Summary

The illustrations shown in this book cover only a very few of the many thousands of different machining operations carried out on the components for the mountings. The larger ones have been chosen as they may more readily be understood from photographs. However, there are many other equally important and interesting operations carried out on smaller components. One remarkable feature of the operations in this shop is that they cover a range from the largest to the very smallest of components. In fact some of the smallest parts might almost be put into the classification of watch making together with the accuracy required in that kind of work.

The shop itself might best be described as a large, well balanced, general purpose, machine shop, equipped with a wide variety of the most modern and highest quality machine tools which are available.

There are approximately 135 machine operators on each of the two shifts. In addition to this there are about 100 fitters on the day shift engaged in assembly of the mountings and about 50 fitters on the night shift.

Considering the fact that many of the machine operators had never seen a machine tool till a year or two ago, it is surprising to find the high quality of work which is now being produced. There has been a sincere desire on the part of the majority of the operators to learn how to do the work properly and this fact is reflected in the work which is being turned out.

High class machining and fitting work combine in the shop of Trenton Industries Limited to produce the 4 in. twin H.W. Mark XIX Naval gun mounting, which is one of the finest pieces of equipment being manufactured in Canada. This is another valuable contribution to the war effort to be included in the long list of contributions already made by the Province of Nova Scotia and its is one of which all members of the province, and Pictou County in particular, may be justly proud.

-Taken from Mr. J. Halloran’s booklet – March 1944

Gunshop Fitters Tool Room

Two hundred and one guns were assembled and shipped by a working force that, at its maximum numbered 600. At the war’s end, production was halted. Trenton Industries Ltd. had been set up in what had formally been the old machine shop of the Car Works, a shop that measured five hundred and fifty feet by ninety feet. There it stood in 1945 and 1946, idle – a modernly equipped and laid out shop.

W.F. Knoll Sr. went looking for business. He found it, first in the production of bottle washers and pasteurizers for the brewing and dairy industries. Twenty three washers, each measuring six feet by thirty five feet and nineteen pasteurizers twelve by sixty five feet were made – but that is another story.

Like its counterpart Eastern Car, Trenton Industries Ltd., in its eighteen years contributed much to the community – from 1941 to 1959 it paid out wages, salaries and pensions of ten and one quarter millions of dollars. In 1959 it’s working force averaged one hundred and fifty men.

There was always a bit of humour went with the long hours and one thing Keith remembers is how Eric Chisholm got his nick name “Shafty”. He was turning a long small shaft that went in the recoil mechanism, when it jumped over the tool holder and got a bend in it. We called him “bent shaft” after that and some of his friends still call him “Shafty”.

Pete Hinchy from New Waterford sent this telegram with a note saying:

“Going through my old papers a few weeks’ ago, I discovered a C.P. Telegram, the history of which is as follows. At the Gunshop, we had a bulletin board and it carried everything – sales, notices of everything lost and found and thank you’s, etc. I enclosed a copy of this telegram congratulating the staff of the successful firing of Gun Mount #1, which shortly before had been tested at the firing range at Petawawa or some other upper Canadian location.

We were a proud group at the Gunshop for if memory serves me well, the first fun mount taxed the imagination of the officials, the engineering staff and the workers at the Gunshop. The gun had been tested at the shop using the overhead crane to check the recoil mechanism and many other items within the limits of what could be completed in Trenton. One of my chores was to straighten out and keep up to date, the bulletin board, so I kept the original of this telegram for a keepsake. Some will remember this souvenir, other will not, but I was just as proud of this item as so many others.”

Telegraph

Keith Wark says when we went to work there in 1941 is was a non-smoking shop so anyone wanting to smoke went to the washroom. One day the superintendent went in to see where everyone was and looking along the row under the doors noticed that everyone was sitting with legs crossed. When he came out he said he didn’t know that people could used the toilet sitting in that position. Not long after that Eric Chisholm got fired for smoking, so we went out on strike for one day, after that we were allowed to smoke at our machines.

Although our work was serious business, we had our fun too – Picnics at Melmerby beach, Hallowe’en Parties, and Ball Team Dances.

Some men owned a race horse named Nitro Hal. It seems Joe O’Brien worked in Trenton and after work every day, headed out to the Union Track. On one of his trips to United States he brought home this horse and sold it to Jerry Forshner – Trainer, Harry MacGirr, Dannie Gillis, John Turner, Bud MacNabb, Mike Cochrane, Paddy Nolan and possibly others. They boarded Nitro Hal at the Union Track Sables at Blue Acres. It was a beautiful horse – well groomed, well built, and it also won its share of races! Joe O’Brien later became one of the all time greatest drivers in the United States.

