Any surviving British railway guns?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by cdo_gunner, Sep 21, 2008.

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  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?
  2. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I was told about a siding between Lewes and Newhaven constructed for one in 1940! Didnt see it though!
  3. There was one at Larkhill this summer. Don't know if it is still there though.
  4. Some details here...

    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:
    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.
  5. Isn't this Woolwich one actually a gun proving carriage from a range, rather than an actual artillery piece?

    There is a complete railway gun in the memorial park in Moscow, plus an armoured train.
  6. 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!
  7. 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...
  8. 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!
  9. Right so the Woolwich gun is a lash-up purely for testing at Shoeburyness rather than a 'real' railwaygun?
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  10. 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.
  11. The Woolwich gun is now at Larkhill
  12. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    I don't believe that :wink:
  13. 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.