Article by Stanley Britton, CME, FRAIC
|Oyez, Oyez, Oyez My Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen and Sappers Take heed and listen on this the 22nd Day of September in the year of our Lord 2019 We are gathered at this magnificent point on the Great Trail to acknowledge the work of Canadian Military Engineers in bridging the gap in the Salt Marsh Trail over the Cole Harbour waters by constructing the Ready-Aye-Ready Bridge. We declare that this bridge is well and truly made and will be honoured by a permanent marker that we unveil now GOD SAVE THE QUEEN|
As an adjunct to the Sunday, September 22rd Trans Canada Trail Tribute to the Canadian Military Engineers held at Alderney Gate near the Dartmouth-Halifax ferry terminal overlooking Royal Engineers-constructed Citadel Hill and the Royal Canadian Navy Dockyard with RCN and NATO ships in port, CME Colonel Commandant BGen (retd) Steve Irwin and CME Branch CWO Glenn Simpkin joined The Great Trail Board of Directors, Cole Harbour Trails & Parks Association members and a busload of civilian “instragram” well-wishers to unveil a refreshed dedication plaque for the CME 2003 ‘Bridges for Canada’ signature Ready-Aye-Ready Bridge.
Mahone Bay published author, Memory Project speaker and commissioned from the ranks Canadian Military Engineer – now-retired – Gary Silliker spoke of the Ready-Aye-Ready construction when he recalled: “The Naval Construction Troop (Atlantic) all-timber structure was built to re-bridge a 40-meter gap left by an earlier fire-by-arson. Pile foundations were the design of choice. A low tide exposed the charred tops of old piles that required labour-intensive schedule-extending grafting. However, there were no piles to be seen on the first-day work. NCT(A) arrived just as Mother Nature had decided upon a high tide. Murphey’s Law of Engineering No. 4!”
“Time spent doing a thorough reconnaissance is seldom wasted,” says Gary, noting that “by way of a reminder and by custom, upon completion, the Bridge Captain (Gary) was tossed overboard.”