Rocky Point time capsule preserves a slice of 2015

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Rocky Point Ammunition Depot, Commanding Officer LCdr Jason Cheney and Ammunition Maintenance Facility Senior Supervisor Glenda Larocque are preserving a little slice of 2015 for future generations of workers.

Anniversary celebrations on July 21 and 22 at the depot will see the unveiling of a time capsule during a ceremony on the second day.

“Originally, I just thought a time capsule would be an interesting little project to carry out,” says Larocque. “But as we began to organize the project, it took on its own significance as we saw history passing before us.”

Rocky Point had long ago come into possession of a Second World War projectile and it had been sitting near the facility’s gun mount. When refurbishment of the shell began, it was discovered to be hollow.

At 15 inches in diameter, four feet high and 66 inches deep, the shell sparked inspiration for Larocque, who saw an opportunity to store artifacts inside of it and make it a permanent piece of the landscape.

Even without anything inside, the projectile has a story to tell.

It was once an APC BL shell with a ballistic cap and weighed 1,920 pounds. It was carried by HMS Warspite, which was heavily damaged on May 22, 1941 during a German air attack of Crete.

As the ship passed through Esquimalt on its way to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for repair, the shell, which was cracked, was offloaded at the Colwood Magazine. It was moved to CFAD Rocky Point in 1955 where it was used to proof detonators out on the range.

LCdr Cheney says he and Larocque invited CFAD workers to bring items that signified something about Rocky Point. They then placed the artifacts in two ammunitions containers inside the shell casing.

Only contributors know what they have placed inside. No one will know the entire contents of the capsule until it is opened 40 years from now.

“We wanted to keep those personal mementos a secret until it is opened,” says LCdr Cheney.

Two Rocky Point employees refurbished the projectile. Terry Anderson painted it according to its original markings and Pat Wade fabricated a replica Ballistic Cap (nose cone). The newly reconditioned shell is now placed at the flagstaff welcoming workers and guests to the depot’s main gate.

“For the next 40 years, the folks who work here at Rocky point will pass it every single day as they come in and when they leave after a long day’s work,” says LCdr Cheney.

To extract the ammunition containers, a crane will be used to lift the shell and turn it to expose the sealed bottom. LCdr Cheney anticipates that either the depot’s commanding officer or a newly apprenticed ammunition worker will be tasked with the honour of breaking the seal to peer inside.

Both Larocque and LCdr Cheney intend for the capsule to be unsealed on the 100th anniversary of the ammunition depot on July 26, 2055.

Rachel Lallouz, Staff Writer

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