Sherman tank once used in battle in Israel and Syria has come to rest on the front lawn of the Olds Royal Canadian Legion.
The giant machine which has symbolized power, strength and war, will now symbolize the valiant fight of Olds soldiers who died in battle. “This is a 1945 tank used by the King’s Own Regiment. It’s purpose is not to perpetuate war, it’s a memoriam”, Legion president David Lanz told a crowd gathered outside the Legion for dedication.
Bert Sharp, the past-president of the Alberta-NWT Command, said the tank shouldn’t remind people of the destruction. “It’s not intended the memorial be associated with the horrors of war. Rather it’s an instrument that was used to overcome oppression. Let us all who stand here be aware the basic freedoms we enjoy today were not gained without great sacrifice”.
Forty-four men from the Olds area died in battle and their names are inscribed on a granite plaque beside the tank.
Hundreds of people who lined the Olds Senior High School gymnasium were reminded that a Canadian soldier fell in the line of duty this year on a peacekeeping mission in Croatia. Two veterans who went to war together and came home together knew some of the men whose names are immortalized beside the tank.
Vic Morrison and George Jackson left town to join the King’s Own Regiment in Calgary in February 1941. They sailed from Halifax to Scotland and in 1942 landed on the beaches of Dieppe. They used Churchill tanks during the disastrous mission and Mr. Jackson said more men would have survived if they had Sherman tanks.
“The Churchill is a bigger tank but it had a smaller main gun, The Shermans fired high explosive shells”, he reminisced.
“We probably wouldn’t have had so many casualties if we had Shermans, we could have got off the beach”.The Legion traced the use of their tank and found it was used in Israel during the six-day war and in Syria when Israel captured the Golan Heights.
The tank weighs 40 tons, travel 50 km/hr., and has a 76mm gun which can fire 1,850 meters.
1-403-556-6406, 5241-46th street ,Olds, Alberta, Canada, T4H 1H6