It was 99 years ago today, (April 9, 1917) that the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) fought the Battle of Vimy Ridge. It was the first time the Canadian Corps fought together as a single unit and achieved the first Allied Victory of the War. It was also the day the 27th Battalion captured the K14 10.5cm Cannon (s/n 590) that sits in Hopewell Cape Square. The people of Albert County won the cannon in the 1919 Victory Loans Competition for raising the greatest percentage over their target anywhere in New Brunswick. The County raised three times their goal of $110,000.00 with a realized sum of $347,600.00 (6.92 million in today's dollars).
The capture of the K14 cannon is a story legends are made of, fighting in the third wave of the attack, the men of the 27th Battalion stormed the enemy lines, while Bandsman Paddy Smith played the regimental march on his piccolo. In the words of the company commander, "The battalion charged the last 50 yards with a cheer and leaped into the gun pits, where the gunners put up a stout fight. Our line lead by Captain Lane seized the guns, put out of action those of the crew who resisted and took the remainder prisoners, and prevented the guns from being dismantled." What a story of courage and sacrifice, it sends shivers down my spine every time I read it.
Two days later on the 11th, these guns were turned on the enemy under direction of officers from the Canadian 6th ARTILLERY Brigade, and sent back several thousand rounds captured with them. So not only did our cannon fight for the enemy, the Canadians turned the cannon back on them and returned the favour. It's amazing, that the cannon which sits in Hopewell Cape not only fought against our troops, but then fought with them. What a story!
That's not all though, through the detailed notes of the 27th Battalion, we can pinpoint on a map the exact location where the cannon was on the battlefield. Which we can view on Google maps, what was 99 years ago a battlefield, is now happily, a family's backyard complete with a swing set and slide.
So today while we pause and remember the sacrifices of the Canadians 99 years ago, it's fitting to give an update on our own campaign to restore their captured trophy. The Victory Cannon Campaign has raised over $10000.00 to date of a goal of $15000.00, we are on the last stretch of our campaign. So please donate. CLICK TO DONATE
The cannon wheels of the K14 are in the process of being restored, our Wheelwright Mike Hartigan is currently working on them. What is left to do on the project, is to complete the restoration of the cement pads the cannons sit on. Then to give the cannons a good primer coat and paint them in their original camouflage markings. Then we need to develop a fitting way to tell their exciting story. The Museum is researching ways to best tell the cannons' story; from their capture on Vimy Ridge, to their being turned and firing back on the enemy, and then being won by Albert County in the 1919 Victory Loans Campaign.
Now that's a story worth saving!
The Victory Cannon Campaign is raising funds to restore the two captured World War One cannons that sit in Hopewell Cape. These cannons were captured by Canadians during the Great War, and were awarded to the people of Albert County. You can donate online to the Victory Cannon Campaign here, and best of all you'll be sent a tax receipt! Click Here to Donate!