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Fates of former armouries

exspy

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FJAG said:
...so I don't think that there is [nor have I seen any reference to] a perpetuation between the two 25 Bties CFA and 25 Fd Bty RCA)

According to my copy of the 1936 Defence Forces List the 25th Battery, CFA, of the CEF was perpetuated by 25th Field Battery, CA.

At this time the occupant of the armoury in Kemptville was Company B of The Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles).  No, I'd never heard of them either.  I think this regiment disappeared through amalgamation in the 1936 NPAM reorganization but I don't yet know with whom.

Cheers,
Dan.
 

Old Sweat

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I have a copy of the 1936 reorganization at home and will have a look for it. A host of infantry regiments were converted to artillery and other corps to provide a corps structure on mobilization. And if anyone notices, my bud who served in the artillery in the 60s in Kemptville is away for another week or so.
 

Michael OLeary

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50TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT (THE PRINCE OF WALES RANGERS), RCA

http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/ol-lo/vol-tom-3/par1/art/50far-eng.asp

The Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles) originated in Prescott, Ontario on 12 April 1867, when the '56th "Prescott" Battalion of Infantry' was authorized to be formed. It was redesignated: '56th "Grenville" Battalion of Infantry' on 9 August 1867; '56th Grenville Battalion of Rifles' on 13 September 1871; '56th Grenville Battalion "Lisgar Rifles"' on 29 September 1871; '56th Grenville Regiment "Lisgar Rifles"' on 8 May 1900; and 'The Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles)' on 12 March 1920. On 15 December 1936, it was amalgamated with the '56th Field Battery, RCA', as above.
 

Blackadder1916

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Dan M said:
According to my copy of the 1936 Defence Forces List the 25th Battery, CFA, of the CEF was perpetuated by 25th Field Battery, CA.

At this time the occupant of the armoury in Kemptville was Company B of The Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles).  No, I'd never heard of them either.  I think this regiment disappeared through amalgamation in the 1936 NPAM reorganization but I don't yet know with whom.

Cheers,
Dan.

Digging into the internet archives of the now defunct Regiments.org found this.

http://web.archive.org/web/20041215032002/http://www.regiments.org/regiments/na-canada/volmil/on-inf/056grenv.htm
1867.04.12      56th Prescott Battalion of Infantry
1867?              56th Grenville Battalion of Infantry
1871.09.13      56th Grenville Battalion of Rifles
1871.09.29      56th Battalion Lisgar Rifles
1900.05.08      56th Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles)
1920.03.15      The Grenville Regiment (Lisgar Rifles)
                        reconstituted in Militia with HQ at Kemptville, Ont.
1921.02.15      reorganised to perpetuate CEF
                      •1st Battalion, without perpetuation
                      •2nd (Reserve) Battalion

1936.12.15    56th (Grenville) Field Battery, 4th Field Brigade, RCA
                      converted to artillery
 

The Bread Guy

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This from The Canadian Press via localexpress.ca:
An emotional fight over an armoury in rural Nova Scotia could be a precursor of things to come for other small towns as the military moves to get rid of hundreds of buildings across the country.

Confusion has run rampant in Amherst, a town of 10,000 on the border with New Brunswick, since resident Russell Clarke received a letter from the Department of National Defence a few weeks ago.

"It was quite simple," the 93-year-old Second World War veteran said in an interview. "They said the armoury would go on the block for sale or demolition at some point."

The armoury was built in 1915 and later named after James Layton Ralston, the Amherst native who served as Canada's defence minister for most of the Second World War.

The building was the longtime home of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders, which lost nearly 500 members during the Second World War and remains active as a reserve unit today.

But the Nova Scotia Highlanders, as they are now known, moved to another town in 2006, leaving the unit's regimental museum and three cadet corps as the armoury's only occupants.

Many locals believed at the time that the move was temporary, as the federal government promised to renovate the armoury in 2010.

But fears mounted when the repairs weren't finished, which is why Clarke, who belongs to the North Nova Scotia Highlanders memory club, wrote to National Defence about the building.

Amherst Mayor David Kogon, who sent his own letter to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan about the armoury in March, said even without the Highlanders, the building remains a focal point for Amherst.

"They need this as a place to train and learn and do their functions," he said of the cadets. "And we have a lot of veterans in this community. There are a lot of people that are being touched by this."

Retired chief warrant officer Ray Coulson, who now runs the Nova Scotia Highlander regimental museum, said without the armoury, the cadet corps and museum would disappear.

"If you're in downtown Ottawa, these things don't seem to be too big a deal," Coulson said. "But when you're out in a town with a population of 10,000, this is a big deal." ...
 
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jollyjacktar

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Some here in the office mentioned that when they were back in Halifax last month for a coastal visit, they were told the Armouries at the Commons is being sold off.  Is this true?
 

Monsoon

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My question: where were the cries of anguish when the regiment that filled that armoury left town? People are heartbroken to lose a pretty old building, but if they'd given a damn about what used to happen in that building this wouldn't be an issue for them now.
 

McG

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I am sure if the town really wants the armouries as a community building, then they can arrange transfer of the property from the federal government. (And once they own the building they can fund the upkeep)

milnews.ca said:
This from The Canadian Press via localexpress.ca:
... as the military moves to get rid of hundreds of buildings across the country.

...
I assume some of these "hundreds of buildings" are unused infrastructure on various bases around the country, but the example in the article is of DND off-loading an entire footprint in a community.  I don't suppose anybody has numbers of "footprints" DND will divest as opposed to buildings removed from land that will be retained? 
 

Fishbone Jones

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Private financing. They turned the armoury in London into a hotel and the one in Windsor is becoming a music facility and concert hall for the University of Windsor. I believe Edmonton turned one into the city archives building. If the will is there to retain it in some other form, without government funding, the templates are already there. Many buildings are being sold for a nominal fee ($1.00) so the feds can wash their hands and walk away and let private enterprise take over.
 

Furniture

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I think that the reality is most small towns will lose their armouries as time goes on and maintaining a large old armouries for a platoon sized detachment is determined to be too expensive. Small town Maritimes will be vocal about it, as any change is seen as bad back home. I also think solutions from large cities such as London, Edmonton, etc are unrealistic for a town of 10,000.

I think it's a wise move to divest bad/old/surplus infrastructure, if a building is required for the local reserves then something modern and suited to the size of the force should be built.
 

mariomike

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Regarding the fates of other former armouries,

FORMER ARMOURIES 
https://army.ca/forums/threads/111568.0
3 pages.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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WeatherdoG said:
I think it's a wise move to divest bad/old/surplus infrastructure, if a building is required for the local reserves then something modern and suited to the size of the force should be built.

But, unfortunately, Militia Regiments often have a Mafia or Regie.

In Montreal, the Base had a lot of problems (still does, I think) convincing some of the militia units to relinquish their historical, but inadequate, armouries. In fact, even when they had managed, some Regies managed to convince the political side that the "Regiment simply cannot move out of its historical home" and carry the day after great expenditure of funds and efforts.

When I was X.O. of DONNACONA, it became clear that our building was becoming (1) dated; (2) dangerous [it was an old sport club we moved into for WWII and was heavily modified for "temporary" purposes with internal wood structures]; and, (3) incapable of modification to meet modern naval reserve needs. So, with Navres and Marcom's assistance, we began the process to move to another building, purpose built.

The Base commander and the Base Admin O came to our unit one night to "discuss" the matter, and see how serious we were. They point blank asked us: "If we start this process and get all the work done, are we going to see some Regie or other political interference stopping us and wasting the money??"

I think they were a bit surprised when we answered that: "In the Navy, we are not married to our ships. They serve us while they are the current "model" in use, but when they no longer meet requirements, we dispose of them when they are past their prime. A ship is the crew and it's history. That resides in people, historical record and memorabilia - not the actual ship itself."

We got our new unit in three years (even though, in the end, Marcom paid for it out of its budget to get it faster).

:nod:
 

Eye In The Sky

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1 NSH, as I knew it, had armouries galore.  Amherst, a new one in Springhill which is about 10 minutes from Amherst (which is where the Amherst reservists moved to for trg), New Glasgow and another new one in Pictou.  Pictou and New Glasgow are also right across the road from each other and as New Glasgow was also old and run down it was closed with the Pictou armoury housing those folks.  The HQ is in Truro.  Keeping 5 armouries open was excessive and while I feel for Amherst the dept can't keep hosing money into these places anymore than it could afford to keep CFB Summerside, Chatham, Cornwallis etc open years ago.  The reservists in Amherst have a trg location in springhill, why not move the museum and cadets there?  I have been to both and the drive is minimal.  Just across tha border in Sackville NB was once C Sqn 8 CH and it also closed down years ago.  There have to be numbers to justify expenditures.

The Hfx armouries is nostalgic but is also old and expensive.  Because it's a historical building doing anything like adding computer drops is a major PITA.  All these locations were in my AOR once upon a time when I was a Bde HQ commando and sometimes it's time to move to modern facilities and manage expenditures the best the Dept can.  Amherst is, IMO, a case to let go.  The armouries in Sydney comes to mind when I think of a successful armouries that serves the community and several reserve units from a single location.  If it's not closed now, I would close down Glace Bay and move the Jimmies from there to Sydney as well. 
 

sidemount

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I'm actually from Amherst (heading there on Wednesday actually), and the last time I was there, about 3 years ago, the Armoury was in pretty rough shape. The Highlanders aren't there and there are some other places to house the cadets that they have there.

They are best off to lose the place and maybe the town can put in something modern. Too many problems trying to upgrade old buildings such as that.

Just my 2 cents.
 

kratz

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For all the practical reasons posted to close this building, has anyone considered the military connection to the community that will be lost?

"Mile wide-Inch deep" support can shift both ways.

I've been to that armoury in the past few years, to instruct first aid. It's condition is the same as many armouries I've observed over the years. I agree, if the building upkeep is too costly, level it and build a smaller foothold in the community. To move "out of town", to Springhill abandons another connection to a community. As the CAF changes, we seem to be consolidating in the major urban centers, and deserting the outlying areas who support those cities.

