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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Gun outside Kampala Museum, Uganda.


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Here are 4 images of a gun I saw in the grounds of Kampala Museum, Uganda.

Can anyone identify it?



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I think that your last photo nails it, as the inscription says its a 9 pounder boat gun. Such weapons were usually carried in the eyes of a naval boat such as a ships launch with the purpose of clearing a beach for a landing party (and if necessary covering a withdrawal). Mid 19th Century. It would have had a lock fixed for firing where the screws now are. Now being as it's in Uganda which has no coast line and was in German hands until sometime during the war one can only conclude that it was used in some of the operations on one of the lakes in the region. There was a launch borne British raid across at least one of them.

This type of gun (with a wooden carriage) was first used in the contested landings near Alexandria in 1801 and may have been the brain child of Sir Ralph Abercrombie. They proved very effective.

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The "CAR" may be the maker - Carron (Iron Works)

Carron Iron Company's first furnace opened in 1760, and by 1800 it was the largest smelting works in Europe, with 1,000 employees. James Watt, the 'father of steam power', had his first momentous engine made at Carron; the Adam brothers designed fireplaces and domestic appliances for the company; Henry Shrapnel developed his devastating exploding shell there.

A key reason for the company's fame was the invention of a small naval cannon, called the carronade. The carronade was a short smoothbore, cast iron cannon, developed in December 1778 for the Royal Navy. It was used up until the 1860s, most notably on HMS Victory proving to be a significant contribution to the British cause at Trafalgar. It was also used in the American Civil War.

The launch of the 'carronade' began the Falkirk area's long involvement with the munitions industry. 'The Iron Duke' of Wellington trusted Carron-made artillery beyond all others. And world-famous names like Henry Shrapnel and Alfred Nobel came to the area to develop munitions that would be produced by generations of local workers for peacetime as well as for the two world wars.

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May well be made by Carron but it's not a Carronade - completely wrong proportions. Carronades were used as boat guns in the early 1800s as they could fire an enormous blast of cannister. Carron made all sorts of cannon. I think that boat guns of the mid Victorian navy were designed to allow the tube to be lifted out and mounted on a small field carriage and used rather like a mountain gun.

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Lads, thanks.

I think that I can now identify the gun.

A Royal Navy account of the war on Lake Victoria mentions an old 9-pounder muzzle-loading weapon sent up from Mombasa in early September 1914 that was installed in the vessel Kavirondo.

It appears that the Kavirondo did fire the gun in anger when capturing and sinking enemy dhows and shelling Nansio rice factory on Ukerewe Island in late 1914. Kavirondo was accompanied by the vessel Winifred on these actions. Winifred was armed with an old French 2.5-pounder and a Maxim.

In February 1915 Kavirondo was re-armed with one 12-pounder 8-cwt and one 3-pounder, both sent up from Mombasa by HMS Goliath and Fox.

The 9-pounder was discarded and probably then used as a land defence weapon. Luckily it became a museum item after the war.

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Beaten to the punch again. I was going to say that the Gun was possibly part of Lugard's expedition which arrived in Uganda December 1890. But anyway the Kampala Museum is located on the site of Lugard's fort.

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The tug Kavirondo, launched in 1913

The Official History (which I should have checked first!) on page 24 states that the 9-pounder had originally been the armament of the William Mackinnon, a "Protectorate Armed Vessel" that was crated up in porter-loads to Lake Victoria, assembled on the lake shore and launched on 11 June 1900.

The gun, with no sights, was later positioned at Kisumu as a saluting piece.

In August 1914 the gun was placed back in William Mackinnon (the Goanese steward volunteering as gunner), but was then transferred to the tug Kavirondo with improvised sights fitted.

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