Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Tracks - Tank Production in Canada

The first order connected with tank production was received in October, 1939. At that time a requisition for one hundred hulls for the Valentine (Infantry, Tank, Mark III) was submitted to the Canadian Defence Purchasing Board by the British Purchasing Mission in Canada. Drawings and specifications in connection with this order were received from the United Kingdom in January, 1940 and a conference was immediately held between representatives of the British Purchasing Mission, the Department of Munitions and Supply (War Supply Board) and the Department of National Defence (Branch of the Master General of the Ordnance). At this conference it was decided that the logical plant in Canada to undertake the work was the Angus Shops in Montreal. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company, which owned the shops, was willing to undertake the work and began organizing production. On 2 April 1940, however, the order was withdrawn. It was understood at the time that the order was cancelled because the British preferred to produce tanks in Canada from a later design. This was one reason. There was another, however, and that was the British belief that a suitable plant did not exist in Canada.