We had a hockey team named the Blue Jackets (Intermediate Hockey Team), with players: Ray Peppard; Clyde Roy; Dave Ives; Jack Troicuk; Lionel Hancock; Everett McCormick; Herb Legere and Jerry Fulmer.

There was also a ball team – The Atom Smashers:: Herb Legere – Pitcher; Lionel Hancock – Pitcher; Olsen Anderson – Pitcher; Everett McCormick – Catcher; Keith Wark – Catcher; Hayden – First Base; John MacIsaac – First Base; Dannie Gillis – Second Base; Ray Powell – Third Base; Cail Basterache – Center Field; Jerry Fulmer – Center Field; Bud MacNabb – Left Field; Alex Barclay – Right Field; Jack Troicuk – Short Stop; Elsworth Fisher – Spare; Kenny Campell- Spare; Charlie Higgins – Spare.

Another ball team was “The Cardinals” some of the players were:

Les Green; Sid Malcolm; Ray Powell; Alex Robertson; Carl Fitzgerald; Ryland Stone; Carl MacLaren; Ray Gaudet; Eddie Price; Everett McCormick.

Ray Powell played defence for the New Glasgow Bombers. Others were Tiger MacKie and Cail Basterache. Forwards were Boots Baird, Alex Robertson, Lionel Hancock and Eddie Price.

Group Photograph at Trenton Industries Limited

In 1986 four ex-Gunshop employees were reminiscing and decided to have a reunion. They were Alex Barclay, Trenton, Bill McCarron, New Glasgow, George Coady, Westville and Margaret J. MacDonald, Lismore, later to be joined by Catherine Chisholm, Merigomish, Herb Legere, Westville and Ray Peppard Truro. August 15 – 16, 1986 was the proposed date.

Friday evening there was a memorial service conducted by Gunshopper Rev. Harold Cox followed by a wine and cheese party. It was interesting to note that about 250 Gunshoppers came from Prince Edward Island, Ontario, New Brunswick, Maine, north Carolina, Flordia and California to see their old friends,

Various tours were arranged for Saturday – golf, bowling, plane rides, boat rides on the East River – but few took advantage of them as they preferred to just renew old acquaintances. Saturday morning was exciting as a tour of the old Gunshop was arranged and taken advantage of by a large number. Not much was identifiable. However, the water fountain where the guys met the gals was still there, and seemed to smile at the secrets it never revealed. In the evening everyone returned for a banquet and dance.

As a result of the success of the reunion, we had many requests to form a Club, so on November 27/86 our “Gunshop Memory Club” became a reality. Our first President was: Alex Barclay, then George Coady, Forrest Adamson, Ossie Beck, and presently Keith Wark.

We have bi-monthly meetings and some of our activities are sleigh rides, Christmas parties, bus tours to the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Anne Murray Museum, and Cornwallis Base, where one of our Guns is located. This tour was set up by Everett McCormick, Bear River, N.S.

We have a picnic every summer. 1987-Merigomish Community Centre; 1988- Lochaber- at Keith Wark’s Cottage; 1989- Lochaber- at Keith Wark’s Cottage; 1990- Pictou Landing- CNR Club; 1991- Pictou Landing- CNR Club; 1992- Pictou Landing- CNR Club; 1993- Pictou Landing- CNR Club; 1994- Lochaber- at Keith Wark’s Cottage.

Our club makes donations to the food bank periodically. The following ladies were interviewed and appeared on television- Muriel (MacCulloch) Barber, Claudine Smith, Kay (MacDonald) Sutherland, Elsie (Johnstone) Fanning, Margaret (MacGillivray) MacDonald, and Catherine Chisholm.

A brick was purchased at Summer Street Industries, engraved and is on the wall there. We also have a newsletter published bi-monthly with interesting letters from friends near and far.

There were some Gunshop marriages:

Wilma MacDonald & Ray Powell
Shirley Pelly & Lew Nickerson
Kathleen MacDonald & Bill Sutherland
Shirley Cooper & Fred Ferguson
Muriel MacCulloch & Frank Barber
Anne Fraser & Roland Barss
Edna Lavers & Judson Baker
Irene Luddington & Lester MacLellan
Bunny MacKinnon & Frank Mason

Some men became Ministers after leaving the Gunshop, including Edgar Dewar, Joe Knowles, Harold Cox and Howard McCormick.

Hometrenton@nsngp.library.ns.ca