By Jim Harris
The CFB Chilliwack Historical Society now proudly displays its recently restored Second World War vehicle, a Royal Canadian Engineers Chevrolet, 3 Ton Dump Truck.
The General Motors “3 Ton Chevrolet Lorry, Tipping” was first assembled for the RCE in 1942 at Oshawa Ontario’s General Motors plant. This dump truck entered the war in Europe aboard landing craft on D-Day. They played an invaluable part in the Canadian sappers’ road and airfield construction and maintenance. Restored Canadian WWII vehicles are rare and this model of dump truck is virtually impossible to find.
This vehicle was found derelict at Ryder Lake (near Vedder Crossing) and recovered in 1996 by a vintage military vehicle restorer in Vancouver. He brought the dump truck to running condition and was painstakingly restoring it when he needed someone to complete the restoration project. Coming to his aid, the CFB Chilliwack Historical Society spearheaded a drive in co-operation with the Canadian Military Engineers Museum to purchase the vehicle and complete the restoration.
The restoration is now completed and the dump truck carries the markings of a WWII RCE Coy of the 3rd Division, as ready for loading aboard a D-Day Landing Craft destined for Normandy. George Morden was responsible for directing the restoration. Some minor problems were thrown at us, but, any Engineer worth his salt can replace the throttle cotter pin. A little more difficult was the battery failure, and the real challenge was when the headlights failed. But the Christmas lights worked!
The CFB Chilliwack Historical Society displays this vehicle at every opportunity to help recount the history of CFB Chilliwack, “Home of the Engineers.” The accompanying pictures show the tipper’s participation in the Chilliwack Christmas Parade. This “3 Ton Chevrolet Lorry, Tipping” is the only known working one of its’ kind. Many thanks to all donors who made this restoration - especially the generous CME Museum donation.CFB Chilliwack Historical Society 6760 School Lane Rd Chilliwack, BC V2R 2C9 Webpage at Chilliwack Remembers