Seabiscuit, a CM&S truck converted into a wartime armoured car. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Seabiscuit, a CM&S truck converted into a wartime armoured car. Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Remembering wartime years in the city

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

With COVID-19 cancelling Remembrance Day services at the Trail Cenotaph this year, Trail Blazers instead is presenting photos from the past as a way to honour Nov. 11, 2020.

In the wartime years, Remembrance Day services were held in front of the Canadian Legion, also known as Memorial Hall, on Victoria Street.

Remembrance Day services in front of the Canadian Legion in 1942. Photo: Trail Historical Society.

Remembrance Day services in front of the Canadian Legion in 1942. Photo: Trail Historical Society.

The building was constructed in 1924 as a memorial to the Trail men who lost their lives in the First World War.

Consolidated Mining and Smelting (CM&S, now Teck Trail) donated the land and paid for half the construction costs.

The Trail community joined together to raise the rest of the money needed.

This first Legion building also housed a library, a gymnasium, and a bowling alley.

Later, in 1928, the Jubilee outdoor pool was added.

The Legion conducted Remembrance Day ceremonies in front of this cornerstone hub until the Trail Cenotaph was built in 1951.

The Royal Canadian Legion renovated the interior after the Second World War, where it stood until teardown in 2000.

Another interesting wartime image shared by the city archives for this feature is of “Seabiscuit.”

Seabiscuit was a truck converted into an armoured car by CM&S, for security purposes, during the Second World War.

(This stalwart auto was likely named after Seabiscuit, a champion thoroughbred racehorse in the United States who became the top money winning racehorse up to the 1940s, as noted in films and books. He beat the 1937 Triple-Crown winner, War Admiral, by four lengths in a two-horse special at Pimlico and was voted American Horse of the Year for 1938.)

CM&S contributed to the war efforts of both world wars.

“World War I increased the demand for lead and zinc and the CM&S realized the need to develop a better means to treat zinc ores,” Jesslyn Jarvis, the city’s collection coordinator explained.

Ralph W. Diamond was hired by the company to develop a process to treat the rich lead and zinc ores of the Sullivan Mine, and his research later led to a breakthrough in treating zinc ore with the development of the zinc electrolytic refining process.

“During World War II, production at the smelter was increased to assist with the war effort and heavy water produced at CM&S’ Hydrogen Plant in Warfield was used in the development of the atomic bomb,” Jarvis said.

“Project 9, as it was named, was top secret and employees were not aware the product was meant for nuclear production.”

City of TrailLocal History

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

Mascot Super Saver Sam sends a socially-distanced high-five to all Kootenay Savings community partners. As part of Kootenay Savings ongoing commitment to giving back to the Kootenays, through good times and challenging times, the credit union has teamed up with their community-minded employees to distribute $9,500 in donations to 17 non profits.Photo: Kootenay Savings
Kootenay Savings gives a boost to non-profits

Employees at each branch picked a non-profit for a $500 gift

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

A pillar of the Trail community, stonemason Bill Di Domenico recently passed away just shy of his 104th birthday. Here are people walking along the stone bleachers he helped construct at Gyro Park. (date unknown) Photos: Submitted
Paying homage to a cherished Trail stonemason

Guglielmo “Bill” Di Domenico recently passed away just months shy of his 104th birthday

Andy Yoon of Abbotsford receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 24, 2020. As of Feb. 22, 2021, Fraser Health had still not laid out a rollout plan to vaccinate people over 80. (Photo courtesy of Fraser Health)
OPINION: Daughter of 97-year-old Chilliwack man is asking when her father will get vaccinated

While 94% of those over 70 in the UK have had the COVID jab, the nonagenarian from England must wait

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

(Black Press file photo)
Agassiz boy, 11, dies from ‘extensive injuries’: Homicide team

Agassiz RCMP were called out Friday to assist with a child in medical distress

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
B.C. has now vaccinated more people from COVID-19 than total confirmed cases

B.C. has reached a milestone, vaccinating roughly 1.6% of its population from the coronavirus

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Vancouver Island sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Nanaimo store, cutting himself in the process

Most Read