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Cape Spear Military History

Cape Spear, Newfoundland, being the eastern-most land mass on Canada's coast, played an important role in country's military history during WW2. During that time, many American soldiers served alongside Canadian forces to help protect the North American land borders. Fort Cape Spear was heavily fortified to guard against enemy warfare. To service the soldiers, barracks & mess hall were erected at Cape Spear. The American presence in Newfoundland created an economic and social boom for the province and, when the war ended and troops retreated in 1945, many Newfoundland women became war brides. The barracks and mess hall were demolished and much of the ammunition was removed. However, two 10 inch M1888 guns remain on location near the coast to serve as grim reminders of the battle of WW2.

Large, rust pitted, mounted gun, concealed within a concrete trench overlooking the ocean at Cape Spear.
This is one of two 10 inch guns used at Cape Spear during WW2 and now serving as war memorabilia for tourists.

Each of the 10 inch M1888 guns was mounted on a hydraulic carriage which allowed the guns to be raised for combat and then concealed in concrete trench when not in use. To distract from the actual location of the battery, landscaping was done further down the coast to make it appear as if a military fortress was at the "dummy battery".

At Cape Spear, Newfoundland, there is an underground bunker and a disappearing gun close to the ocean's edge.
At Cape Spear, a disappearing gun & nearby bunker played important roles in NL land defense during wartime.

Located in close proximity behind the guns was an underground concrete bunker which contained ammunition for the guns. Each gun had its own bunker with a service corridor which allowed soldiers to move about undetected and to gain quick access to ammunition for the guns.

Inside Cape Spear's underground concrete bunker is an illuminated corridor.
Cape Spear underground bunker corridor leading to the ammunition storage rooms.

"Chat rooms," concealed by Cape Spear's rugged landscape, were important communication centres during WW2. These underground bunkers were staffed by radio operators who would monitor naval traffic and relay the information to the gunners defending the coast.

Concealed under grassy vegetation on a cliff at Signal Hill, Newfoundland is a hidden communication centre which was used during wartime.
Communication centres (chat rooms) hidden in the grassy landscape of Cape Spear.

The ammunition storage rooms within the bunkers were constructed of thick concrete which could absorb great impact in case of accidental explosion.

Inside Cape Spear's underground bunkers are rooms with a dome roof and thick concrete walls that can withstand great force.
Inside Cape Spear's bunkers are ammunition storage rooms with thick concrete walls that can withstand great force.

The red walled, underground, bunker rooms at Cape Spear, NL, stored ammunition for use by the disappearing guns at the entrance to the bunker..
Cape Spear underground bunkers stored ammunition for the disappearing guns at the bunker entrance..

One entrance to each of the bunkers was concealed in the rugged landscape whereas the other entrance was located in close proximity to the disappearing gun that it serviced.

A gravel path leads to the entrance of an underground bunker at the base of a grassy cliff.
The distal entrance to the underground bunker is sheltered by Cape Spear's grass covered cliffs.

Although the old military props found at Cape Spear are captivating to those of us exploring them from a tourist perspective, we should always remember the sacrifices of our forefathers who fought to maintain our human rights and freedoms.

Sandra Murray, owner of Murray House Vacation Home and writer of Newfoundland Travel Blog standing on a bridge overlooking a forest clearing and waterfall.
Sandra Murray, owner of Murray House Vacation Home and writer of Newfoundland Travel Blog

Please check out my blog as I showcase more amazing tourist attractions in eastern Newfoundland.


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