Take a closer look at the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol and its collections as staff share stories about some well-known and some not-so-well-known features, artifacts, and more. In the first of this new blog series, Collections Intern Thomas Lang looks at one of the Museum’s most recognizable artifacts, the M4A2E8 Sherman Tank, and shares how an armoured vehicle manufactured in the United States found its way to Goderich.
The M4A2E8 Sherman Tank has been a part of the Huron County Museum’s collection since 1978 and is a popular feature on the Museum grounds. Manufactured by General Motors’ Fisher Tank Arsenal in Grand Blanc, Michigan, at the tail end of the Second World War, it was one of 294 tanks purchased by the Canadian Militia for training purposes in 1946. Between its variants, the Sherman was the most widely used tank among the Allies in the Second World War, and reserve units in Canada continued to operate them until the 1970s. The Museum’s tank was attached to the Ontario Regiment in Oshawa until November, 1973, when it was declared surplus and purchased by the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 109 Goderich.
After being displayed near the Goderich Airport for five years, the Legion donated the tank to the Huron County Museum and held a Memorial Dedication Service on Aug. 20, 1978. The Legion dedicated the memorial to all the Allied armies who used Sherman tanks in the Second World War and to those who produced these armoured vehicles on the homefront. Lieutenant-Colonel David Currie, recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of the Falaise Pocket, unveiled the plaque at the Museum and the Legion painted the tank to resemble Currie’s command tank in the 29th Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (The South Alberta Regiment) to commemorate his service.
Since the ceremony, the tank has remained on public display outside the Museum. In 1996, a group of student volunteers painted the tank as part of the Junior Curators Painting Project. Today, we have repainted and added identification markers to the tank to reflect what it would have looked like while being used by the Ontario Regiment.
While the Museum is temporarily closed to the public, you can still see the Sherman tank, as it is always on display on the north side of the Museum on Trafalgar Street.
Further information about the Sherman Tank: