Remembrance day in Oshawa involves military convoy
OSHAWA, ONT. –
An army of volunteers polishing old WWII Jeeps, trucks and military vehicles will be part of a special memorial convoy in Oshawa on Friday.
It will see vestiges of past wars and conflicts pass through the veterans who served them, along with family members and the public.
“We’ve had people contact us who are traveling hours to come to this parade to see these vehicles in detail,” said Jeremy Blowers, executive director of the Ontario Regiment Museum.
“There’s an emotional attachment to them.”
A Model T truck from World War I will lead the convoy, which is being held by the Ontario Regiment Museum. It has the largest collection of military vehicles in North America.
“It keeps history alive,” Blowers said.
The museum has tanks, armored personnel carriers, Humvees, reconnaissance vehicles and other military machinery on wheels – many of them fill a giant building in Oshawa, which always smells of engine oil.
More than 130 can be driven and span from World War I to the present day, including the German M4 Sherman and Leopard tanks.
Canadian veteran Phil Martin has served at Cypress and is among 150 volunteers at the museum.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of this,” he said.
“When the ground rumbles under your feet, it’s a heart-pounding event – if you’ve never seen it, you have to experience it just once.”
The collection began in 1980 after a group of retired military personnel formed a club and purchased several Ferret scout cars that they would drive in Memorial Day parades.
Other vehicles have been added, including tanks, and they have expanded greatly over the past decade.
The museum hosts weekend tank events throughout the summer, including mock battles and offering tank rides. It used to be called one of Oshawa’s best kept secrets, but the events now draw huge crowds and rumors have leaked.
The museum is currently raising funds to build an even larger facility to house even more military vehicles.
Interior of the Ontario Regiment Museum
“It started off as Canadian vehicles and has since expanded to the vehicles of our allies and others around the world,” Blowers said.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not participated in a parade since 2019 and unlike previous convoys, this convoy will not include tanks.
“I’m so glad it’s back,” volunteer Richard Bennett said. “It has always been a source of pride for us here.”
A Model T truck, widely used by British and American militaries during World War I, will lead the convoy in Oshawa, Ont., on Friday, November 11, 2022.
Volunteer Jessica Freeman-Mason is a 12th grader. The seventeen-year-old girl wants to join the army after graduation and feels the work they do is important.
“Because anyone can have a veteran in their family, and it’s incredible to learn about all the history,” says Freeman-Mason.
Image of a Gulf War-era Land Rover.
Mike Rashotte has been a volunteer at the museum for 11 years. As he drove around preparing a 1950s military Jeep for the parade, he said it was a way to show gratitude and respect to veterans as their numbers continued. continue to decrease.
“It was important for us to keep the legacy alive,” says Rashotte.
“We are benefactors of their sacrifice and that’s the least we can do.”
Ferret’s spy cars of 1981
Willy .’s Jeep World War II
Many of the vehicles on display, including a Chevrolet wireless radio truck from World War II, were built locally in Oshawa.
“Canada built more than 800,000 military vehicles during World War II,” says Blowers. “So Canada alone has built more military vehicles than all the Axis powers combined.”
Canada Military Pattern Trucks and Other Vehicles Made in Canada
The exterior of the Ontario Regiment Museum