Author Topic: Crete guns  (Read 114 times)

Offline Baconwallah

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Crete guns
« on: March 25, 2017, 10:19:59 AM »
There is an interesting new thread on the Royal Welch Forum - http://rwf-forum.co.uk/vBulletin/showthread.php?23612-Turkish-Cannons-Field-guns&p=89750#post89750

"Upon their return to Britain following their two periods in Crete in 1897 and 1898, 2/RWF apparently brought with them 2 Ottoman (Turkish) field guns."

These guns are now standing outside the Manchester Regt Museum. Why they ended up with the Manchesters is a mystery. Does anyone have any information on this?

John

Offline sphinx

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Re: Crete guns
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 10:58:10 AM »
The 2 cannon that proudly stand outside the Town Hall, Ashton under Lyne, are called ‘The Crete Guns’. They were taken by the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers on the Island of Crete (1897-98) and they were, for a long time, displayed in the Depot of the Fusiliers in Wrexham.

In 2003 they were transferred into the care of the Museum of the Manchester Regiment, housed in the town hall. The guns were restored by Mr Clive Williams, owner of Progressive Engineering, Audenshaw.

The cannons replaced 2 earlier cannon that were taken away during the Second World War (1939-45) for materials to help in the war effort. These themselves had been gifted to the town of Ashton-under-Lyne, in 1858, and were Russian guns captured during the Crimean War (1854-56).

Offline Baconwallah

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Re: Crete guns
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 12:13:01 PM »
Thank you for the info, Sphinx.

To the best of my knowledge the Crete guns were already in Ashton-under Lyne in 2003, before the transfer into the care of the Manchesters Museum. The question remains therefore, why (and when) were the guns transferred from the RWF Depot to Manchester?

John

Offline Baconwallah

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Re: Crete guns
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 12:48:03 PM »
Thanks to Maj Lake, RWF (Retd) we now have more information.

"My recollection as Regimental Secretary is that these Guns were originally on display outside HQ 3rd Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers at Hightown Barracks, Wrexham. A survey by an expert who had had been part of the Bells Gun restoration at the Regimental Museum was also asked to look at the various guns at Hightown Barracks. The report found the guns to be in a very poor condition with rotten woodwork and so much so that they were a danger to public safety. The Guns were not captured as an action of the Regiment but were better described as' booty' from a period of occupation. The guns were made up from items from different sources and periods, I seem to remember the the carriages were possibly Napoleonic. THe estimates for restoration were beyond the means of the Regiment, remembering at that time the significant sums spent on the Museum Restoration Project. The trustees decided that the guns were not of significant regimental interest as they were not from an action or 'entire' originals. It was therefore decided that they could be offered to other collections in a better position to manage them properly.

The Manchester Regiment took an interest in the guns and it was agreed that the would be transferred to their collection on the proviso that they were restored properly and displayed with a notice of their Royal Welch connection. I attended the opening ceremony at the council building in Ashton-under-Lyme and noticed that the Prince of Wales conducting the opening took interest in the beautifully restored and displayed guns and read the attribution notices, which was most pleasing as our conditions had been fulfilled. It should be remembered that the Regiment has fought alongside the Manchesters in both World Wars as part of the same Division they provided Machine Gun support to the Regiment. This I feel binds us to the Manchesters and we are honoured that they are proud to display artefacts that were originally in Royal Welch ownership."

Proboem solved.

John