I like how NavRes encourages it's NRDs to host parades, ceremonious, and other public events in communities outside of the city that the unit is based in.
If all units did this, we would not need so many "historical" buildings. Sadly, while we shut down one part of our community connection, on the other end all too often, the public is seeing the disconnect.
 

dapaterson

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Can the CAF afford to maintain facilities in every town and hamlet across the country?  Is a declining population of under 10,000 people enough to justify that expense?
 

Furniture

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kratz said:
For all the practical reasons posted to close this building, has anyone considered the military connection to the community that will be lost?

"Mile wide-Inch deep" support can shift both ways.

In my experience many people in the local communities viewed the reserves as a bunch of drunk kids/adults playing soldier, except on Remembrance day. Canadian's don't like the reality of soldiers/sailors/airmen, they like shiny medals, parades, and nostalgic movies about the world wars.

The community footprint is likely better served by bussing people in for parades, and driving by on a semiregular basis in SMP vehicles.
 

Blackadder1916

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kratz said:
For all the practical reasons posted to close this building, has anyone considered the military connection to the community that will be lost?

"Mile wide-Inch deep" support can shift both ways.

I've been to that armoury in the past few years, to instruct first aid. It's condition is the same as many armouries I've observed over the years. I agree, if the building upkeep is too costly, level it and build a smaller foothold in the community. To move "out of town", to Springhill abandons another connection to a community. As the CAF changes, we seem to be consolidating in the major urban centers, and deserting the outlying areas who support those cities.

I like how NavRes encourages it's NRDs to host parades, ceremonious, and other public events in communities outside of the city that the unit is based in.
If all units did this, we would not need so many "historical" buildings. Sadly, while we shut down one part of our community connection, on the other end all too often, the public is seeing the disconnect.

The "connection to the community" argument always seems to come up when discussing the viability of a particular Reserve organization or property.  I've always thought that it is usually bullshit.  What exactly does it mean?  Let's be realistic.  The purpose of having military forces is to do the things that military forces do . . . even the tangential things they do simply because they are a ready source of cheap dumb labour.  However, I'm sure that someone can come along and make their argument that maintaining a "connection to the community" is found within one of the Principles of War (maybe Maintenance of Morale . . . though I would counter with Economy of Effort).

Back in the day when the majority of these armouries and the plethora (yes, word chosen specifically for its meaning) of units that (or did) inhabit them, the military plan was to be able to raise divisions of men to defend the national territory.  Then, most of the initial training was done in the armouries by the units themselves.  That no longer happens.  In the particular case of Amherst, not only is no military training taking place, but the only DND affiliated activity is Cadets and DND is not "responsible" for providing accommodation for cadet organizations, the department has only undertaken to accommodate them in DND property when there is available excess capacity.  There is no requirement to maintain properties that do not have a military function.

Unfortunately, there seems to be this unhealthy (to departmental economy) fascination with equating the buildings used to perform functions with the esoteric aspects of military heritage which may be demonstrated in comments quoted in this RUSI piece concerning a Halifax armoury.

https://rusi-ns.ca/rehabilitation-halifax-armouries/
. . . . .

In recognizing the importance of work to be done to the historic3 building, Lieutenant-Colonel Marcel Boudreau, Canadian Army (retired), former commanding officer of the PLF who once was officer in charge for the Armouries, said, “This is not a building.  This is a home”.

He continued, “We trained soldiers when we sent them to war.  We welcomed them back.  We stood up for emergencies when the city needed it.  We’ve celebrated our successes, and we’ve mourned our losses in the building.  We’ve hosted rock stars, we’ve heralded royalty.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Boudreau concluded “I look forward to the building standing a lot longer, and continuing to serve the country, the city, the soldiers and the many other people who have served within it.”

Ms Howes (DND Senior Heritage Architect) concluded her presentation to the crowd, saying, “There are intangible values in landmarks and heritage buildings that you can’t readily put a price on.”

Rosanne alluded to someone who may be thinking about joining the military.  She said “If someone walks by the Armouries and sees all that history and sense of respect for all those who have come before us and knows that if they are (potentially) going to give their life for the country, he or she will be honored as well.”  That is a huge drawing card for recruiting more people.

“In terms of why we want to invest the money here, is that we do respect those who have gone before us.”

While I can agree with Ms. Howe (but don't get me started on dealing with architects when I was at NDHQ) that there are "intangible values" in preserving historic buildings, it should not be anywhere near a priority (out of 1000 things, maybe somewhere way down in the nine hundreds) for the military to spend money on.  Especially when we spend 3.61% of defence expenditures on infrastructure (for comparison the US is 1.22 and UK 1.95 as per this NATO document)
 

Eye In The Sky

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I am not surprised the former PLF CO said that stuff; from my limited time around him, I would peg him as the "leading effective change" type. 

Not sure about now, but at one point anyone walking near the Hfx Armouries was likely wondering if the wooden structures built over the sidewalks around it would really stop anything that fell off the walls or roof...
 
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