had two SBML guns.  Franklin was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who departed England in 1845, looking to traverse the last uncharted sections of the Northwest Passage. The two ships became icebound and all 128 aboard were lost. A number of missions had tried to locate the wrecks, with the first setting out in 1848. Since 2008, Parks Canada has lead six major searches. On 12 September 2016, the Arctic Research Foundation announced that the wreck of Terror had been found in Nunavut's Terror Bay, off the southwest coast of King William Island.  The wreck was discovered 92 km (57 mi) south of the location where the ship was reported abandoned, and some 50 km (31 mi) from the wreck of  HMS Erebus, discovered in 2014.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, August 1841 by John Wilson Carmichael.

 

Congreve Rocket replica, Leipzig, Gewrmany.  (Author Photo)

During a recent visit to Germany I discovered a reproduction Congreve Rocket on display in the Leipzig Museum, located beside the massive monument to the coalition victory over Napoleon in 1913.  The Congreve rocket was a British military weapon designed and developed by Sir William Congreve in 1804, based directly on Mysorean rockets found in India.  The main user of Congreve rockets during the Napoleonic Wars was the Royal Navy, and men from the Royal Marine Artillery became experts in their use.  The navy converted HMS Galgo and HMS Erebus into rocket ships. This is one of the rockets connection to Canada, with the recent discovery of HMS Erebus. The 372-ton ship was armed with two mortars, including one 13-inch (330-mm) and one 10-inch (250-mm) mortar and 10 guns.  The ship took part in the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843.  It was abandoned during the Franklin Expedition in 1848 and rediscovered in a submerged state in September 2014 after a long search.

Two battalions of Royal Marines were sent to North America in 1813.  Attached to each battalion was a rocket detachment, each with an establishment of 25 men, commanded by lieutenants Balchild and John Harvey Stevens.  Both rocket detachments were embarked aboard the transport vessel Mariner.  Rockets were used in the engagements at Fort Oswego, and at Lundy's Lane in Ontario.

A third battalion of Royal Marines arrived in North America in 1814, with an attached rocket detachment commanded by Lieutenant John Lawrence, which subsequently participated in the Chesapeake campaign.  During this campaign, the British used rockets at the Battle of Bladensburg to rout the militia (which led to the burning and surrender of Washington, D.C.), and at the Battle of North Point.

 

HMS Erebus or HMS Terror.

It was the use of ship-launched Congreve rockets by the British in the bombardment of Fort McHenry in the US in 1814 that inspired the fifth line of the first verse of the United States' National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner": "and the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air". HMS Erebus fired the rockets from a 32-pound rocket battery installed below the main deck, which fired through portholes or scuttles pierced in the ship's side.

Also in Canada, rockets were used by the British at the Second Battle of Lacolle Mills, on 30 March 1814. Rockets fired by a detachment of the Royal Marine Artillery, though inaccurate, unnerved the attacking American forces, and contributed to the defence of the blockhouse and mill. Rockets were used again at the Battle of Cook's Mills, on 19 October 1814. An American force, sent to destroy General Gordon Drummond's source of flour, was challenged by a contingent of infantry which was supported by a light field cannon and a frame of Congreve rockets. The rockets succeeded in discouraging the Americans from forming lines on the battlefield.

Captain Henry Lane's 1st Rocket Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery embarked at the end of 1814 in the transport vessel Mary with 40 artillerymen and 500 rockets and disembarked near New Orleans. Lieutenant Lawrence's rocket detachment took part in the final land engagement of the War of 1812 at Fort Bowyer in February 1815.

...and for an interesting ending, a retired Canadian Gunner advised that Canadian Honest John Rocket Batteries wore black scarfs with their combat clothing - the Congreve rocket detachments wore black stocks on their uniforms. 

762-mm M31/M50 Honest John Rocket with M33 launcher trailer set-up and in operation in Canada the early 1950s.  (Library and Archives Canada Photos MIKAN Nos. 4235079)