The Silent Batteries: War Trophies of Canada

Welcome! This project intends to shed light on relics of the First World War’s Western Front scattered across Canada.  These captured weapons, in their day, were state-of-the-art. Quick-firing artillery did more than its share to turn the 1914-1918 war into an unprecedented human catastrophe.  Now they often sit on display beside the local memorials that commemorate soldiers they may have killed.  The original intent of trophy displays was to glorify the accomplishments of Canadian soldiers in a traditional display of the spoils of war.

For the Canadian Expeditionary Force they were also objects of pride; captures of large amounts of enemy equipment were seen as evidence that battalions had been tempered into shock-troops that, from April 1917 on, could overwhelm the enemy and break the deadlock.  Captured guns were proudly claimed by advancing units, and this was recorded on the guns themselves, and often in the War Diaries that units kept.  A century later, it is still possible to trace surviving guns, trench mortars, machine guns, and other odds-and-ends to specific actions. These artifacts can be seen as a single collection, in the way that the War Trophies Commission brought them to Canada, 1917-1919. When considered as a whole, this was one of the strongest collections of captured trophies in the World. Even after a hundred years of ravages, it is still remarkable.

This project hopes to give folks from around Canada the tools to identify pieces, find items that I was unaware of, and bring attention back to these artifacts before it is too late.  Pages in this section will provide the database and explanation to link community guns to specific info about their history, will showcase notable examples of what has survived in Canada and what has not, and will briefly explore the great exhibits of this material that were staged across Canada soon after the War. so now, BRING UP THE GUNS!

2 thoughts on “The Silent Batteries: War Trophies of Canada”

  1. We have tow War Trophies on display at Boyle Barracks Yukon, Whitehorse Cadet Training Centre. I will forward photos if you wish.

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