Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Artillery preserved in Canada 6: Québec, Gaspé, Fort Peninsula, Forillon National Park

Artillery preserved in the province of Québec, Gaspé, Fort Peninsula, Forillon National Park

Data current to 22 Dec 2018.

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

Une traduction au français pour l'information technique présente serait grandement apprécié. Vos corrections, changements et suggestions sont les bienvenus, et peuvent être envoyés au hskaarup@rogers.com

Canadian field batteries were combined to form the Royal CanadiaField Artillery (RCFA), which in 1905 became the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA).  The garrison companies would become the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery (RCGA).

Les batteries de campagne seront amalgamées plus tard au sein de la Royal Canadian Field Artillery (RCFA) qui, en 1905, deviendra la Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA): pour leur part, les compagnies de garnison donneront la Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery (RCGA).

Gaspé 

 (Author Photo)

French Cast Iron possible 1-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, heavily corroded early 18th century, mounted on a wood naval gun carriage inside the Museé de la Gaspésie. 

 (Author Photos)

Cast Iron 6-pounder Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, weight unknown, SOLID on the left trunnion, B on the right trunnion, 19 on the barrel, No. 1 mounted in front of the Hotel de Ville.

This Gun is on loan from the Museé de la Gaspésie.  The ‘B’ stands for Bersham, near Wrexham in north Wales, showing that this gun was cast by John Wilkinson at his foundry there. The legend ‘SOLID’ on the trunnion shows that this is a gun bored out of the solid, therefore at the time, both up-to-date and expensive.  In fact this gun is a ‘B-SOLID’ product of Bersham.  These guns are based on what became known as the ‘Armstrong pattern’ which was introduced into British military service in 1729 and was current up until 1787.   The gun can be dated to ca. 1773 (when the ‘B-SOLID’ trunnion mark makes its first appearance) to 1796.  The last known reference to Wilkinson supplying guns dates to 1796, when the final guns definitely marked with ‘B-SOLID’ were proofed on 9 -10 May for Wiggins and Graham.  These were not guns for government service, as they have no royal badge or any other markings on the barrel, and also they are shorter than the normal government pattern Cast Iron 6-pounder. SBML Gun.  Information from the Ordnance Bill Books for the period 1773 - 1796 indicates that standard lengths for government service were 6, 6½ and 7ft, although a few were made in non-standard sizes of 4½ and 8½ft.  Guns of this type were cast by gunfounders for the civilian market, usually for smaller merchant ships, coastal communities or landowners who wanted some defence but also wanted something lighter and cheaper than a normal gun.  (Dr Brian G. Scott)

 (Author Photos)

Cast Iron 12-pounder 35-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, weight 35-0-19 (3,939 lbs) above the touchhole, King George II cypher, ca. 1740, (B) on the right trunnion, No. 2 mounted on a wood box in front of the Hotel de Ville.  On loan from the Museé de la Gaspésie.

 (Author Photos)

Cast Iron 12-pounder 30-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Gun, weight 30-0-3 (3,363 lbs), W on the right trunnion, King George II cypher, ca. 1740, No. 3 mounted on a wood box in front of the Hotel de Ville.  On loan from the Museé de la Gaspésie. 

Gaspé, Memorial Park

25-pounder C Mk. 2 QF Field Gun with No. 9 circular firing platform, with its barrel locked in the recoil position, No. 1 beside the war memorial in a Community Park.

 (Streetview Photo)

6-pounder 7-cwt QF Anti-Tank Gun, No. 2 beside the war memorial in a Community Park.

Cast Iron 32-pounder 17-cwt Smoothbore Muzzleloading Carronade with a Blomefield pattern breeching ring, maker and Serial No. unknown, mounted on a wooden naval carriage near the Gaspé Lighthouse.

Gaspé Bay, Fort Peninsula, Forillon National Park

At the outbreak Second World War Canada’s Department of National Defence requisitioned the future site of Fort Peninsula and set up a coastal battery to protect Gaspé Port from possible enemy attack.  The Gaspé Bay is a vast natural port and offers one of the best harbours in North America.  Because it is well sheltered by both coastal relief and the sandy points of Penouille and Sandy Beach, the Gaspé basin was easy to defend.  In addition, large ships were able to drop anchor there.

Taking advantage of the natural features of Gaspé Bay, military strategists built a naval base there.  Fixed defences protected entry points.  This system included an anti-submarine net which stretched between Sandy Beach and Penouille and three coastal batteries: Fort Prével, Fort Haldimand and Fort Peninsula.

On 1 May 1942, the HMCS Fort Ramsay naval base was officially inaugurated.  Three months later, over 2000 men were dispatched to the base by all three arms of the Canadian military services, the Navy, Army, and Air Force.  The flotilla sent to the Gaspé included 19 warships: 5 minesweepers, 6 Fairmile patrol boats, 7 corvettes and an armed yacht.  The Air Force also dispatched a few amphibious planes.

 (Author Photos)

4.7-inch QF Mk. IV* "Star" Gun, 1902, mounted on No. 2748 CARR TRAV REc No. C9703, TEST.T.T.2, on a Central Pivot Mount Mk I.  No. 1 of 2.

