Terrace- WWII No 1 Armoured Train

Terrace, British Columbia, Canada

No 1, Armoured Train

Canada's First Secret Armoured Train

Built in Spring of 1942 in the CNR Transcona Shops, in Transcona MB, 8 miles East of Winnipeg MB. Today 2014, a suburb of Winnipeg.
These Shops were originally built for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad in 1909.
Train was delivered to Terrace, July 22, 1942
Put into service 7 days later, July 28, 1942 in Prince Rupert.
Sept-Nov 1942 modified in Vancouver Shops.
Back in service Nov 21, 1942, until Sept 17, 1943
Oct 5, 1943, partially dismantled at Pacific.
Further dismantled at Transcona Shops in Sept 1944.

This was a “Secret” Train? How do you hide a train?
Jan 17, 1945 at Transcona, it was revealed Canada had the Armoured train

Summer 1944, in Terrace BC., Soldier Name unknown
From McRae Collection, via Lionel Desilets

Consisted of 6 armoured cars.
2 identical cars on each end, with the guns and searchlights,
and 2 more cars in the middle for the men.
2 modified flat cars on each end
Middle 2 cars were modified box cars.
A 7th car was sent later in August, from Transcona.

Dec 1928 Newspaper article

CNR Locomotive #9000 was armour plated
and made to look like a box car from the air.
Built in Kingston ON, Nov 28, 1928, One of the First Diesel-Electric Locomotives in Canada
Feb 1945 it was stripped of the armour at Pointe St. Charles, Quebec, and returned to Passenger service.
It's original 12 cylinder engine was replaced with a new V- type, two-cycle, 16 cylinder engine, for use during the war.
(see links below for full details, and pictures.)

Served originally from Terrace to Prince Rupert, and return.
It was changed Aug 6, 1942 to run from Tyee to Prince Rupert, and return.

Part of a 1942 Dept of Defence Map of the Military Camp in Terrace
I don't see a copyright symbol on this map, and since it is over 50 years old,
and I doubt if there is any military secrets contained in it, I have decided to add it online now.
It was sent to me from a fellow doing environmental research on buried oil and gas tanks from that time.
Note part of that spur is where the Lafarge Cement plant is today (2015)
Located south of the CNR tracks, between Eby and Munroe St.

Looking at the “Secret” Armed Train Schedule, dated Apr 21, 1943,
It clearly shows the train was kept at Pacific Siding in Apr 1943.
This schedule shows it leaving Pacific Apr 22, 1943, at 0620 hrs
arriving back at 1945 hrs.
Great old form, as it shows number of officers and men on the train, each doing different jobs.
2 officers, in charge of: 24 men manning 4 x 40mm guns,
12 men manning 2 x 75 mm guns,
5 men manning the large Search lights.
They practiced shooting the guns at 74.8 mile,
which was between Exstew and Shames stations.
Form signed by Major J. C. Herbert, Officer Commanding No 1 Armed Train C. A.

click this link below to see the schedule in pdf form
Armoured Car Schedule, Apr 22, 1943, .pdf
Source- Library and Archives Canada
RG24, National Defence, Series C-3
Volume 14186, reel 12416
via the McRae Collection, Terrace

Operated by “A” Company, of the Winnipeg Grenadiers,
under command of Captain N. K. Gateson until Mar 16, 1943
Then by Major J. C. Herbert, of the Oxford Rifles, until the end of it's use.

During WWII the threat of a Japanese attack on the BC coast
was taken so seriously, they not only built protection
in the Rupert Harbour, they had this special train built.
It was to protect the CNR tracks along the Skeena River.
But as you can read in links below,
The train was so heavy, it wrecked the tracks.
Being a secret, unscheduled train, it also killed a couple innocent folks along the tracks.

I have added many EXT links below which describe this train in detail, so will not add too much here.
Didn't see that picture above on any site, so wanted to get it visible, and add links below to other photos.

Captain Norman Keith Gateson
b- May 24, 1902, Surrey, Romford Reg dist, Essex, England
d- Aug 9, 1987 in Kelowna General Hospital, Kelowna, BC, age 85
served in WWI, reg #294324
farmer when he enlisted, May 11, 1916 in Winnipeg MB
when he enlisted he was born in 1900 to be old enough to serve.
He was in the Boy Scouts in Hamiota MB
Sailed from Greenock Scotland Mar 13, 1942,
heading to Ottawa, with other Army Troops on the U.S.S Fuller.
married 1st- Emily Susan Lord, Oct 15, 1928 in Winnipeg, MB

father- George Gateson
b- May 30, 1875 In Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, England, age 41 in 1916
d- bet 1918 and 1921 in MB
1916 he was in the military stationed at Camp Hughes.
enlisted in WWI, Sept 30, 1916, in Winnipeg, reg # 1084028
immigrated in 1908 to Canada, occupation Shoemaker

mother- Florence Edith Gateson, nee Tredaway
b- ca 1876 in England, age 45 in 1921
she was a widow in 1921
Immigrated in 1910
Parents married Apr-June 1898, Chelsea Reg dist, England

sister- Dorothy Madge Gateson
b- ca 1900, In England, age 21 in 1921
married Harry wilding, Sept 12, 1923, St. Boniface MB

brother- Douglas George Gateson
b- ca 1907, in England, age 14 in 1921
married Kathleen Mary Fowle, July 19, 1930 in Winnipeg NB

brother- Alvin George Gateson
b- ca 1917, in MB, age 4 in 1921

brother- Kenneth Norman Gateson
b- ca 1918, in MB, age 3 in 1921

1921 family living in East Kildonan, Springfield, MB

Major John C. Herbert
b- Mar 1908, on a farm at Mitchell ON, a Twin
d- July 7,1999, Alexandra Hospital, Ingersoll ON, age 91
1929 graduate of Waterloo College,
Principal of Ingersoll Collegiate Institute.
He was teaching in the Collegiate before the war.
Served overseas with the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders
1941 he was transferred from the A & T staff of the Oxford rifles
to a staff post in Ottawa.
shown from Mitchell ON in one document.
His name is on a WWII plaque in Wilfred Laurier University
1953, 1958, 1965 and 1968 shown as High School Principal in Oxford, ON
1972 shown as retired.
wife- Helen E. Herbert, nee Taylor, she died before him in 1995
son- John T. Herbert
son- Martin Herbert

twin brother- Albert D. Herbert
older brother- Fred Herbert, b- ca1907
sister- Gertrude Herbert, b- ca 1915 in ON
son of John C. Herbert (Sr) and Louisa Herbert, farmers
1911 and 1921 family in Logan township, ON

List of NW BC Veterans

Terrace Area War Memories

Mutiny in Terrace
WWII Mutiny

Private Berger, WWII War Mystery

Military Graves- in Kitsumgallum, "Terrace Pioneer" Cemetery Headstones

Ext Links
note- NOT my sites.




book link

John C. Herbert story and picture

CNR Loco 9000 history, excellent article here.



  • Last modified: 2018/02/20 16:38
  • by dlgent