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Bailey Bridge on Patricia Lake

Posted On: 09/30/2016

Bailey Bridge: This type of bridge was a portable, pre-fabricated, truss bridge used during WW II for the invasion of Europe by allied forces. It was primarily designed and created by Canadian military engineers and is credited with much of the success of the invasion as it permitted allied forces to advance rapidly on Nazi positions, despite the enemies great destruction of regular bridges in France during their retreat. It is believed by military historians the invasion of Europe would not have been successful without this uniquely Canadian innovation.

The Bailey Bridge on Patricia Lake is a replica of a WW II bridge, but is built on a smaller more permanent scale. A Bailey bridge had the advantage of requiring no special tools or heavy equipment to assemble. The wood and steel elements were small and light enough to be carried in trucks and lifted into place by hand, without a crane.

The first instance of a Bailey bridge being erected under fire was at Leonforte by members of the 3rd Field Company, Royal Canadian Engineers. This replica on Patricia Lake was constructed by members of the 8th Field Engineer Regiment in 2005 as a project to commemorate Alberta’s Centennial.

The Engineers have been represented at the Griesbach Barracks site by the 1st Airborne Field Squadron (1968-1977) and the 8th Field Engineer Regiment (1977-2001). Through out their 100+ year history the Engineers have deployed with and provided essential support to all members of the field force, including the other units represented at the CFB Griesbach. The motto of the Canadian Military Engineering is “Ubique” which in Latin means “everywhere”.

The bailey bridge at the Village at Griesbach community was built with “some” original components harvested from bridges used during the actual WW II invasion and transported back to Canada from France.