Vancouver Island Military Museum will soon be operating at a slightly higher calibre, thanks to the Department of National Defence and Nanaimo city council.
Council voted unanimously Monday to receive a 40mm Bofors gun that was mounted on the bow of coastal defence vessel HMCS Nanaimo and to build a pad on which to mount the gun next to the museum at Piper Park.
Canada’s Kingston-class naval vessels, which serve in a wide range of roles, including mine-sweeping operations in hostile waters, are currently cycling through a retrofit program.
The Bofors automatic cannon was the ship’s main armament and is being replaced with a weapon of upgraded capability. The defence department decided the guns should be offered to the ships’ namesake cities as they are removed.
“The gun is taken off and it’s in the workshop at CFB Esquimalt,” said Brian McFadden, military museum vice-president. “What they’re doing is decommissioning it, taking all the hydraulics off of it – doing all the things that they would normally have to do to get it ready to put it in public hands.”
McFadden said the defence department made the offer to the museum several months ago and museum staff approached Nanaimo parks and recreation to see if the museum could get assistance from the city to create the gun placement, which includes building a concrete pad to mount it on.
The gun will be located in a gravelled area to the left of the Veterans Wall of Honour facing Cameron Road where it will be partially sheltered from the weather. Pad construction will cost about $1,800. The gun will be repainted before it is transported to Nanaimo.
“We’ll probably do some kind of mural on the wall behind it, perhaps showing the ship in the harbour tied up a the [W.E. Mills Landing & Marina] or something like that,” McFadden said.
Variants of the Bofors 40mm gun, built by Swedish arms manufacturer A.B. Bofors, have been in service since 1934 and are still in use by air forces, navies and land forces of 80 countries.
McFadden said he expects the gun will be installed at the museum before the end of November.