Sackville, a Canadian town in New Brunswick, lost 55 of its men during WWII with the Canadian forces fighting in Italy.
The 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise’s) regiment–the longest-serving armored regiment in the Canadian Army, including landing it Italy with the 5th Canadian Armoured Regiment in 1943 and fighting from the Liri Valley to the Gothic Line– recently donated a retired Cougar AVGP to Sackville in February for use as a static memorial.
The town council decided to install it the local Memorial Park, which already features another military vehicle, a 1950/60s Ferrett, to honor the lost 55 as well as all other veterans.
The Cougar, based on the six-wheeled version of the Swiss MOWAG Piranha I, is similar to the U.S. Marine’s LAV-25 and the Army’s Stryker vehicle. The Canadians never deployed their Cougars for combat, despite the fact they carried the turret of a British Scorpion reconnaissance vehicle complete with a 76mm gun. They were retired in 2006 after some 30 years service and have since been relegated to gate guards, museum hulls and target vehicles.
However, some in the town have got a problem with the Cougar. Not because it is an anachronism to Sackville’s WWII war dead, but because of war in general.
“This modern armoured vehicle is a symbol of military violence and it does not serve as an appropriate memorial to those who served,” says one heartburned local, who no doubt enjoyed the fact that he could make his statement in English rather than German, or Russian.
Sackville is now reconsidering the display.