Ce canon a tir rapide de calibre 4,7 pouces, modele B Mark IV Star, est situé au Fort Péninsule dans le Parc de Forillon, à Gaspé.  Ce canon a été construit en 1902. Il a une portée maximale de 8,775 m (9,600 verges). Le projectile est un obus à explosif brisant de 20,4 kg (45 livres.

ur les sentiers de la Seconde Guerre mondiale

Un épisode peu connu de la Seconde Guerre mondiale s'est déroulé dans la baie de Gaspé. Au début des hostilités, la Défense nationale réquisitionna le site du futur Fort Péninsule et y installa une batterie côtière afin de protéger le port de Gaspé contre une éventuelle attaque ennemie.

Tirant profit des avantages naturels de la baie de Gaspé, les stratèges militaires y construisent une base navale. Des défenses fixes en protègent les approches. Ce système comprend un filet anti-sous-marin, tendu entre Sandy Beach et Penouille et trois batteries côtières: Fort Prével, Fort Haldimand et Fort Péninsule.

Une rade stratégique

Vaste port naturel, la baie de Gaspé offre l'un des meilleurs havres d'Amérique. Bien abrité tant par le relief de la côte que par les pointes sablonneuses de Penouille et de Sandy Beach, le bassin de Gaspé est facile à défendre. De plus, les navires de fort tonnage peuvent y mouiller l'ancre.

La défense s'organise

Tirant profit des avantages naturels de la baie de Gaspé, les stratèges militaires y construisent une base navale. Des défenses fixes en protègent les approches. Ce système comprend un filet anti-sous-marin, tendu entre Sandy Beach et Penouille et trois batteries côtières: Fort Prével, Fort Haldimand et Fort Péninsule.

Le 1er mai 1942, la base navale « H.M.C.S. Fort Ramsay » est officiellement inaugurée. Trois mois plus tard, on y retrouve plus de 2 000 hommes détachés par les trois corps d'armée (Marine, Armée, Aviation). La flotte affectée à Gaspé regroupe 19 navires de guerre, dont 5 balayeurs de mines, 6 vedettes « Fairmile », un yacht armé et 7 corvettes. De plus, l'Aviation y affecte aussi quelques appareils amphibies.

L’ennemi à nos portes

Le 11 mai 1942, le sous-marin allemand U-553 torpille un premier bateau dans le golfe du Saint-Laurent. Le navire sombre au large de Cloridorme, petit village côtier de la péninsule Gaspésienne. Trois heures plus tard, le navire hollandais SS Leto connait le même sort dans les eaux avoisinantes.

Dès que le haut commandement de la Marine est informé de ces évènements, un système de convois maritime est mis sur pied. Le port de Gaspé est choisi comme base pour les escorteurs charges d’assurer la sécurité des navires marchands sur une partie du circuit Québec – Sydney.

 (Author Photos)

4.7-inch QF Mk. IV* "Star" Gun, 1903, mounted on a Central Pivot Mount Mk I.  No. 2 of 2.

Official records indicate these two 4.7-inch guns should be (Serial No. 1145) on mounting A8209 or CLP No. 8; and (Serial No. 1126) on mounting A2915 or CLP No. 7.

 

4.7-inch Naval gun construction, Regina, Saskatchewan 1944.  (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4317806)

4.7-inch Naval gun construction, Regina, Saskatchewan 1944.   (Library and Archives Canada Photo,MIKAN No. 4317807)

Gaspé, Fort Prével

 (Author Photos)

4.7-inch QF Mk. IV* "Star" Gun, RGF 1899, (Serial No. 793) mounted on an iron pivot.  No. 3.  This gun is mounted upside down with the gun shield mounted in reverse (which would have turned it into a deadly shot trap).  Records indicate this gun was originally mounted in a coastal defence position in Saint John, New Brunswick.  The No. 1 gun position still exists, but there is no gun or mount in it.

 (US War Departmetn, US Archives Photo)

This is a view of an American 6-inch gun on M1900 pedestal mount, showing how the gun shield is normally installed. 

 (Museé Gaspé Photo)

Gun platform previously used for a BL 10-inch M1888 Gun No. 7, mounted on Disappearing Carriage No. 22.  A second BL 10-inch M1888 Gun No. 36 mounted on M1893 Barbette Carriage No. 9 was also present.  Both guns were scrapped.  

From as early as 1941 German U-boats patrolled the Gulf of St. Lawrence and due to its strategic location fortified gun positions were built at a number of Gaspé sites.  These included the Fort Peninsula galleries at the entrance to Forillon National Park, the Fort Ramsay naval base at Sandy Beach, and the shoreline batteries at Cap-aux-Os and Fort- Prével.  The Fort Prével gun battery was equipped with two giant guns.  Remains of the battery can be viewed on the property of the Auberge Fort Prével located at 2053, boulevard Douglas, (highway 132) Saint-Georges-de-Malbaie.

Gaspé Bay, Fort Haldimand

Remains of defence positions.