During WWII, Shelburne, Nova Scotia was designated as an alternate port to Halifax Harbour. As such, the entrance to the Roseway River needed to be protected. Fort McNutt was constructed in 1939, and was in operation until 1943. It was garrisoned by the 104th Coast Artillery Battery.
According to NorthAmericanForts.com, it was equipped with two American-made 10-inch M1888 naval guns. An article on Fort Wiki, suggests that these two guns were moved here from Battery Quarles, Fort Worden in Washington State. I'm not sure if that's true, as it indicates these guns were dismantled in 1941, but Fort McNutt began service in 1939. Further, while the gun pictured here still mounted is clearly an M1888 10-inch naval gun, the one laying on the ground appears substantially smaller.
Another document I found at DocStoc.com lists only one 10-inch M1888 being moved from Battery Quarles to Fort McNutt. Perhaps the other gun was originally placed there in 1939, and the M1888 was moved there to supplement the fort's firepower in 1941.
When you come to this island, it's almost impossible to get lost. There is but one road leading you to the island's two primary attractions. Signs have been thoughtfully placed along the almost 6km stretch, not only to guide you, but also to entertain you and while away the travel time.
If a sign didn't point it out, however, it would be easy to miss this amazing piece of Canada's WWII history. The bunkers, the overgrown trenches, and most spectacularly, the naval guns still present in their respective batteries, makes the hike more than worth it.
Special thanks to our generous Ferryman for the ride, and to our cheerful, adventurous guide for making this visit possible!
I took a trip to McNutt's Island years ago with my brother, Scott and cousin, Cathy. These pictures bring back memories. It was so quiet and peaceful there...like going back in time. We grew up in Sandy Point and used to go to the island in the summer and had barbecues on the beach. Thanks for bringing me back.
The guns actually were both M1888 10 inch guns. They tried to salvage one a while back but only got halfway through cutting one in half lengthwise before giving up, unable to finish the job. What remains on the ground was too heavy to bring out with them, and the second was was left intact and in place. You should still be able to see the stamping on the breech on at the end of the barrel, indicating when they were built, and once you realize it's only the back half of the gun it's pretty obvious the two are the same. ( similar to the ones you might see restored at Signal Hill in Saint Johns, without the retracting mechanisim ).