Located in Calgary, Alberta, is The Military Museums (yes, plural). The building complex contains museums honoring the Air Force, Navy and Army, along with various divisions within the Army. Plan on spending several hours here, as there is a lot to see.
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Established in 1914 during World War I, the PPCLI is one of Canada’s most famous regiments. It was named after Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Below depicts PPCLI soldiers using the Lewis Gun, an anti-aircraft machine gun used during WWII.
The PPCLI not only served during WWI, WWII and Korea, but most recently in Afghanistan. They had on display LAV III “Charlie” which was used in 2008 in Afghanistan.
Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC)
Almost 22,000 women were a part of the CWAC, and were stationed at Army bases in Canada and overseas. The women provided support services in transportation, medical and administrative areas. The museum pays tribute to their service. The CWAC was demobilized after WWII ended.
Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
The RCAF was founded on April 1, 1924. The airman’s uniform was modeled after the Royal Air Force blue uniforms.
The museum has models of all the planes used by the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII. It’s a model airplane lovers dream display.
A separate building held several airplanes used by the RCAF. A CF-104 Starfighter was on display.
There was a platform to view the cockpit of the Starfighter.
The museum also contained a CF-18 Hornet.
How do you tell the difference between a Canadian Hornet and an American version? The Canadian Hornet has a large light on the side by the cockpit. It is used for identifying aircraft in the darkness of the Canadian Artic.
This was my favorite section of the museum, as they had a large display of aircraft, drone boat, uniforms, torpedos, various weaponry and models of ships past and present.
Among the many models of ships in the museum, is the HMS Bellerophon. This is the first Bellerophon, launched October 1786.
To the more modern day HMCS Calgary II. It is a Halifax Class Patrol Frigate, commissioned in 1995.
In 1955 Canada purchased 39 McDonnel F2H-3 Banshee planes. These planes were used until 1962 when the Royal Canadian Navy discontinued the use of fighter aircraft.
Hammerhead, a remote controlled small attack boat, with a maximum speed of 40 knots/74 km hour. Developed in Canada in 2008, it is still in use. It is the first time I have seen a “drone” boat.
This gun mounting was used for training at the West Coast Fleet School in Canada until 1995.
Ho, Ho, Ho and a Bottle of Rum!
The Royal Navy started the daily ration of rum to sailors around 1655. Rum was used as it kept better than beer in hot climates. Conditions were harsh on ships, and it was something the sailors looked forward to. The Canadian Navy followed the British and continued the tradition of rum rations until 1972. Below are various storage containers used for rum.
This copper set was used in WWII on HMCS Saguenay to measure out the daily issue of rum, about 2 5/8 ounces.
Naval Uniforms over the years
The four-rotor Enigma machine was used by the German Navy in 1942 to securely transmit communications from Naval headquarters. The allies realized the only way to break the code was to capture an Enigma machine. The Royal Navy Destroyer HMS Griffon made the first capture of an Enigma machine and documents on April 26, 1940 from the German trawler Polaris off the coast of Norway. It has been suggested by post-war historians that intercepting and decoding German communications shortened the war and saved thousands of lives.
If you are in the Calgary area, we would highly recommend a visit to The Military Museums. My blog only covers a fraction of what they have on display. It is truly a remarkable place.
Quote of the Day: “We must never forget why we have and why we need our military. Our armed forces exist solely to ensure our nation is safe, so that each and every one of us can sleep soundly at night, knowing we have ‘guardians at the gate.’ ” – Allen West