Today as I look out the window at that beautiful park, I notice that something is missing. The park was home to two old WWI German guns. They have been moved earlier yesterday to an off-site facility so that they can be restored to their original condition.
The restoration project will involve replacing missing parts, repairing damaged and rusted components, and cleaning, coating, and re-painting the guns using the original German colours and pattern. Once refurbished, the guns will be re-mounted in the park with recessed lighting this summer.
The two field guns are German 77 mm Feldkanone 99 Neuer Art Field Guns, both captured by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, a BC regiment, in 1917 – one at Vimy Ridge and the other at the Battle of Cambria. They came in to Township’s possession in 1920 after a request to the federal Commission of War Records and Trophies by the Township Council of the day. Properly caring for and maintaining the guns – which together comprise two of only three known guns of this type in the province – is the responsibility of the Township and is the condition of taking custody of them.
Every now and then you will see a school class in the park with a member of the Legion who will tell them stories of the two Great Wars. Then throughout the year, the classes will do projects and end with the Remembrance Day Ceremonies where the children lay a wreath. This passing on of history is so important to all of us. It makes us remember why we are speaking English and French and not German or Japanese.
A simple old gun in a park, captured from a country hell bent on destroying the world, has so many stories to tell. Without the folks at the Legion to pass these on, they would be nothing but a chunk of rusty old metal taking up space. As our members are still battling the world’s Mephistopheles, let’s give them a “thank you” for their service, and when we see a member of the Legion, don’t think of them as an aging old person, but a historian and the keeper of wisdom. Take a moment to think where we would be without them and make sure you thank them for their service both past and present.