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Castle & Ramparts
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The Crimean Cannon has been located on the castle ramparts since its arrival in Berwick after the Crimean War. The remains of the medieval castle and fortifications surround the historic town. The castle was founded in the 12th century by the Scottish King David I. The following gives the background to the cannon based on a precis of editorial that appeared in the Newcastle Chronicle in 2017.
In 2017 it was announced that the town's captured piece of Russian firepower has returned to its ramparts location after restoration work. English Heritage's only Russian cannon, made in 1826, was gifted to Berwick in 1858 as a trophy of the Crimean War.
Made in Alexandrovski in Russia, the cannon bears the imperial arms of Russia, and has a shot weight of 18lbs, while the top of the barrel displays a Russian double-headed eagle. After being captured at Sebastopol in the Crimea 1856, the gun was set on a carriage specially constructed for it to a Russian pattern by the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. This was commissioned following talks between the military in Berwick and Secretary Major-General Peel of the War Office in 1858, on the occasion of the Government's proposal to no longer use the town as a military station. A War Office letter specified that the gun was to be treated with great care, saying the cannon is to be a "trophy of the late war".
The cannon survived the scrapping drive for metal in the Second World War when it was considered too important to be destroyed. But that fate befell all the other Berwick town walls guns, which were melted down to aid the war effort.
The Russian cannon was removed and transferred to a specialist workshop based in Wales. The harsh coastal environment in which the cannon is situated meant that the protective surface paint previously used on the gun had deteriorated significantly, resulting in metal corrosion on the gun and the carriage.
Russian cannon were at the centre of one of the most famous, or infamous, episodes in British military history 'the charge of the Light Brigade'. During the Crimean Battle of Balaclava, the Light Brigade was sent on a frontal assault against a Russian artillery battery, which was well-prepared with excellent fields of defensive fire. Of the brigade's 670 troopers, 118 were killed, 127 wounded, and about 60 taken prisoner. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, then Poet Laureate, in his poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' praised the bravery of the brigade while mourning the appalling futility of the charge.
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Crimean Cannon Location