Quick-firing 18 pounder field gun from the First World War made its way through Surrey on Thursday. (Submitted photo)

Surrey says howdy to howitzer

Local towing company transports big gun from Port Kells to Vancouver

Say hi to my little friend…

It’s not every day you get to see a howitzer.

But one was in Surrey, in Port Kells, on Thursday — a quick-firing 18 pounder field gun from the First World War.

Leon Jensen said the gun was loaded onto a smaller vehicle in Port Kells during its 1,300-kilometre journey from the Canadian Forces Base in Wainwright, Alberta to its new home at the Bessborough Armoury in Kitsilano.

It’s believed this particular gun likely didn’t make it to the battlefields overseas but was probably used to train gunners here at home.

“This gun,” said Dr. Peter Moogk, curator at the Regimental Museum, “was the mainstay of the Canadian Field Artillery during the war. The 31st Battery, perpetuated by Vancouver’s 15th Field Artillery Regiment, was equipped with the 18-pounder and the 68th Battery, deployed to northern Russia, went with the same weapon.”

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The gun had been sitting in the middle of a traffic circle in Alberta for more than 40 years, exposed to the elements, before being sent here.

As the 40-foot trailer it was on could not make it through Vancouver’s narrow streets near the armoury, the Vancouver Artillery Association reached out to Clover Towing for help.

Cari Roberston, the general manager of Clover Towing, said she’d thought she heard it all until a retired colonel contacted her company seeking help to move the old cannon.

“That was a new one,” she said.

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tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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