During World War II, the Otis Fensom Elevator Company plant in Hamilton was converted to war work and began producing barrels and mounts for the BOFORS 40mm anti-aircraft gun. The first gun came of the line on 21 August 1941 at the plant at Ferrie Street East and Victoria Avenue and thousands were produced during the war by Hamiltonians, both men and women.
BOFORS guns served on Canadian naval vessels and with army units during the Second World War and then after the war on the Canadian aircraft carrier HMCS MAGNIFICENT and as airfield defence for Canadian airfields in Germany. They were retired and then recalled to service on HMCS ATAHABASKAN, TERRA NOVA, RESTIGOUCHE and PROTECTEUR during the First Gulf War in 1991and finally were mounted as the main armament on the KINGSTON Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels built between 1994 and 1997
Last week, HMCS STAR, Hamilton’s Naval Reserve Division, received a surplus 40mm Mk NC1 Naval gun mounting which was mounted as a memorial inside the gates of Canadian Forces Reserve Barracks off Dock Service Road. The mounting contains gun number L/7780 which is stamped OFE/C (Otis Fensom Elevator / Canada) 1942. Its new home is less than one kilometre from the place where it was produced seventy-six years ago!