WWII Anti-Aircraft Positions

NSARM https://archives.novascotia.ca/eastcoastport/archives/?ID=119

So I went looking to see if i could find out where Halifax’s Anti aircraft positions were. I happened to find the Canadian Forces UXO legacy sites program, which provided a list of possible sites, but no further information. So I sent an email, looking for more information, and received a response.

With that information, i was able to produce the map above of WWII Anti-Aircraft positions.

At the start of the war, Halifax was defended by 2 13pdr QF 9CWT AA guns. these were installed on towers at York Redout. these guns were sent to canada with 6 others in 1920, and were obsolete. 4 3″ 20-CWT guns were sent form Kingston, and were installed at Imperoil and Burnside. The Burnside guns were moved to Connoly street when three newer 3.7 inch guns arrived, and were installed at burnside. a 4th was installed at Hartlin Point for training.

The Gun in the initial picture looks to be a 3″ 20-CWT gun in use until 1943. The Connolly Street Heavy Anti- Aircraft emplacement was setup in 1940, and would have been equipped with this gun.

The Connolly Street HAA Gun Site was located at the intersection of Connolly Street and Almon Street in Halifax; the position was sited approximately 150 yards south of Connolly Street. The site consisted of approximately 4.05 acres leased from the Eastern Trust Company.  A gun position was constructed and operational by October 1940. In June 1941, the 14th AA Bty was moved to Arvida, and the 4 20cwt guns (Connoly st and imperoil) were relocated there. The site was vacated effective 23 October 1942, and all military buildings were subsequently removed by the Canadian Army.

Most of the AA Batteries established in Halifax were built in 1942, and would have been Equipped with the Bofors 40mm Light AA gun, or the 3.7-inch Heavy Anti-aircraft gun. Halifax was aloted 28 3.7″ guns, and 16 40mm.

initial training on these guns occurred at A.23 Coast Defence and Anti-Aircraft Artillery training center in Halifax. gunners would then be sent to Debert, where additional training would occur, and they would be assigned to units.

A.23 trained light Anti Aircraft Bofors guns out of the Citadel, later moving to Connolly street. 9cwt guns on Lawlors island, 3.7 heavy guns were trained at Wrights Brook, off Navy Island cove in the Bedford Basin, later moving to Eastern Passage.

the Bofors 40mm was the primary light AA gun in use. Otis Fensom Company (the Elevator folks, with a plant in Hamilton On) built 40-mm Bofors Light Anti-aircraft guns (27,543 barrels and 2,527 complete guns by 31 March 1944) The bofors 40mm was a very common gun, and was used on ships as well as on transportable and fixed mounts. The towed Variant of the gun was commonly used for air defence in Canada During the war.

Bofors 40mm LAA Gun (Canadian Artillery Museum)

The 3.7″ gun was the Heavy Anti Aircraft gun used after the retirement of of the prewar 20cwt guns. Canadian Westinghouse built 3.7-inch Heavy Anti-aircraft guns (4,965 barrels and 1,650 mountings by 31 March 1944)

Below are a list of Anti-Aircraft Sites in Halifax, and details of each site.

Halifax Sites

This is a LAA site in Goose Bay, and likely similar to that on tower road.

The Tower Road LAA Site was located in southern Halifax, on a parcel bounded by Bridge Street, Atlantic Street, and Tower Road. In May 1942 the Tower Street site was selected as the location of a LAA battery and ultimately consisted of five (5) barrack and administrative buildings, and a single gun position emplaced on a framework tower situated on the south side of the property.

The Greenbank LAA Site was located near the Halifax Port area to the north of Point Pleasant Park and east of present day Young Avenue.  Exact dates of use are not known.

The Nova Scotia Technical College LAA Site was located at the Nova Scotia Technical College Building (now known as the Ralph M. Medjuck Architecture Building) on Spring Garden Road. In May 1942 the school site was selected as the location of an AA battery. The college building was subsequently rented by the Crown from the college at an unknown date. By February 1943 a single AA gun position was erected on the roof of the building.

Purcell’s Cove Heavy AA Battery was located between Colpitt Lake and the south shore of the Northwest Arm .  The site was operational by September 1942.  4 guns were in place, and operated by the 18 AA Bty.

Aerial Imagery suggests that remains of this site may still exist.

The Fairview AA Temporary Deployment Magazine was located in Fairview Station, north of Kent Street (now Main Avenue), approximately 1.3 kilometres south-west of the intersection with Bedford Highway. The site consisted of 10 individual magazines housed in Nissen huts covered with soil for protection; the exact location of the magazine buildings on site is not known. Dates of use were 1942-1945, with the site being declared surplus in 1946 and leases terminated in 1947.

The Prince’s Lodge HAA Site was located south of Prince’s Lodge on the western side of the Bedford Basin, inland west of Birch Cove, north of Halifax. Construction commenced in May 1942; the site ultimately consisted of sixteen (16) structures including a Temporary Dispersal Magazine, a command post and four concrete gun emplacements. the 4 guns were in operation by the 19AA bty by November 14 1942.

The Rockhead HAA Site was located in the North End of Halifax, in an area defined approximately by an extension of Goettingen Street (now Novalea Drive), Warden Street, Highland Avenue, and Leeds Street. The site was selected as the location of an AA battery during May 1942. the battery was in operation Febuary 3 1943, and consisted of four (4) gun positions and a central command post operated by the 18 AA Bty.

The Fort Needham LAA Site was located at Fort Needham in the north end of Halifax. From 1776 to 1917 Fort Needham was a military property occupied by a battery and barracks, until these were destroyed by the Halifax Explosion in 1917. A LAA battery was emplaced at the site by May 1942 , and consisted of a single gun position situated at the northern end of the property

The Lynch St LAA Site was located approximately near the northern end of Lynch Street in the North End of Halifax. In May 1942 the site was selected as the location of a LAA battery.  The battery was extant by August 1942, and consisted of a single gun position and two (2) associated barracks buildings

The Fort Charlotte LAA Site was located on Georges Island at the centre of Halifax Harbour. Fort Charlotte was constructed in 1749 following the occupation of Georges Island. An AA battery was emplaced on Georges Island before May 1942. It consisted of a single AA gun position and associated barracks constructed at the centre of the nineteenth century fortifications.

Dartmouth Sites

The Burnside AA Site was located in Burnside west of Dartmouth and south-east of Navy Island Cove. The Burnside AA Site was constructed by August 1942, and consisted of one heavy and one light AA gun positions and associated barracks

The Imperoyal sites consisted of a group of at least 4 LAA gun positions planned in January 1942, of which three positions are known to have been located in the general vicinity of the Sugar Refinery, Marion Heights, and Imperoyal North

The Marion Heights LAA Site was located in Imperoyal, Dartmouth, west of the Dartmouth Aerodrome. The site was established prior to May 1942. It consisted of a single AA gun position situated atop a framework tower, and associated barracks.

The Sugar Refinery LAA Site was located on the shore of Halifax Harbour west of Woodside, Dartmouth. In May 1942 the site was selected as the location of a LAA battery. It was completed by February 1943, and consisted of a single AA gun position and associated barracks.

The Gaston Road AA Temporary Deployment Magazine was located on 17.2 acres of land acquired from four individuals on Gaston Road, near Russel Lake, Dartmouth

The Russell Lake HAA Site was located on the western shore of Russell Lake, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The site was constructed by June 1942, and consisted of four AA gun emplacements and associated living quarters.

The Morris Lake HAA Site was located between Morris Lake and De Said Lake, along the present Caldwell Road in Dartmouth. The site consisted of approximately 10 to 12 acres. Construction of the site commenced by June 1942.  The site consisted of a grouping of four gun emplacements located opposite the north end of De Said Lake, with barracks and administrative buildings situated to the north along the roadway. 

Other Sites

There were Anti Aircraft guns at other sites, not covered above.

bofors AAA on the northwest demi bastion at the Citadel (Part of A.23)

Wrights Creek HAA battery on a small peninsula south of the South Gate of the Bedford Naval Magazine and the northern end of Wrights Cove. Some of us kids would sometimes slip around there for a look when I was growing up. There were at 4 gun emplacements, a central command building. 19AA bty put thes in operation in July and August 1943

The Strawberry battery and Fort Mcnab, both on Mcnabs island were HAA sites.


Halifax was also provided with a Ring of 12 Anti-Aircraft Search lights.
one with devils battery (hartlin Point)
Searchlights had 3 functions – dazzle enemy aircraft, assist with aircraft identification, and beacon to guide lost aircraft, a role in which they were successfully employed. they were decommisioned in June of 1944.
5 special mobile seachlight was formed to assit with RCAF Training. they traind at fort ives.

One thought on “WWII Anti-Aircraft Positions

  1. Thanks for sharing.
    The remains of the Colpitt/Purcells Cove battery are indeed there.
    I was going to attach a photo but It seems that is not possible.
    I was under the impression that that the hangar (That Dad helped build during WW II.) that used to be out where the schools and nursing home are above Eastern Passage was the AA Headquarters/storage/training location.

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