BIG GUN: Cornwall legion new home for massive artillery piece

CORNWALL, Ontario – No, we’re not being invaded – but if we were to be, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297 in Cornwall has something to scare the enemy.

A massive artillery piece, known officially as a “self-propelled howitzer” has been delivered to the Legion on Cumberland Street, a donation from the Department of National Defence.

The huge piece of military hardware, which looks more like a tank to the lay person, was used by Canada from 1967 to 2005 – primarily in Germany during the Cold War – and was decommissioned before spending time at a Canadian Forces workshop in Montreal.

For more than three years Branch 297 has been trying to acquire a large military asset to decorate its parking lot.

On Tuesday the Howitzer was delivered.

“You said it, go big or go home,” laughed Art Murray, Branch 297’s second vice-president. “Our past president Ken Heagle always said he wanted something like this.

“When you drive past other legions in Canada, they often have something like this out in front.”

But not this big.

A special concrete pad had to be put down in the fall to accommodate the 26-ton behemoth. Before donating the Howitzer the army completely decommissioned it, and welded it shut.

“No one can get into it,” said Murray.

The legion plans to have a dedication ceremony this spring to officially welcome its newest asset.

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