We drove the less traveled road, Route 102, paralleling the St. John River. We stopped for ice cream at Gagetown where Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, one of the Father’s of Confederation was born. We didn’t go through the house. We have toured quite a few houses this trip. We are now at a point where we have almost seen as many lighthouses, heritage villages and Victorian houses as we need. There may be a few left, but not many.
After Gagetown we arrived at Oromocto and the home of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, one of the largest military training areas in the British Commonwealth. It is home to the New Brunswick Military Museum. Unknowingly we entered the base through a secondary entrance and it took awhile to locate the museum. Once we did we had a very enjoyable 2 hours. The museum has artifacts, uniforms, and memorabilia dating from the 1700’s to the present day. Everything relates to military operations or engagements by New Brunswickers. We were 2/3 around the main floor and a young soldier who is working on a WWI trench exhibit showed us that under many of the uniform display cases the drawers held items of interest as well. That doubled our time at the museum as I had to go back to the beginning and check out all the drawers! Everything that follows from this point on is military history and information. You may want to skip it and go directly to the end. We had a great time. I have no idea if you will care.
The museum displays, funny enough, moved in chronological order counter-clockwise around the room. I have only put in pics of the uniforms – mostly – as they tell the stories very well. Here goes:
Between 1717 and 1764 the 40th Regiment of Foot fought French Marine regulars, Maliceel warriors and Acadian Militiamen.
The brown uniform on the right is that of a French Marine soldier.
After the American Revolutionary War thousands of people still loyal to Britain (hence the name Loyalists) fled the US and came to Canada. About 5,000 settled New Brunswick, including the New Jersey Volunteers. They fought with the British during the War of 1812 and most of the New Jersey Volunteers settled in the Fredericton area. Others received land grants in Fundy and along the St. John River Valley.
50,000 British North Americans served in both Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War, including thousands of New Brunswickers – three of whom were awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor in the USA.
The most unique New Brunswick soldier was Sarah Emma Edmonds, who, posing as a man. and served in the 2nd Michigan Volunteer Regiment as Private Franklin Thompson!
Next was the Yukon Field Force. During the Yukon Gold Rush about 130 members of the Royal Regiment of Canadian Infantry went to the gold fields to assist the Northwest Mountain Police maintain order and uphold the law from 1898-1900.
The second Anglo-Boer war took place in South Africa between 1898 and 1900 and Canadian troops were sent overseas. Three New Brunswickers died in the Battle of Paardeburg, a major British victory.
During WWI a New Brunswick fellow served as an Observer with the Royal Flying Corp. His uniform is on the left and a Midshipman’s Mess Dress uniform is on the right. (Some of the uniforms in the cases were reproductions but it was surprising how many – even very old ones – were original and the owners known.
When Britain (and Canada) declared war on Germany in 1939 many Americans came across our border and enlisted, even though the USA was not involved in the war until after Pearl Harbour in 1941. Special uniform patches were made to acknowledge their nationality. Many different patches were created for the different branches of the service and the different roles played by the Americans.
The museum also displayed German Infantry uniforms (21st Panzer Division and a Corporal in the Luftwaffe Field Division), guns, currency and field kits.
Also Japanese soldiers from the War in the Pacific.
These are airplane identification playing cards that an airman can keep in his kit for study and reference. Pretty ingenious, I thought.
The Canadian Black Watch was created in 1953. This is the tartan our son wore for his wedding in Scotland last year.
Canadians also served in the Vietnam War. This I did not know. Displayed was a Viet-cong pith helmet that was covered with bamboos stips.
Outside were quite a few armored vehicles and assorted types of tanks. My favorite was nicknamed a ‘Ferret.’ It was a squat little thing that was used for reconnaisance. It would be a fabulous off-road toy.
This is the Ferret.
And that, my friends, is a VERY abbreviated look at the New Brunswick Military Museum.
Oh, one other thing – I spotted this in the lobby of our hotel in Fredericton:
I couldn’t agree more!