Page 37 - "Fortress Sydney" Manning the Guns on the C.B. Coast
ISSUE : Issue 14
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/8/1
fore we got the Ross rifles. And then we later got the Number 3, Lee-Enfield • the one frora the First War, and side arras.. They had been there at South Bar for quite sorae tirae without getting passes. Ihe dif? ficult problera with leave and pass was there was no uniforra. The only ones that had uni- forras was the regular railitia. So when one of these guys was given a pass he would borrow a piece of equipraent frora this guy and a piece from the other fellow and raay? be araong half a dozen raen they would get one uniforra. When we'd get a man dressed properly we would give him leave • let him go for 24 hours or so. Then I was sent to Point Edward. One of the important things as I saw it was you had to feed them right because it was a monotonous job standing there watching the drift ice and looking for mythical sub? marines who never entered the harbour. But you still had to look seaward| you'd get choked off by your superiors if you didn't. We were led to believe that anything could happen, especially when the Scharn-horst and a few more of these German ocean raid- ers got on the prowl • that one of these things could pop in on us. Even if they didn't corae in the harbour, they had long- range guns and could engage us at very long distances. So it was felt that the defences of Sydney harbour were quite ne? cessary. And this is the reason we were kept here, we felt, at tiraes I suppose, disgruntled and that we were out of the action. But then again there was the steel plant, there were the coal raines, there were the convoys in the harbour. The navy seeraed to take this thing very seriously; they were in and out of here every day. They had rainesweepers sweeping the bottom for raines and I don't knoiv if they ever picked anything up. I know that the air force went out there and they dropped bombs; they dropped depth charges, because we used to have to stand-to when there was a mili? tary operation of this sort on the move. We wouldn't get the full story. But we were just told to stand-to. I've seen us, below the road, at the gun position for 10 days without changing our clothes. Another time we got an alarm • these alarms used to come at strange tiraes in the raorning, 3 and 4 o'clock • when the navy went out. They thought it was a submarine • but what is was was a table floating bottom up and the legs were above the water • and they thought this was periscopes. There were ships sunk • a- bout 4 railes fidm Low Point lighthouse, so if the eneray was on the bottora there, he could very easily sneak in with a convoy that was coraing through the boora gates • so we had to cover these convoys. I remeraber one Sunday raorning about quarter to six • we were in the washroom at South Bar shaving. And I heard a shell approach? ing frora the harbour. With half my face shaved and the other half with lather, I hollered, "Alarm, come on, let's gol" And we went to the gun position and the guns had been loaded and raade safe. And there Radiator- & Cylinder Heads CAPE BRETON AUTO RADIATOR PHONE 564-6362 339 Rear Welton Street Sydney, N.S. Newly Renovated Grill at Sydney RiverI Town and Country RESTAURANT Red ond White FOOD STORES Baddeck Port Hawkesbury Sydney River & Glace Bay Port Hawkesbury Speedy Propane FILLIJ?5 STATIONS: J' B. Benoit, Arichat Robin's, Cheticamp MacGregor's Texaco, Pleasant Bay Prazier's Campground, Baddeck Lloyd Sheares Heating, FOrt aux Basques Crocker and Wills?? Ltd., Comerbrook D. GOLDMAN & SONS LTD. "Tilt HOME OK FINE SEAFOOD" |??Gallant Street Glace Bay • Terninal Bldg.? Sydney Airport
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