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Ammunition bunkers at Churchill?

Colin Parkinson

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Looking at Google Earth, it appears that there are ammunition bunkers about 2.4km west of the airport. I was not aware there was much of a military presence there to justify such structures?
 

Old Sweat

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At one time - fifties and early sixties? - the army operated Fort Churchill as a camp housing the Winter Warfare School and a missile test range and R&D establishment. It was also used for winter exercises for units of the Mobile Strike Force and its successors. The father of a classmate of mine on officer training had been posted there as a technical staff officer.

Later on, I believe the Exercise New Viking cadre was there, and Air Command had a detachment to support air navigation training. (When I was in the training shop at FMC, we used to task people to support the winter warfare instructors course there. At one point we realized that the FMC positions used for the New Viking cadre somehow had disappeared and reappeared as light blue for the air navigation task. That was when we decided to run the winter warfare instructors course at Wainwright.)
 

Stoker

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Old Sweat said:
At one time - fifties and early sixties? - the army operated Fort Churchill as a camp housing the Winter Warfare School and a missile test range and R&D establishment. It was also used for winter exercises for units of the Mobile Strike Force and its successors. The father of a classmate of mine on officer training had been posted there as a technical staff officer.

Later on, I believe the Exercise New Viking cadre was there, and Air Command had a detachment to support air navigation training. (When I was in the training shop at FMC, we used to task people to support the winter warfare instructors course there. At one point we realized that the FMC positions used for the New Viking cadre somehow had disappeared and reappeared as light blue for the air navigation task. That was when we decided to run the winter warfare instructors course at Wainwright.)

The US army also operated out of there and there of course HMCS Churchill. B52 bombers operated out of there as well.
 

my72jeep

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Canadian Black Brant  rockets Launch pads/ storage. Or silos for US bombs.
http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/44/exploringnorthernskies.shtml
 

Old Sweat

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Churchill also figures in Canadian Airborne Gunner lore; in the early seventies the Canadian Airborne Regiment conducted a winter exercise there. After it ended there was some time before redeployment and at the request of the local RCMP detachment, the regiment was CBed to keep them out of town as some of the locals were eager to test them in a punch up..

Several of the most senior NCMs in the battery, including at least two future RSMs, convinced the battery CO to let them visit the Churchill museum as it had some interesting artifacts concerning the early days of exploration. I don't know what the CO was thinking, but one thing led to another, and they all ended up in the slammer.
 

medicineman

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Old Sweat said:
Churchill also figures in Canadian Airborne Gunner lore; in the early seventies the Canadian Airborne Regiment conducted a winter exercise there. After it ended there was some time before redeployment and at the request of the local RCMP detachment, the regiment was CBed to keep them out of town as some of the locals were eager to test them in a punch up..

Several of the most senior NCMs in the battery, including at least two future RSMs, convinced the battery CO to let them visit the Churchill museum as it had some interesting artifacts concerning the early days of exploration. I don't know what the CO was thinking, but one thing led to another, and they all ended up in the slammer.

How many did they put in hospital?  How grateful were the RCMP for those locals being in hospital?  Lol

MM
 

Chispa

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Colin P said:
Looking at Google Earth, it appears that there are ammunition bunkers about 2.4km west of the airport. I was not aware there was much of a military presence there to justify such structures?

Look closer there could be more; HMCS (His Majesty’s Canadian Station) Churchill was a naval facility housing ca 100 Rank and file, in the late 50s…in 65 all were relocated. By 65 renamed CFS Churchill officially closed its doors in 4th June, 68……………..

The CRRR built in 54 by CF, then closed, reopened, and closed by 58…Open for business by the US Army in 59, with NASA by late 60’s the fire, etc., in 1970 USA left and the CNRC took over the base until 85. The place was desolate throughout the 90s………………………still closed.


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Rifleman62

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If you do a Goggle search of Ft Churchill many hits come up, especially if you go to images and click on go to page. Mostly US Military. Many photos of the installation, PMQ's, personnel etc.

