Dear Departed Guns

This section will include unique trophy guns I believe to have been destroyed (and wish had not). If you see one of these, stop whatever you are doing and report in to me!

8 cm Anti-Aircraft (45 calibres) with a kreuzlafette cruciform carriage. Here is a photo of an 8.8 captured in the Amiens offensive of Aug. 8th, 1918:

Gun captured during the Amiens Offensive, on the way to the gun park. LAC PA-003050.

8.8 cm AA Gun captured during the Amiens Offensive, on the way to the gun park. LAC PA-003050.

This Anti-aircraft gun was one of very few brought back to Canada. Forced to adapt to an evolving threat from observation, fighter, and bomber aircraft, German AA weapons evolved from a field-gun on a precarious scaffold, through the strange “flaming onion” 37mm revolving gun. Later designs such as this one paved the way for the fearsome 8.8 cm Flak guns of the Second World War. This appears to have been taken in Ottawa or Toronto, an identical gun languished behind the Public Archives on Sussex drive in Ottawa until it was melted down in WW2.


Austrian gun, the only time you may ever see the name of the head of the Public Archives (Now Library and Archives Canada) painted on a howitzer barrel!


 Actually Colonel Doughty (later Sir Arthur Doughty) is identified as the “Director of War Trophies.” What a job! This appears to be an Austrian M14/16 149mm howitzer tube that is on its transport carriage. This would have been singled out as a valuable trophy because Austrian pieces would normally be found on the Eastern and Italian fronts.

f1548_s0393_it15666captures of 13,22,27battnin toronto1919


[/caption]Morsers gone wild! Yes, there were about two dozen of these 8-ton monsters shipped back to Canada. Now there are 3.  The gun in the Plains of Abraham battlefield Park in Quebec City could be the center gun, locked in full recoil.  All these appear to be Morser pattern 1916s, with slightly longer barrels than the War Museum 1910 pattern gun.

Vimy Ridge-who ever heard of that? Guns from this iconic battle that were not deemed important enough to keep.

Morser 21cm pattern 1910 captured by the 27th Battalion (Winnipeg) at VImy, 9 April 1917(Library and Archives Canada, Mikan # 3397851)

Morser 21cm pattern 1910 captured by the 27th Battalion (Winnipeg) at Vimy, 9 April 1917(Library and Archives Canada, Mikan # 3397851)

The 27th Battalion’s War Diary, recounting the historic events of April 9th-10th, 1917, notes the capture of several enemy canon near the village of Farbus, Vimy.  Of these, two massive 21cm Siege Howitzers, (described by the imperial measurement of 8.2″ howitzers) stand out.  One was photographed by official photographers; its barrel and shield conspicuously marked with the unit’s claim.  Two days later, the war diarist thought them important enough to record serial numbers and the fact that they had been chalked with the Unit name (the exact locations these pieces were captured also appears by map reference).  The massively reinforced German firing positions (to hamper counter-battery fire by the Allies) can be seen.  This Morser pattern 1910 howitzer has gunner’s shield fitted and shoes on the wheels.  The two Morser’s captured by the 27th were serial numbers 418 and 590.  Unfortunately for the City of Winnipeg, these pieces did not wind up back in Canada.  Their fate remains a mystery.  The 27th lost 57 men killed and 143 wounded in the Vimy advance. The capture of massive artillery after so much stalemate would suggest that these two wound up in the large Allied displays of war trophies in Paris or London.


4 thoughts on “Dear Departed Guns

  1. “To D.D.O.S….” on the recuperator mounting of the 88mm AA gun refers to “Deputy Director Ordnance Services”, suggesting that this gun may have been sent for examination due to its rarity. The word beginning with “W” below that may be “Woolwich”

    • Very interesting. I knew there was a reason I posted such a massive version of that pic! Yes, Gun #110 was a very unique piece in Canada, and I have another photo of it just before it got scrapped, after almost 20 years of neglect behind the old public archives building on Sussex drive in Ottawa.

  2. The top line looks like it might be “For Special…” Could be “Special Park” or “Special Examination”; something like that. The war diaries of the Deputy Directors, Ordnance Services for the four Canadian divisions are now online at L.A.C.; at least in part. Maybe you would find some information in their records

    • Yes, it would seem that the War Diaries for the D.D.O.S. are not at LAC. I think that only the Assistant Dep. Dir. of Ordnance Services oversaw the Canadian Corps, and that the actual DDOS would have been at the Army level (therefore 1st or 2nd Armies, BEF), and so only available by going through the National Archives, UK. I’ve checked the relevant diaries of the Ordnance services (overall Corps level and divisions) available at LAC, and nothing much came up…great suggestion, though. Any other ideas?

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