Legion tank to get new name

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 03:00 pm | Julie Bertrand
Paul Frey/Olds Albertan
Paul Frey/Olds Albertan
The legion's Sherman "Easy Eight" tank has been named Archie by the École Olds Elementary School Grade 4 students. The name has already been painted on two sides of the tank.
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The Olds Royal Canadian Legion will hold a dedication ceremony for its tank this Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

This spring, the legion entrusted École Olds Elementary School students with the task of giving the legion’s new tank a name.

The legion received the tank, a Sherman “Easy Eight” model, last fall from the Strathcona Museum.

“Unlike its predecessor, which was an Israeli modified hybrid ‘I’ Sherman tank and saw combat during the Six-Day War in the Golan Heights, our new tank has direct historical ties in the community of Olds,” said Sheryl Cunningham, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #105 first vice-president.

The tank was stationed in Olds at the armoury from 1952 to 1964 along with three other tanks, where it was used by the “A” Squadron of the King’s Own Cavalry Regiment (KOCR).

Since it was customary during the wars to give names or nicknames to tanks and airplanes, the Olds legion decided to continue the tradition.

“We did research with the KOCR to determine what names had been used on tanks. They provided us with the complete list of all the ‘A’ names,” said Cunningham.

Legion members decided to use the opportunity to involve the community.

“We want to try to instil and impress on young people the importance of remembrance,” said Cunningham.

“What better way to do that than have school-aged children name the tank?”

École Olds Elementary School was selected by a random draw. Then, Jane Atkins’ Grade 4 class held a secret ballot and chose Archie.

“I believe close to 12 names were on the list. The one I was surprised that wasn’t very popular at all was Alberta. I figured that since we were in Alberta, it would be,” said Cunningham.

“The kids all seemed to like Archie. It was overwhelming actually, the number of votes Archie got.”

Cunningham says letting students choose the tank’s name fulfilled the legion’s goal.

“What I was really impressed with, at the elementary school, when I was talking to the principal there, she said that they made this into a class project almost,” she said.

“The students were instructed on Archie, the history of Dieppe, because of the anniversary of Dieppe on August 19. The kids were quite interested in learning about not just the tank but World War II and that sort of thing.”

While the name will be painted in the regiment’s colours on both sides of Archie this week, the dedication ceremony will take place on Sunday, during the KOCR’s 67th reunion.

“Because their theme this year is a tribute to Dieppe and the end of hostility in Afghanistan, they want to make it special,” said Cunningham.

The Olds legion invites all residents to participate in the ceremony.


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