J.R. Wigmore

Local regimental museum completes major renovations

It was in WWII when Sgt. Ross, a solider with the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's), became a living miracle.

It was in WWII when Sgt. Ross, a solider with the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s), became a living miracle.

Ross was representing Canada in the fight against Germany and Austria-Hungary, as part of the regiment, which was based in Victoria. He was battling the enemy somewhere between France and Germany with the regiment, when he was shot at point blank, but didn’t die.

Ross had a pay book and a watch in his pocket, both of which helped slow down the bullet and prevented it from piercing his body.

“There’s a hole in his shirt. The watch saved his life because it took the brunt of most of it. It (the bullet) was cushioned by the book,” said J.R. Wigmore, retired Lt.-colonel, commanding officer of the regiment.

Ross’ original tunic, pay book and watch, which were donated by his family, are on display as part of the newly-renovated Canadian Scottish regimental museum at the Bay Street Armoury.

The display boxes, which house hundreds of pieces of artifacts from the regiment from pre-WWI up to the Afghanistan War, have been significantly upgraded recently. Originally, the 29 wood boxes were put together by museum volunteers in 1981, however, none of the boxes were made to proper museum conservation standards to help preserve the artifacts, which include weapons, medals, uniforms, gas rattles, compasses, and medical kits.

Over the past four years, museum volunteers have been replacing the boxes with new ones at roughly $5,000 each, with funding from the federal government. Some are high security to protect the weapons in the cases, while others have laminated glass and lighting filters to prevent ultraviolet damage. All the cases are now up to museum conservation standards and are the largest renovations in the museum’s history.

“(Families) can now contact the museum, bring artifacts down or send them, and they know it’s going to be preserved for future generations,” said museum volunteer Barry Forrester, adding many grandchildren come to the museum to see the artifacts that once belonged to their grandparents.

“Their family history — at least the military part of the history — now has a place to reside.”

Many artifacts that have been recently donated have also been put on display, including a collection of lee-enfield rifles that the Commonwealth Nations, including Canada used dating back to 1872 and up to the 1960s.

Now, with the upgrades complete, the museum hopes it will draw more people to learn about the regiment and what they did for the country.

“The purpose of the museum is not to glorify war, but to serve as a standing testimony to the service of soldiers of the regiment in the cause of peace and freedom,” said Michael Heppell, retired brigadier general, ex-commanding officer of the regiment and friend of the museum. “The volunteers contribute countless hours of work to make the museum what it is today . . . and maintain the exhibit to world-class standards.”

For info visit canadianscottishregiment.ca.

 

 

 

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