Campbeltown Courier

Rare Camp­bel­town gun to be un­veiled

Ar­ti­fact is one of only two, with other in Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum

- By MARK DAVEY ed­i­tor@camp­bel­town­courier.co.uk United Kingdom · Campbeltown · Milstead · Imperial War Museum

AS A NIP­PER go­ing to school, a Camp­bel­town man walked past a rust­ing ar­tillery gun lit­tle imag­in­ing that one day he would save it.

Years later, Wil­lie Mac­Don­ald, 72, be­came Camp­bel­town har­bour mas­ter and was in­stru­men­tal in en­sur­ing the First World War Ger­man trench mor­tar, known as a mi­nen­wer­fer, was saved from the scrap heap.

Mounted

Fol­low­ing restora­tion by a num­ber of Camp­bel­town busi­nesses the 17cm ar­tillery piece, which could launch a 50kg shell to de­stroy bunkers and barbed wire, has now been mounted on a plinth at the Her­itage Cen­tre and will be of­fi­cially un­veiled on Sun­day (May 1).

The gun’s ori­gin in the town dates from the end of the First World War and the tale of its jour­ney will be told at the cer­e­mony.

On Tues­day, Mr Mac­Don­ald spoke about first see­ing the gun.

He said: ‘The gun used to stand at the Ste­wart Road en­trance to the Old Gram­mar School.

‘I started there in 1956, aged 12, and I walked past it ev­ery day. It was a dark dirty colour.’

Mr Mac­Don­ald be­came har­bour mas­ter in 1990. His as­so­ci­a­tion with the gun was rekin­dled in 1992, by which time it was rusty and des­tined for the dump.

Mr Mac­Don­ald said: ‘On the quay, where the lifeboat build­ing now stands, there was a flag­pole and the gun was put on a cob­bled stand there. I painted it shiny black but peo­ple told me that was not the right colour.’

The gun was given to the Her­itage Cen­tre and lay on the grass out­side un­til a vis­i­tor asked about buy­ing it, spark­ing fur­ther re­search.

Stamped

Bobby Cairns shot blasted it en­abling the text and se­rial num­ber stamped on the breach to be read, and full de­tails of what was dis­cov­ered will be re­vealed on Sun­day.

David and Kenny McMil­lan of DM Fabri­ca­tions re­stored the gun and cre­ated a replica base to sup­port it in a re­al­is­tic fir­ing po­si­tion.

Fi­nally, it was re­painted in its orig­i­nal grey colour by Mal­colm McMil­lan of the Auto Body Cen­tre.

Kenny McMil­lan of DM Fabri­ca­tions said: ‘The gun is a mar­vel­lous piece of en­gi­neer­ing, and we were proud to be in­volved with the project.’

Alan Mil­stead, chair­per­son of the Her­itage Cen­tre, said: ‘It was only in the last few months that we dis­cov­ered its true iden­tity. The only other place to see one of these is in Bri­tain is the Im­pe­rial War Mu­seum.’

Sun­day’s un­veil­ing cer­e­mony be­gins at 2.15pm and the Her­itage Cen­tre’s sum­mer sea­son starts on Mon­day May 2.

It will be open Mon­day to Thurs­day from 10am-4pm ev­ery week.

 ??  ?? Wil­lie Mac­Don­ald is pleased to see the ar­tillery piece re­stored.
Wil­lie Mac­Don­ald is pleased to see the ar­tillery piece re­stored.

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