Interesting story here of one soldier (scroll down several pages):

https://familyhistorytreasures.wordpress.com/david-noel-lowe/

We left Fort Bliss, Texas in late December 1959 and flew about 2,000 miles north to Fort Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Fort Churchill was a Canadian military air base. It was located on what they called the DEW line (Distant Early Warning). It was a part of a string of Canadian radar outposts. There was a small town of Churchill a couple of miles from the post. There was only one short street in town, and the main building was The Hudson Bay Trading Post. Churchill is best known as the polar bear capital of the world. Most of the housing in town were run down shacks where the Eskimos (native Indians) lived. Churchill is located about 500 miles north of Winnipeg, Manitoba—right on the west shore of the Hudson Bay. There were ruins of an old English fort complete with rusted cannon from the early 1800’s. We were on temporary duty for about three months, the coldest three months of the year. The temperature very seldom got above zero degrees, and got as cold as 52 below zero, but they didn’t go by temperature.  The wind chill factor was used to tell the relative conditions, taking into account temperature, wind speed and relative humidity. On one occasion the wind chill factor got down to 82 below zero. One day my nose and part of my cheekbones became frostbitten, but not seriously. Seriously enough that I don’t care much for cold weather.  (E-mail to Laura, 2008)
I was in the Arctic for a total of about three months. It was a temporary duty assignment to do cold weather research and testing on how well the Lacrosse missile system performed in arctic conditions. You could say it was my time in the Cold War. We flew up there on an old air force cargo plane that contained all of our equipment, missiles and vehicles. When we arrived about 10:00 am, it was just starting to get light, and it would get dark again about 2:00 pm. During the tests, we fired missiles with both conventional and nuclear warheads. It is really something to see a mushroom cloud from a nuclear blast from about 15 miles away. During our off-time, we would pull liberty and walk into town to the Hudson Bay Trading Post or go for a fifty-cent ride with an Eskimo and his dogs and sled, or play out on the ice where the polar bears were less than a mile away. That is close enough. Most of our off-duty time was spent playing poker or going to an occasional movie. There weren’t too many activities available. Flying home, we had engine trouble. First one engine went out. No problem, you can fly on three engines. A half hour later, the second engine on the same wing flamed out. Two engines out on the same wing is a problem. It’s difficult, but not impossible to fly. None of us had a parachute, but we made an emergency landing at an air base in North Dakota. We stayed there for three days while they replaced the engines. It sure was nice to get back to the desert.
Were you able to call home while you were up there, or did you just have to write letters?
We just wrote letters. No, you couldn’t make any calls. They didn’t have phones up there where you could call home. We barely had indoor plumbing, and didn’t most of the time, but we wrote letters about once a week. I think they only flew the mail in and out once a week. You have to remember we were 1000 miles from nowhere.  (Interview with Laura)

Photo captions:

David at the Cold Weather Research Center at Fort Churchill in Manitoba, Canada. They were doing cold weather testing of the Lacrosse missile with nuclear warheads. The coldest day was 52 degrees below zero!

572 Ordnance Detachment, Fort Churchill, Manitoba. David is kneeling third from the right.

Fort Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

This was a “top secret” photo of a Lacrosse missile with a nuclear warhead, Feb 1960.

(I doubt it was armed, but recollection says mushroom cloud 15 miles away. Does anyone have something to add? )

The RWpgRif flew up in a Herc several times in the 1970's for a FTX. Once a blizzard came up so the Saturday move was cancelled. Still M113's there then, which were the safety vehicles. We did our MMG live fire for the MG course from a toboggan mount and one of the APC's. Got the photos somewhere.

One weekend saw a Black Bart go up. We had armed Polar Bear sentries.




 

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Old Sweat

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Interesting, as at one time we were going to buy the Lacrosse. The 1960 year seems odd as I thought it had been cancelled a year or two earlier, which is why we bought the Honest John instead and fired it for the first time in Petawawa in the fall of that year.

A quick google search reveals the original design was scrapped in 1959, but an alternate guidance system was developed. The project was cancelled in 1964, but a number of battalions had been fielded by the US Army.

