This week’s Friday Find comes to us from Dale Plummer, the City Historian of Norwich, Connecticut. Mr. Plummer shares a World War I memorial that once resided on the Chelsea Parade green in Norwich.
Mr. Plummer wrote us:
[A] series of articles from the Norwich Bulletin [ran] in 1926 about a “war trophy” installed on Chelsea Parade. This German howitzer was removed about 10 years ago after the wooden portions of its carriage rotted out. It now rests at Mohegan Park.
After several years of patient waiting, R. O. Fletcher post, No., 4, American Legion, has finally secured a war trophy for Norwich. The trophy, a captured German 155mm howitzer, arrived at the local New Haven railroad yards Tuesday and will probably be unloaded the (Wednesday) morning. Adjutant Joseph Bellefleur of Fletcher post received notification Monday from the office of Governor John H. Trumbull, Hartford, that the local post’s application for a war trophy, made several years ago, had been approved and granted and that Hartford had requested Washington to ship the gun.
The gun arrived Tuesday and Adjutant Bellefleur notified Commander / E. C. Dunbar of the post of its arrival Tuesday evening. Commander Dunbar and Adjutant Bellefluer met in conference with Mayor Milo R. Waters in regard to the unloading and placing of the trophy and Street Commissioner John. C. Donovan consented to the use of one of his heavy trucks to unload and drag the gun to its resting place.
Commander Dunbar will confer this (Wednesday) morning with First Selectman William S. Murray, to secure permission to set up the trophy on Chelsea parade near the monument. A base will have to be secured for the gun.
The gun, which is of the howitzer type, weighs about 4,500 pounds.
The captured German cannon, secured for Norwich by Fletcher post, No. 4, American Legion, and which arrived in this city several months ago, has been hauled to Chelsea Parade where it will be located permanently. It is to be placed back of the World war memorial tablet at the parade. Exercises commemorating the placing of the war trophy on the parade will be held Armistice day as a part of the town’s Armistice day and sesquicentennial observance.
As the governor concluded his remarks the war trophy was fittingly dedicated. It is located on the small plot where the World War memorial stands and it had been covered with tarpaulin which was drawn aside by four men, a soldier, a sailor, a marine, and an American Legion member, the last named being Leslie Fletcher, brother of Robert O. Fletcher, after whom the Norwich post is named . . .
The memorial was last mentioned in The Norwich Bulletin 2007 June 27 article, “Howitzer OK’d at memorial site.”