[Ed. Note: Corrected the original locations of the cannon after receiving additional information from MBDO Board Director Micheal Dravo and — the man responsible for creating Veterans Memorial Park in Maywood and the one who wrangled all these memorials to the new location. Additional information received from Connie Bradley via Facebook.]
I received a call today from VP Edwin Walker asking if I had any information about the large piece of artillery in Veterans Memorial Park in Maywood. When we replaced and rededicated the memorial plaque located between the flagpoles at Veterans Memorial Park, we did some research on the plaque. Today, I’d like to share some of the research we’ve done on the other piece of hardware in the park — the large cannon.
So far, we have not located any direct information on exactly when the tank was dedicated. We do know, however, where it was originally located. The cannon was placed in a memorial park at 10th and Warren Avenues until about 1950, when it was moved to the Maywood American Legion Post at 5th Ave and Legion St. When Veterans Memorial Park was created in 1999, the cannon was relocated to that park.
The cannon, perhaps surprisingly, is not American — it’s from Great Britain. It was one of the main artillery pieces used during WWI by the British, and eventually American, soldiers. It is known as a BL 60 Pounder Mk. I. For the detail oriented, the BL 60-Pounder is mounted on a Mk II carriage with tractor wheels. This carriage was intended to be drawn by a vehicle, but could also be drawn by a team of horses. The cannon shot a 60 pound, 5 inch projectile as far as two miles.
After the end of WWI, many of these artillery pieces were in the United States, having been sent here for training during the Great War. As the pieces were decommissioned, some were made available for war memorials. Today, there are many of these pieces still on display, including in museums and other memorial parks.
The cannon is now under the care of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, and is regularly cleaned and repainted to minimize corrosion.