FMF Cape Scott helps restore historic gun for NDHQ Carling

The gun is seen being placed on its concrete mount outside NDHQ Carling Campus in Ottawa. SUBMITTED

FMF Cape Scott helps restore historic gun for NDHQ Carling

By Gabrielle Brunette,
FMF Cape Scott

On December 2, 2023, this 3”:-70 caliber historic gun from HMCS Gatineau – restored by Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Scott – was transported to the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, where it will be displayed.

“We are pleased to say the 3”-70 gun has made it safely to NDHQ Carling Campus and is sitting in its specially designed concrete mount,” says Cameron Ross, Acting Group Manager 6.

The restoration of the 3”:-70 gun was a collaborative effort among various departments at FMFCS, from production to engineering. FMFCS employees ensured the gun was ready for display by tinting windows, securing doors, and cutting off protrusions from the bottom surface. The team at FMFCS also worked closely with contractor MacKinnon & Olding who assisted with sandblasting, priming, and painting the gun.

Work to restore the 3”-70 began in 2019, in support of the Royal Canadian Navy Heritage Office. The Naval Heritage team had been tasked with finding surplus equipment that could be displayed at the relocated National Defence Headquarters, along with artifacts from the Air Force and Army.

John Knoll has been the RCN Heritage Officer since 2017. Finding a naval artifact for the NDHQ Carling campus was one of the first projects he worked on, with RCN Naval Heritage Assistant Officer Dean Boettger.

“Dean began the search for surplus equipment for the display in 2015,” Knoll said. “He has been an integral part of this from the very beginning.”

Transporting the historic gun was a delicate task that required multiple FMF Cape Scott teams to work together. SUBMITTED

Finding an artifact for the display proved to be a challenging task according to Knoll. Located in Ottawa, the Naval Heritage team had to rely solely on images sent from various military scrap yards. Item after item was turned down – until they found the old 3”-70 gun in Baker’s Point. It was abandoned and slowly sinking into the ground, its history nearly at the point of being forgotten.

The 3”-70 gun recovered was primarily used on the former HMCS Gatineau – a Restigouche Class vessel commissioned on February 17, 1959. During the cold war, Gatineau participated in various exercises and operations as an anti-submarine warfare unit. In 1969, she was the first Canadian warship to become a member of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic – an effort by the alliance to provide rapid response around the world when needed.

According to both Knoll and Ross, transporting the 3”-70 gun from Halifax to Ottawa was one of the most challenging parts of the overall restoration project, especially given the gun’s size and weight. With the help of FMFCS’ Crane Operators, Riggers, and Naval Architecture Engineering, the gun – weighing over 70 thousand pounds – was successfully loaded onto the trailer.

For Knoll, finally seeing the gun at the NDHQ Carling Campus – after all the hard work restoring and transporting the artifact – was a very satisfying experience.

“Now that the 3”-70 gun is in place — helping to give Carling Campus the look and feel that a military headquarters deserves — we have many people to thank, but none more than Lenny MacArthur [General Manager 6, Weapons] and Darryl Frizzell [Work Centre Manager, Above Water Weapons] and their team at FMF Cape Scott, who did a great job refurbishing the gun and getting it moved to Ottawa,” he said.

“This simply could not have been the success it was without them.”