I really do doubt that any nukes were fired in Churchill. It would have hit the news big time, and it didn't.
 

Rifleman62

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In your book you have a photo of the toboggan mount with an APC in the background during the MMG shoot.
 

SeaKingTacco

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There is a zero percent chance he witnessed a nuclear test in Hudson's Bay.
 

Chispa

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Nice photos...Nukes fired at Churchill...With the US one never knows?


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H.M.C.S. Labrador - Men assembling an Attwell shelter...54-55.

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No. 21 - U.S. Army helicopter and tents...57-58. 

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Winter Training at Fort Churchill...photos state ca 43-65, more like early 60s?

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This is interesting....


Secret and Confidential Subject Files, Army - Postings - Other Ranks, Canadian Army (Active) - Fort Churchill - Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps. 1946. File.

Secret and Confidential Subject Files, Army - Organization - Fort Churchill - Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. 1947. File. RG24. File number: 404-15-9. Microfilm reel number: C-8260.

Request for permission for US Army to carry out an upper atmosphere rocket research programme at Fort Churchill as part of the International Geophysical Year research programme. 1955/05/03-1958/11/20. File. RG25-G-2. Volume/box number: 8542. File number: 12074-AM-40.

Inspections - Canadian Forces Station - Churchill. 1967. File. RG24-G-1, R112. Volume/box number: 29486. File number: 1370-1578.


Rifleman62 said:
(I doubt it was armed, but recollection says mushroom cloud 15 miles away. Does anyone have something to add? )

Looks like Nukes at Churchill has been debated...Green Glowing polar-bears [lol: 

July-August 2003 BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS 

"Oh Lucky Canada"
(Radioactive Polar Bears: the proposed testing of British nuclear weapons in Canada.) by John Clearwater and David O'Brien.

Great Britain eyed the ecologically sensitive lands as a proving ground for its first operational nuclear bomb, the Blue Danube, a 25-kiloton weapon slightly larger than those used against Japan at the end of the Second World War, according to a declassified Canadian military document. The Canadian government was a willing partner in the top-secret plan, which envisioned the detonation of 12 first- and second-generation atomic weapons near Churchill, Manitoba, between 1953 and 1959.....

If the experiments had occurred, the fallout would have altered the landscape of northern Manitoba and the Canadian arctic, drifted southeast toward Toronto, Montreal and New York and reached as far as Europe's Nordic countries. The 12 bomb sites would still be radioactive today and people would be banned from the area, now a national park.

The plan also considered making the site available for U.S. nuclear testing, although it isn't known if the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission was interested. Ironically, northern Canada's disagreeable climate, which made the land near Churchill seem expendable at the time, was also its savior. The British appeared to have considered the site too cold and uncomfortable for their research scientists and they ultimately opted for balmy Australia as the place to conduct their bomb tests.

The 20-page top secret document, entitled The Technical Feasibility of Establishing an Atomic- Weapons Proving Ground in the Churchill Area, was declassified by Canada in cooperation with Britain, but remained un-noticed for several years. The plan was to test up to 12 atomic bombs at or above the surface near Churchill. Ground Zero was to be a site near the mouth of the Broad River, located 100 km southeast of Churchill on the shore of Hudson Bay, now part of Wapusk National Park.

The experiments would have included tests of the weapon physics, blast effects, and the functioning and ballistics of operational weapons, beginning in the summer of 1953. British soldiers and scientists would have invaded the area for the initial tests. At least 150 scientific and experimental officers, 50 scientific assistants, 50 technicians, and 100 industrial specialists would have been required for the experiments. The British noted that all labour and construction would be provided by Canada.

Canada was a significant military power at that time. It finished the Second World War with the world's fourth largest navy and its well-equipped ground and air forces made the country a valuable, if unappreciated, military ally. In the 1950s, Churchill was an unimportant port town of about 600 people, but a sprawling military base of some 6,000 Canadian and U.S. soldiers was stationed at nearby Fort Churchill....................


