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Russian Guns at Inverness Castle

Russian Guns at Inverness Castle

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LOCATION: Inverness
PERIOD: 1900s; 1910s; 1920s
OLD COUNTY/PARISH: INVERNESS:Inverness and Bona
CONTRIBUTOR: Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)
COLLECTION NAME: Joseph Cook
location map

These two Russian Guns on Castlehill, relics of the Crimean War, were presented to Inverness on 4th August 1857. The following extract is from the 'Inverness Advertiser' of that date.

'These interesting trophies of the late war were on Friday evening carried in triumph from the Thornbush Pier to the Castle Hill. The guns having been properly secured on vehicles handsomely given for the purpose by the Messrs Wordie, a great multitude set off from the Thornbush about half-past six o'clock with the trophies. They were accompanied by a quorum of the Town Council, and by the whole staff of the Inverness Militia, the band of which played a variety of spirit-stirring airs as they marched along. Arrived at the summit of the Castle Hill, the guns were dismounted, and, after some little trouble, placed on the carriages which had been prepared for them amidst the acclamations of an immense crowd of spectators. The guns are 45-pounders, weighing about 56 cwts. each. They are from Sebastopol, and seem to have seen hard service, both being partially damaged. On the occasion of their carriage to the hill, the Inverness Militia appeared for the first time in their new Highland garb, and, under the command of the gallant and soldier-like Captain Donaldson, they made an extremely creditable appearance.'

The guns were mounted on cast-iron carriages on 22 February 1861, with subscription money originated by the Provost. The carriages were cast at the Rose Street Foundry.

In 1941, they were sold to a scrap metal merchant from Elgin for the sum of £25 (about £1200 today (2013)). The following are extracts from Inverness-shire County Council Records:

Chairman's Committee of the Inverness County Council , 12 Dec 1939. (CI/3/1/60 p311)
" CASTLE GROUNDS - GUN; The Committee noted and approved the action taken to secure the position of a gun on the castle grounds, which, by reason of disrepair, had become a menace to the safety of people frequenting the grounds. Noted"

Chairman's Committee of the Inverness County Council , 15 Oct 1940. (CI/3/1/61 p177)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT CASTLE; With regard to the old guns in the castle Grounds the Clerk submitted a report on their history by Mr. Murdoch mackintosh, sheriff-clerk.
It was agreed to recommend that meantime no action be taken for their disposal as scrap but that the field gun captured at Loos by the 5th battalion Cameron Highlanders be transferred inside the building and the other German field piece meantime in the entrance hall to the Court-House transferred to the outside"

Chairman's Committee of the Inverness County Council , 4 March 1941. (CI/3/1/62 p400)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT THE CASTLE; Referring to the minute of 15 Oct 1940, submitted letter of 24 January by the Town Clerk enclosing copy of a letter from the Director of Scrap Supplies, Ministry of Supply, regarding the old guns at the Castle constituting a quantity of potential scrap iron and steel.

Submitted also letter of 15 Feb from the same Department addressed to the County Clerk in similar terms, to which a reply had been sent pointing out that the two old artillery guns are relics of the Crimea war. Submitted further letter of 25 Feb by the Ministry of Supply stating that they do not propose that these two guns should be requisitioned for the national effort meantime.

The Committee resolved to recommend that the guns at the castle be handed over to the Ministry of Supply with the exception of the following;-
a) Field gun captured by the 5th Battalion Q. O. Cameron Highlanders
b) Bronze field piece captured by the 7 Battn. Q. O. Cameron Highlanders

County Council of Inverness-shire, 6 March 1941 (CI/3/1/62 p443)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT THE CASTLE; That the guns at the castle be handed over to the Ministry of Supply with the exception of the following;-
a) Field gun captured by the 5th Battalion Q. O. Cameron Highlanders
b) Bronze field piece captured by the 7 Battn. Q. O. Cameron Highlanders

Finance Committee of Inverness County Council, 12 June 1941. (CI/3/1/63 p32)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT THE CASTLE; Reference Chairman's Minutes 4 match (p.400) authorising disposal of guns at the Castle, reported that the three guns in question had been sold to Messrs. Williamson & Co., Elgin, for the sum of £25. Approved."

Chairman's Committee of the Inverness County Council , 6 October 1941. (CI/3/1/63 p152)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT THE CASTLE; Reference Minute of 12 June, reported that by an unfortunate error the 7th Battalion gun belonging to the Cameron Highlanders had been taken away by the scrap metal merchants instead of the gun captured by the 1st battalion and that the mistake had been discovered too late to be rectified. Reported also that expression of regret had been sent by Locheil and the County Clerk to Col. Norman MacLeod, through whose good offices the gun had been placed in the custody of the County Council and that he had now suggested that the price received for the gun should be paid over to the Comforts Fund for the Camerons. The Committee unanimously agreed to recommend that the sum referred to should be credited to the Comforts Fund and with regard to the two guns now remaining that they should be placed in the entrance to the County Buildings."

Inverness County Council, 16 October 1941. (CI/3/1/63 p195)
"SCRAP - OLD GUNS AT THE CASTLE; That the sum received for the 7th Battalion gun, disposed of in error, be credited to the Cameron Comforts Fund and that the two guns now remaining be placed in the entrance to the County Buildings."




IDENTIFIER: GB1796_1999_116_366

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Find out more about the photograph collector - Joseph Cook



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