21 July 2009

CFB Gagetown Military Museum

On July 11th Sheri and I had the pleasure of visiting the CFB Gagetown Military Museum in Ormocto, NB.

A-30 Canadian Infantry Training Centre (Camp Utopia) was the predecessor for CFB Gagetown. However it's surprising at how little information can be found at the museum on Camp Utopia. This material basically amounts to a handful of photographs that are almost hidden from view.

Here is a brief overview of Camp Utopia: Army construction crews arrived in July of 1942 to begin construction of Camp Utopia, the largest military facility in New Brunswick at the time. Ground assault troops began training there in 1943, preparing for the invasions of Italy and northwest Europe. There was a supply depot, commissary (including bake shop), two cook houses of 500 men capacity, drill hall, canteen, auxiliary service hut, barber shop, modern dental clinic, fire station, and a new modern hospital. In the outside training area: 2 rifle ranges, a model village (Ortona), a field firing range, a battle inoculation range, 2 Sten gun ranges (one for classification and one for woods fighting), P.I.A.T. ranges (both for inert and H.E. bombs), a modern grenade range equipped with Hobbe glass, a six pounder range, skeet range, 2 and 3 inch mortar ranges, a cross-country obstacle course, bayonet assault course, mine fields and mines and bobby trap hut with moascar stalks. Over 300 officers and 12,000 rank and file had passed through the unit by its official closing on April 30, 1946.

Our research continues to make sure this important base is not forgotten to the ravages of time. We recently acquired the service personnel files for those military personnel killed at Camp Utopia, and Sheri and I have, over the past year, visited their graves scattered throughout Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario.

S/Sgt. Claude L. Nicholson's grave in Halifax, NS

Lest we forget.

1 comment:

  1. It was great having the opportunity to visit this Museum with you! Yes, the photos were almost hidden really behind a tall Plexiglas box and it wasn't easy trying to retrieve photos this way. :-) I hope that you find some use for the ones we did manage to capture.