Canadian Forces Museums hold an amazing array of objects relating to Canada’s military heritage, and the Museums at Garrison Petawawa are no exception!
At the Garrison Petawawa Military Museum you will learn:
Canada’s love affair with aviation began on a winter’s day in Nova Scotia, when a fragile plane took off from the ice-covered Bras d’Or Lake and flew for a half mile. The flight, on 23 February 1909, became an iconic moment in Canadian history.
What is little known is that this same plane, the Silver Dart, flew what is now considered the first military flight trials in Canada at Petawawa.
The story of the Silver Dart began with man’s desire to free himself from the bonds of earth. For hundreds of years, man had tried, with varied degrees of success, to gain flight. The French had succeeded with balloons in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and the great Leonardo da Vinci seriously considered the possibility of flight with his drawings for aircraft, including the Ornithopter, in the 15th century.
The Regiment was raised on 21 December 1883 as Canada’s first regular forces infantry regiment. Since then, Royal Canadians have served Canada in five wars, on four continents and in many crises and emergencies at home and abroad.
The first two deployments of the Regiment were to Saskatchewan to quell the Riel Resistance in 1885, and to the Yukon in 1896 to assist the North West Mounted Police in maintaining peace, order and good government during the Gold Rush. Three years later, hostilities between Great Britain and the Boer States erupted, and the Royal Canadians sailed immediately for South Africa, finally seeing action on a foreign battlefield on 1 January 1900.
This gallery is a amalgam of eight support units – 1 Canadian Field Hospital, 2 Field Ambulance, 1 Dental Detachment, Central Medical Equipment Depot, 2 Service Battalion, the Chaplains, 2 Military Police Platoon, and Headquarters and Signals Squadron – which provide support to the front line units and troops, and are vital to the success of any battle plan.
1 Canadian Field Hospital is the oldest medical unit in Canada. Formed in 1885 at the outbreak of the North West Rebellion, it was the first Canadian field unit to deploy to war since Korea when it deployed to the Gulf War in 1991. The Hospital has the capability to do everything a large urban hospital can, and with a full complement of staff, with the added luxury of being fully mobile.
The history of modern artillery spans thousand of years, with the earliest and most primitive types of artillery being the ballista and the catapult. Continual innovation resulted in massive, complex weapons – like the Russian Great Mortar of Moscow - and then a gradual return to the smaller, more mobile artillery pieces we are familiar with today.
On 1 September 1905, by General Order 200, the Royal Canadian Field Artillery became the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery - support cavalry rather than infantry. The Regiment served honourably during the Boer War, at the battles of Mafeking, Faber’s Putt, Belfast Station and Leliefontein. The Regiment continued to serve its country during the First and Second World Wars and the Korean Conflict. It was at Vimy Ridge in 1917 that the Regiment truly shone.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons is the senior armoured regiment with the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, and has continually served since its formation in 1883.
The Royal Canadian Dragoons was called in to quell the Riel Resistance in 1885, and won a battle honour for its actions. The Regiment served with distinction during the Boer War. During the Battle of Leliefontein on 7 November 1900, three Victoria Crosses were awarded to members of the Regiment for gallantry – a feat unmatched by any other Canadian regiment.
Engineers perform a multitude of tasks, including mine clearance, providing clean, usable water, road construction and maintenance, and minor building construction.
Formed as 1st Field Company Royal Canadian Engineers in 1931, 2CER is the senior regular force engineering unit in Canada. It served with distinction in Sicily, and North-west Europe during the Second World War. After the war it was renamed 23rd Field Company Royal Canadian Engineers to honour the wartime 23rd Canadian Field Company, which was responsible for the evacuation of over 2000 soldiers of the 1st British Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden. This evacuation is highlighted in the gallery through an interactive diorama.
The Regiment of Canadian Guards was formed in 1953. It was truly a national regiment, with men being recruited from sea to sea. The Regiment used national symbolism in its identity – the use of 10 points on its cap badge (for the 10 provinces), the adoption of Canada’s motto, the use of the national colors in the shoulder flashes and bearskin plumes. The Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, took a personal interest in the development of the Regiment and the design of the uniforms.
427 Squadron, also known as the “Lion Squadron” was formed on 7 November 1942 at Croft, Yorkshire. Between 1942 and 1945 the Squadron completed 3277 operational sorties, flying Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and Lancasters, and assisted in the liberation of Allied prisoners of war. During the Second World War, the squadron had strong connections to Hollywood, and was supported in their activities by a bevy of Hollywood starlets.
Between 1945 and the present day, the Lions have flown as a strike/attack squadron, tactical helicopter squadron and most recently, a special operations squadron, flying Sabre Mark III jets, the famous “Starfighter”, the L19 “Bird Dog”, the Kiowa, Twin Huey, and Griffon helicopters. Today it provides tactical airlift of troops and equipment, casualty evacuation, and logistical support.