Trophies of War in Chilliwack

The Canadian government provided many trophies of war including field guns and other weapons to interested communities. In December 1918, Chilliwack City Council inaugurated a request for “Trophy of War” guns in a letter forwarded to the Department of Militia and Defence with copies to local M.P., Mr. F.B. Stacey and Senator J.D. Taylor.

Almost a year later, in November 1919, an illustration of a "Boche Siege Gun" appeared on the Chilliwack Progress front page. The gun would be presented by the Canadian War Trophies Commission to the town or district in British Columbia that made the best percentage showing in the new Victory Loan campaign. However, Chilliwack's success towards raising funds for the 1919 Victory Loan was rewarded with a Victory Loan flag resplendent with crests indicative of the community's efforts.

It was not until July 15, 1920 that locals heard that a captured German 77-MM gun, No. 3634, would be sent to Chilliwack. Awarded by the War Trophies Committee, the weapon was shipped from Ottawa and a letter sent to Mayor Ashwell stated that it was the responsibility of the recipient community to maintain the gun.

The gun arrived on August 16, 1920 and was placed in front of City Hall under the supervision of Alderman Reeves. A plaque on the gun recorded, "Captured by the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry. 2-9-18". The gun, hit several times during the war by both rifle fire and shrapnel, was captured during the attack on the Queant-Drocourt line, an area in front of Arras, France. In September 1923 the gun was relocated at the back of the City Hall where Chilliwack’s war memorial is located.

The Township of Chilliwhack also received war trophies, though little is known about them. However, during the Second World War, in mid-June 1941 the trench mortar and two machine guns captured during the First World War and displayed in front of Township Hall were made available for scrap metal. The Memorial Park gun was removed in January 1942, when City Council decided to offer the weapon to the Salvage Department of the National Treasury. Council approached the Canadian Legion to ensure that First World War veterans would not object to the removal of the relic.



Chilliwack Museum and Archives 45820 Spadina Avenue, Chilliwack, BC, Canada V20 1T3 [604.795.5210]