Where to with the field gun?

2018-04-12 06:00
=>The Howitzer field gun at Cannon Hill in Uitenhage. These photos were taken by the late Cyril Carter.           Photos:courtesy eben beckley

=>The Howitzer field gun at Cannon Hill in Uitenhage. These photos were taken by the late Cyril Carter. Photos:courtesy eben beckley

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Uitenhage’s historical Howitzer field gun, has survived many “battles” without having to fire a single shot in anger. Its latest “battle” is the uncertainty as to where it should be moved, as the property it stood on has been sold.

It stood at the Moth Garden of Remembrance adjacent to the Moth Hall in Rich Street.

This property has been auctioned off by McLaggan’s last month and thus no longer belongs to the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (Moth).

Eben Beckley, a former Parks Manager at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, said it is time for the Howitzer to return to Cannon Hill where once it was one of five cannons on the hill.

“This Howitzer field gun was given to the Uitenhage Council after World War I and placed at Cannon Hill on the northern side of the monument,” said Beckley, whose late father-in-law, Cyril Carter, took pictures of the Howitzer at Cannon Hill.

According to The Lions souvenir book of Uitenhage, published by Lions Uitenhage (1973), the Howitzer was later moved to the Moth Garden of Remembrance.

This move was during 1954, according to the late historian and researcher Jean van Onselen in her book Cannon Hill Uitenhage, 1804.

Mike Soutter, the Provincial Adjutant of the Eastern Cape Provincial Dugout said, “at the moment we are not quite sure, but the Howitzer will be relocated to Moth property. Either to the Moth Memorial Centre which is a museum in Newton Park or to the Garden of Remembrance at the Moth Ex- servicemen’s Cottage Association in Walmer.

“If it goes back to Cannon Hill it will get vandalised and abused.

“Therefore it will more than likely go to the ex-servicemen’s cottages because there it will be a lot more in the open for people to see and it will also be safe.”

During 2013 scrap metal thieves struck at the Moth Hall and the Howitzer encountered another “battle” when it was pushed off its pedestal.

The thieves battled to move the approximately 6 tons of metal and at last abandoned their plan to have it traded as scrap metal.

  • Apart from the Howitzer, the Moth Garden of Remembrance is also the burial site of the first South African-born soldier to receive the Victoria Cross for bravery. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Crowe hailed from Uitenhage and joined the British army.

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