• This is a stand-to for an incoming competition, one of our most expensive yet.
    Later this week we're going to be offering the opportunity to Win £270 Rab Neutrino Pro military down jacket
    Visit the thread at that link above and Watch it to be notified as soon as the competition goes live

Any surviving British railway guns?

#1
Does anyone know if there are any surviving British railway guns in the country? I heard a rumour of an 18" gun originally from Shoeburyness that's still with us?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#2
I was told about a siding between Lewes and Newhaven constructed for one in 1940! Didnt see it though!
 
#3
#5
Some details here...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-Channel_guns_in_the_Second_World_War

There's not much to see now in Kent, what's left of the emplacements is rather overgrown and hard to detect.

You can find out a bit more at:

http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/l/lydden_spout_battery/index.shtml
http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/sites/h/hougham_battery_plotting_room/index.shtml
There were a few other batteries as well, some railway mounted.

I've no idea if any of the guns survive, but one of the German ones does, and it still point towards Kentistan. Big beggar I have to say.
 
#7
The ordnance at Woolwich is an 18" calibre naval gun, one of three built for HMS Furious, but unused as Furious became an aircraft Carrier in WWI. Two barrels were used in monitors (HMS Lord Clive & General Wolfe.) I believe that his was latterly used at Shoeburyness to proof 1000lb aircraft bombs, by fitting the inert filled bombs, which were approx 16" diameter, with sabots and then firing them at concrete targets to check they didn't shatter on impact. I'd like to have seen one of those firings!
 
#8
theres one off its bogie at hooton rail head (behind the cafe ) its a bit of a mess but all there i beleave.. it was a gate guard for an old factory that was there...
 
#9
Shoot_to_Kill said:
The ordnance at Woolwich is an 18" calibre naval gun, one of three built for HMS Furious, but unused as Furious became an aircraft Carrier in WWI. Two barrels were used in monitors (HMS Lord Clive & General Wolfe.) I believe that his was latterly used at Shoeburyness to proof 1000lb aircraft bombs, by fitting the inert filled bombs, which were approx 16" diameter, with sabots and then firing them at concrete targets to check they didn't shatter on impact. I'd like to have seen one of those firings!
Correctamundo in part. However the Gun was called Gun, Howitzer 18" Mk 1. It was used to fire the 1000lb bombs into the Butts at the bottom end of New Ranges. (J Butts?) These were constructed of 'kin thick concrete and belt armour from various battleships. Some of the armour was 18" thick and it was all pre-nuclear steel!

The excellent civil servants from the then DRA, being top notch businessmen, flogged it at standard scrap prices. along with loads of other Rolled Homogenous Armour lying around. Had Stalin still been around he would have viewed this as sabotage because he would have figured nobody could be that stupid :( Summary executions and the GULAG would have followed.

At the IWM at Uxbridge they have, in storage, a complete mock-up of the incremental charges for the Woolwich Gun.

As an aside the Guns at the main IWM also came from SHB.

Somewhere on a dusty shelf in a Bookshop is a defintive history of SHB written by a retired Major (Tony SNU ANK). It was written some 12 years ago and is a good read.

PS - Qinetiq are now ruining the place!
 
#12
cdo_gunner said:
Right so the Woolwich gun is a lash-up purely for testing at Shoeburyness rather than a 'real' railwaygun?
No not at all. I can't remember the history but it was a proper piece of artillery. IIRC it only started being used to fire bombs in the 1950's. Before that it was actually a crew served piece of kit - with 'kin big shells :twisted:

In fact special concrete emplacements were built at SHB to house the gun and protect it from incoming.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#14
rickshaw-major said:
cdo_gunner said:
Right so the Woolwich gun is a lash-up purely for testing at Shoeburyness rather than a 'real' railwaygun?
No not at all. I can't remember the history but it was a proper piece of artillery. IIRC it only started being used to fire bombs in the 1950's. Before that it was actually a crew served piece of kit - with 'kin big shells :twisted:

In fact special concrete emplacements were built at SHB to house the gun and protect it from incoming.
I don't believe that :wink:
 
#15
offhand said:
The Woolwich gun is now at Larkhill
So thats where its gone! Was in Woolwich last week and it had vanished!

Its mounted on a 95 ton proof sled. Its firing carriage was a 140 ton affair.

Five barrels were manufactured, one of which was deployed operationally in Kent in 1940, mounted on HMG Boche-Buster, which originally mounted a 14 inch barrel in WW1. The Woolwich gun, as stated above, was not used on Boche Buster but spent its whole life at Shoeburyness.

I recovered two 18 inch shells from Shoeburyness in 2000 and they are now on display at the Shorncliffe Troop of 621 Sqn, 11 EOD Regt RLC.
 
#16
#17
The only surviving British Railway Gun, Barrel No L1 is at the RSA at Larkhill. It has been there since 2008 and has been lovingly restored by serving and retired volunteers. It is due to be moved this Friday (March 22) to Holland to be the centrepiece of the Utrecht 300 celebrations at the Dutch Railway Museum. Ir returns at the end of September and it is hoped that it will gop on public display
 
#18
I understood that all of the mountings were cut up after the war.

the atatched link may be of inetrest. There was a plan to send railway guns to NW Europe in late 1944 to sort out the Channel Ports and Siegried Line, but it never happened. This is the planned establishment:-

NEARLY - World War 2 Talk
 
#19
the gun has been taken away,,and no one knows who took it,, struthhhh it must have made a row when burning it,, and not a person saw anything..( hooton ) on about the last post on here I put on.
 
#20
Don't know of any surviving British ones, but the two "Anzio Annies" that shelled the landings can be found one in Cap Griz Nez in France and teh other at Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum, Maryland, USA.

More here:

http://www.diggerhistory.info/pages-weapons/anzio_annie.htm
Be aware that the museum in Aberdeen Proving Grounds is now semi closed with only some outdoor exhibits still remaining. They are in the process of moving it all down to Fort Lee in Virginia, I believe. The thing is Obama has announced cuts in spending that are already noticeable with cubacks in military public events - so this move may see the collection fade away for a few years.

On a more positive note: the forum '28 Days Later' whose members go poking around forgotten and hidden places do have some interesting locations in the vein of gun emplacement and similar WW2 bunkers detailed on their site......I quite like the ones in the cliffs near dover.
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top