New West Armouries welcomes new monument

The Royal Westminster Regiment Museum unveiled a new monument just in time for Remembrance Day.

Terry Leith, president of the Royal Westminster Regiment Historical Society, said the museum is thrilled to be having the official opening of a new monument outside the Armouries.

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“It’s a universal carrier, commonly called a Bren Gun carrier. They were used during the Second World War and onwards,” he said. “We’ve got one and we’ve got it set up as a monument for all the soldiers.”

The Royal Westminster Regiment held a dedication ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 9.

“It’s finally in place,” Leith said. “We have been talking about this for about 10 years.”

The public was invited to attend the ceremony, which was also be attended by people who donated money and services toward the project. In addition to donations, the museum raised funds through silent auctions and other activities.

“The Bren-Gun carrier itself was $5,500,” Leith said. “We had budgeted $10,000. That pretty well covered it.”

The Royal Westminster Regiment Museum found the carrier in Victoria and has spent about two years working on the project. The carrier’s mechanics had to be altered in order to meet Department of National Defence (DND) requirements.

“We had to modify it to DND standards,” Leith said. “To put a vehicle like that outside an armory it can’t be in running condition.”

While a driver would normally sit inside the vehicle, that’s been covered so kids won’t climb inside. Other safety considerations mandated that the carrier be bolted down on the pad outside its new home in front of the Royal Westminster Regiment Armouries.

“This vehicle is one of the most produced armored fighting vehicles. They manufactured 113,000 of them,” Leith said of the vehicles that were made in Canada and England. “Canada had 29,000.”

The Royal Westminster Regiment Museum’s next project is to restore a cannon currently located outside the Armouries on Queens’ Avenue.

“We have to take it to a company that will sandblast it for us. From there it will go to a place where it is repainted,” Leith said. “While that’s all being done, we are going to fix up the pad that it’s on.”

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