‘The Big Gun’ gets new home after renovation work
The largest gun in Bermuda and a relic of British military might has found a new home after 11 years in museum storage.
A 9.2-inch Mk X breech-loading gun, aptly named “The Big Gun” by National Museum of Bermuda staff, was carefully restored, repainted and remounted at the Grundy Bastion in Dockyard.
The 37 foot cannon was moved using the largest crane on the island, which had been borrowed from Island Construction, and was placed on a concrete platform reinforced to the bastion to protect it from the weight of the gun.
Elena Strong, the executive director of the NMB, said: “We are delighted to see this gun find her final resting place at NMB.
“This project was no easy feat, requiring the generous sponsorship of the Ernest E. Stempel Foundation and the expertise of the team at Crisson Construction.
“Thank you to all involved. I also encourage everyone to visit the museum to see the impressive gun in person.”
The Big Gun was originally installed at Fort Victoria in St George’s during the 19th century to defend the East End and the Narrows Channel.
The cannon, which weighs more than 100 tonnes when combined with its shield and barrel, could fire a 380-pound shell more than 25 kilometres and required about 12 men to load, aim and fire the weapon.
It was built by the British Vickers Company and manned by British soldiers of the Royal Garrison Artillery before the Bermuda Militia Artillery took control of it by the end of the First World War.
The Big Gun and its two sister cannons, both of which were installed St David’s Battery, were decommissioned in the 1950s but left in their place after they were deemed too heavy to move.
The gun remained untouched until 2009 when the NMB moved it from Fort Victoria to Dockyard, where in was disassembled, cleaned and reinforced with a protective paint.
It was then kept in the museum’s large object storage, also in Dockyard.
The Big Gun has been seen as a relic of the final time the British Empire attempted to reinforce the coastal defences of its territories around the world.