Thursday, November 10, 2022

Tracking down the Hintonburg Howitzer

With Remembrance Day falling in November of course, I wanted to do something on that theme for my Kitchissippi Times column. A few years ago, Paulette Dozois had written a short article for Newswest about the discovery of an old photo from the 1920s of a howitzer gun placed in Somerset Square. It was a piece of long-lost Hintonburg history that no one knew anything about. What was it for? How did it get there? Where did it go? 

I took a shot to figure out all these answers, and was amazed that I was actually able to track down the history! Thanks to one of the Ottawa newspapers of the day actually publishing the serial number of the gun as it discussed it, and an amazing website The Searchers ( that attempts to track the history of all of Canada's war trophies, I was able to come up with the full story of the Hintonburg Howitzer.

What is not 100% definite (though is 99.999% sure) is where it ended life. And it appears it was melted down as part of the war effort for WWII. Just after print deadline, Alex Comber, who maintains The Searchers website, had come up with an old scan he had made from the LAC holding on Malak Karsh, Yousuf’s brother, was an Ottawa-based photographer too, and went around photographing the old war trophies that were neglected and likely to be melted down. His feature was called "Canada Melts its War Trophies", and wihin it, is a photo that apparently shows the old Hintonburg Howitzer sitting snow-covered in back of the dump by Bayview and Scott. 

Malak Karsh: Canada Melts its War Trophies
(LAC R11612 1985-070)

Anyhow, it's an interesting story, and really it's too bad the gun wasn't better maintained and isn't still holding a place at Somerset Square. 

Have a read of the full story at:

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