First World War field gun to get overhaul for 100th anniversary

A gun is fired at 3pm at Fort Nelson in commemoration of Armistice Day.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (103654-1)
A gun is fired at 3pm at Fort Nelson in commemoration of Armistice Day.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (103654-1)

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A FIRST World War field gun is to be removed from active duty after it helps mark Remembrance Sunday.

The 18-pounder QF field gun will be fired at 11am on November 11 at the Fort Nelson museum on Portsdown Hill – commemorating the moment when the guns fell silent on the Western front in 1918.

But then it will go straight into the workshops at Fort Nelson to be given an overhaul so it is ready for pride of place in the 100th anniversary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Fort Nelson visitors will join the nation in honouring servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the two world wars and later conflicts.

A further gun-firing takes place at 2pm.

The firings will be conducted by uniformed gun crews from the Brockhurst Artillery, representing field artillery of the early 20th century.

It is hoped that the gun will be operational again in time for Armistice Day 2013.

Royal Armouries’ keeper of artillery Nick Hall said: ‘It’s an interesting gun for many reasons, not least in that it was collected by our former master of the armouries, Charles ffoulkes.

‘He amassed so much material during the First World War that it could not all fit into the Tower of London Armouries, leading to the foundation of the Imperial War Museum.

‘We don’t have any service history for our gun but we can be pretty sure it saw service on the Western front.

‘Artillery was by far the greatest cause of casualties during the Great War and 18-pounders fired nearly 100 million rounds between 1914 to 1918.’

Entry to the museum is free. For more information go to royalarmouries.org