HMCS Haida, a Tribal Class destroyer, served with the Royal Canadian Navy from 1943 to 1963. During World War II, Haida destroyed more tonnage of enemy ships than any other Canadian Navy vessel. At 337 feet in length, 36.5 feet at the beam, with a draught of 13 feet, Haida was designed to be more of a small cruiser than a standard destroyer.
A short-lived battery, Fort Chebucto was built in 1943, and decommissioned in the 1950's. Three 6" Mk24 guns were placed here with a range of just under 14 miles (almost 22.5 km) with the idea that, without this battery, and another at Devil's Point, a German battleship would be able to bombard the port of Halifax well out of reach of existing coastal artillery.
It was a sunny, warm day, and we drove into the parking area near the container pier beside Point Pleasant Park. Only a few moments in, and it was clear that this was a popular place as I watched people come and go, and an almost steady stream along the path. I got out, map in hand, and set out in search of three particular pieces of history, the Point Pleasant Battery, Fort Ogilvie, and the Cambridge Battery.
Point Pleasant Battery:
There is conflicting information as to the purpose of this building. Some information seems to indicate that this site was a World War II-era radar site. Perhaps a transmitter site, associated with the large antenna atop the nearby mountain-top.
Other information suggests that this building was part of the communications system assembled by railway that would bring Newfoundland into Canada, and part of the viewership of the CBC. Its proximity to the former railroad does seem to support that.
Belonging to the United States Air Force, construction of this radar station began in 1951 and was completed two years later.
In 1971, control of the station was handed over to the Royal Canadian Air Force, and it was promptly closed. Despite being part of the Pinetree Line, and having radar designed for use with the SAGE system, the station was never made part of the SAGE network.
Arriving in Stephenville, Newfoundland, it's easy to find yourself driving along an old runway. As you look around, you will see many buildings remaining from the former Harmon AFB, some of them dating back to its original construction in the 1940's.
While driving along that runway, I noticed one building in particular that seemed no longer to be in use. We pulled over to take a closer look. It was a fascinating, large hanger and after peering through various broken windows, I came upon a way in.
I had, unfortunately, read about this a few months after being in Stephenville for the first time. I marked it on my map for future reference with the idea that, someday, I would return.
We drove down the dirt road to the place I had marked on the map. From there, it was a short walk along the path until we found what we were looking for.
Completed in 1954 by the US Air Force, this radar station was part of the Pinetree Line, a group of radar sites across Canada used as part of the defense against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was manned by the 914th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron.