Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A Gift from the Crimea

In March 2003 Philip McGrath, the Curator of Artillery at the Royal Armouries, Fort Nelson, described the cannons belonging to Derry City Council as, " an exceptional collection of great historical importance deserving classification as internationally important."


The youngest of the guns is a 24 pounder Licorne. The length of this Russian gun is a shade over 8'10" and it has a calibre of 5.5in. It is mounted on what Philip McGrath referred to as a, "Venglov," fortress carriage and it is now located at Clooney Terrace next to All Saints Clooney Parish Church.

It came into the ownership of the City on 2nd January 1860. At noon on that day this trophy of the Crimean War was transported on a carriage from the Derry & Enniskillen Railway Station. The gun was drawn through the principal streets of the City preceded by the band of the Londonderry Regiment and was ultimately deposited at the head of Shipquay Street. A report of the occasion refers to the bells of St Columb's Cathedral being rung; the Irish Society's flag being displayed at the South-West Bastion and crimson banners floating from the Testimonial and over the chancel window of the Cathedral. The Corporation flag appeared over the east end of the Corporation Hall. The ships in the port were decked with bunting.

At one o'clock the members of the Corporation headed by the Mayor, (Bartholmew McCorkell), and Lieut.-Colonel Hobbs left the Council Chamber and proceeded to the head of Shipquay Street where they formed a circle around the cannon. It is stated that several thousand persons had assembled for the ceremony. Those ladies present occupied the space inside the railings of the Corporation Hall. A Royal Salute was fired from the City Walls and standing upon the gun carriage Colonel Hobbs in the name of Her Majesty Queen Victoria proceeded to present the cannon to the Mayor and the Corporation. He exhorted the citizenery to, "prize and treasure your trophy; remember that for every pound of metal in this cannon a stream of British blood has flown and when your children's children are pointed it out, it will encourage them to emulate the heroic deeds of their forefathers." The Town Clerk, James W Gregg Esq. read the reply of the Corporation in which it thanked the Colonel for, "this blood-bought trophy of ..undaunted valour."

Source: Sentinel 6th January 1860


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