The Guardians of Borden

Whenever I write about the UK, I invariably seem to mention just how many military installations, airfields, and museums are located there. The UK is quite a small place, and the concentration of military sights is staggering- it’s very different from what I’m used to in Canada! But Canada isn’t without its own places of military interest, and one of them is located only half an hour from my house.

CFB Borden has been around for a century; and although it’s not as busy as it might have been during WWII for example, there’s still plenty going on. A couple weeks ago I visited the base to take some pictures of the many vehicles displayed around the area, and I also saw plenty of activity and some troops marching along the roadways. A CH-146 Griffon helicopter (basically equivalent to a Huey) even flew overhead as I was leaving!

Borden F-5

An old F-5 Freedom Fighter stands in the pristine snow outside the Borden Military Museum

Borden M4A2 Sherman

As far as I could tell, this is an M4A2 Sherman tank- distinguishable from the side skirts on the tracks

Borden AVGP

I can’t ascertain precisely what this is, but it seems to be some kind of AVGP (Armoured Vehicle General Purpose)

Borden Churchill

I love how this Churchill tank is standing resolutely among the trees

Borden T-34-85

My favourite Base Borden vehicle, a Soviet T-34/85

Borden T-34-85

Tanks like the T-34, which saw action on the Eastern Front, are no doubt used to being covered in snow!

Borden Tank Thing

Another unidentifiable vehicle…

Borden Crab Flail

One of “Hobart’s Funnies”… a Sherman tank fitted with a flail for detonating mines

Borden Hangar

CFB Borden is still alive, but parts of it are decaying- like this Royal Flying Corps hangar, one of eight that have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. You certainly wouldn’t know of the hangars’ prestigious honour by looking at them.

Borden Hangar Window

Base Borden has been around since 1916, and these hangars were built just one year after.

Borden Hangar

While about half a dozen new buildings are being constructed around the base, these historic jewels are being neglected. It’s such a shame.

On my visit, it was easy to see that while Borden is still in use and is even perhaps growing, parts of it are dying. The runways are no longer used- aircraft flying in the biannual air show always take off from an airport about 40 kilometres away- and there are many disused buildings as well. But all the vehicles displayed are in respectable shape, and all memorials are religiously maintained; although there had just been a large snowfall, each memorial had been shovelled out and cleared of snow. CFB Borden is a fascinating place to visit and I always discover something new each time I go. Although it has its modern sections, it’s also a window into the past; a window which I hope won’t be soon forgotten!

 

 

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2 thoughts on “The Guardians of Borden

  1. I’m only guessing here [since I’m an American], but I imagine they have so many museums because so much has happened. They used to be an empire that spanned the globe, was conquered by the Romans, has a visit or two from the Vikings and fought wars with the US and 2 world wars – I know I’m missing a lot of other events, but that’s my guess.

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