P R O F I L E
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The Russian Gun in an English local park was not an isolated memorial to the men who died fighting for their country in the Crimean War in the mid 19th century. There were a large number of similar cannon distributed throughout the British Isles and world wide. At Sebastopol a substantial ordnance depot was captured that held a large quantity of obsolete and damaged guns. These supplemented those actually captured in active service. The whole totalled some 4000 items of ordnance. Russian artillery fell into 4 general categories at the time, ship, fortress or garrison (krepostnaya), siege and field. The Sebastopol cannon were mainly siege guns.
After the fall of Sebastopol an inventory of the captured stores was made over 10 days in the latter part of September 1855. The extent of the spoil captured by the allies was almost incredible, notwithstanding all that the Russians had expended or destroyed. The cannon of various sizes numbered 3,839, 128 of which were of brass, the rest iron; a great number had been thrown into the harbour to avoid their being taken. Round shot, 407,314; shell, 101,755; canister cases, 24,080; gunpowder, 525,000 lb.; ball cartridges, 670,000 rounds; and other articles too numerous to mention. The spoil was divided between the allies according to value and manpower in the Crimea. The cannon however were divided equally between the French and the English. According to Sydney historians, Britain received 1165 guns however Dun Laoghaire historians give a figure of 964. At the time cannon were valued for distribution as follows: brass - eleven pence per pound and iron - halfpence per pound. Sources: The History of the War with Russia, (c.1856) Tyrell H. Vol. II, Chap. XIV. P.305; Pictorial History of the Crimea War (1856) G.D. p.492/3.
Above: The Fall of Sebastopol 9th September 1855. Result: A Decisive Allied Victory
Probably used as ships ballast for returning troop and supply ships, cannon were then donated to towns far and wide. This was intended as a public relations exercise demonstrating the success of the war against such stupendous odds. Many of the Russian guns were distributed to countries that had contributed to the war effort at the time. Twenty were sent to Canada and are to be found in major cities there. Others have gone to the furthermost reaches of the British Empire. The Cannon were actually of little value as ordnance because of the developments in rifled barrels and cylindrical loads. Many were melted down for further appropriate use such as the alleged minting of the Victoria Cross award. Actually Chinese guns were apparently used for this; a fact realized some time after the award was being bestowed. Many Crimean Cannon have survived the intervening years including the world wars and this database gives details of those that we have been able to trace.
Click the cannon right to discover where some of the cannon balls ended up.
By bringing together information about the provenance of this ordnance, it provides a far more comprehensive picture of the origins and outcome of this amazing scenario. In many instances historians have already done excellent work in researching their local cannon and we have used this information where it is available, giving credit where the source is known. Should any credits or reports have been inadvertently missed please let us know and we will add to the updated editions of this database.
Click left to discover the Florence Nightingale trail.
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IN THE BRITISH ISLES
The Crimean Cannon INDEX OF LOCATIONS. Click on the coloured cannon balls below for further details of a specific location.
# = original gun in situ, ~ = replacement in situ, $ = scrapped or lost.
Ashburton, Devon (not Crimean Cannon)
Berkswell Warwicks #
Carlow, Ireland #
Cobh Ireland #
Dun Laoghaire Ireland #
Ennis Ireland #
Flint Castle $
Great Yarmouth $$
Guernsey, St Peter Port ##
Leamington Spa $
Limerick Ireland ##
Longton Staffs ?
Naas, Curragh, Porthlaoise, Ireland #
Retford # and Beckingham ~
Salford, Manchester $$
South Shields ~~
Stoke on Trent ?
Tralee, Ireland ##
Waterford Ireland ##
Wootton Bassett $
Channel Islands, England - Central, England - Northern, England - Southern, Ireland, Scotland, Wales
THE FEATURES PRESENT
Crimean Cannon Location, past or present