Authors:
John Clearwater is a nuclear weapons specialist in Ottawa, and the author of Canadian Nuclear Weapons, and U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Canada. da710@ncf.ca

David O'Brien is a writer for the Winnipeg Free Press. dave.o'brien@freepress.mb.ca

For more...http://truedemocracy.ca/UK-nukes-Canada.htm


C.U.

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Northstar86

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My Great-Grandfather was up in Churchill, sometime around 1945-1949. He was killed in some sort of accident. Does anyone know where I could start a search to find his service record or any other helpful information on cause of death?
 

Lightguns

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I would say that those photos are closer to 46 than 66.  Stens, Lee Enfields; 37 Pattern sling, flare gun holster, and that's a 37 Pattern large pack under the camo cover judging by the shoulder straps.  Mids 50s all that webbing was green and 51 Pattern.  Mid 60s would see C1 rucksacks in use for arctic warfare. 
 

Lightguns

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Old Sweat said:
At one time - fifties and early sixties? - the army operated Fort Churchill as a camp housing the Winter Warfare School and a missile test range and R&D establishment. It was also used for winter exercises for units of the Mobile Strike Force and its successors. The father of a classmate of mine on officer training had been posted there as a technical staff officer.

Later on, I believe the Exercise New Viking cadre was there, and Air Command had a detachment to support air navigation training. (When I was in the training shop at FMC, we used to task people to support the winter warfare instructors course there. At one point we realized that the FMC positions used for the New Viking cadre somehow had disappeared and reappeared as light blue for the air navigation task. That was when we decided to run the winter warfare instructors course at Wainwright.)

There is an excellent 3 hour long training film we used to get in 2PPCLi before every Rapier Thrust about how, in 1946 or 49, the school did a 1000 km snowshoe and ruck march with Bombardier vehicle sp in the dead of winter.  Loved the film.  Fort Churchill was our military presence for a very short time.
 

Old Sweat

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Lightguns said:
I would say that those photos are closer to 46 than 66.  Stens, Lee Enfields; 37 Pattern sling, flare gun holster, and that's a 37 Pattern large pack under the camo cover judging by the shoulder straps.  Mids 50s all that webbing was green and 51 Pattern.  Mid 60s would see C1 rucksacks in use for arctic warfare.

Agreed, but I suggest the pictures date from the early fifties. In the third picture from the top we can see an artillery flag in the background and a director stand (it looks like a folded tripod) leaning against the snow wall. This suggests the unit could have been 1st Light Battery or its successor, Z Bty. The latter stopped jumping circa 1955 and became a medium battery with 155mm towed circa 1956-1957. Also, the wooden snowshoes were replaced by the magnesium version in the late fifties.
 

Lightguns

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Old Sweat said:
Agreed, but I suggest the pictures date from the early fifties. In the third picture from the top we can see an artillery flag in the background and a director stand (it looks like a folded tripod) leaning against the snow wall. This suggests the unit could have been 1st Light Battery or its successor, Z Bty. The latter stopped jumping circa 1955 and became a medium battery with 155mm towed circa 1956-1957. Also, the wooden snowshoes were replaced by the magnesium version in the late fifties.

Ack, I concur.  I also see in another picture the M1941 Mountain ruck that we issued post war.

They are great pics, so much of how we did things at the beginning of the 80s when I joined.  Do they still made billy tins for winter tent groups before Xmas leave now?  It is interesting to see some of my collection in use. 

Why the red background on the Sgt slip on?
 

Chispa

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Old Sweat said:
Agreed, but I suggest the pictures date from the early fifties. In the third picture from the top we can see an artillery flag in the background and a director stand (it looks like a folded tripod) leaning against the snow wall. This suggests the unit could have been 1st Light Battery or its successor, Z Bty. The latter stopped jumping circa 1955 and became a medium battery with 155mm towed circa 1956-1957. Also, the wooden snowshoes were replaced by the magnesium version in the late fifties.

Hi, Sorry my mistake, good observations, while posting looked at the photos again and compared with others, forgot to edit...photos pre 60s, the uniform, etc., more like post Korean War.

a213879-v6.jpg

PPCLI snipers in Korea March 1953...


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