10-in gun at Stonecutters Island

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:39

Alan provides more information about this gun:

It is a fixed mounting by the look of it unlike the 6in disappearing guns at Lyemun although 10in disappearing did exist, this gun has trunions and a shield against shrapnel etc, interestingly it is a sleeved composite barrel, outer shrunk onto an inner thinner barrel for build up of strength.
Also see pics in
http://www.victorianforts.co.uk/art/disappearing.htm, which shows the mechanism taken from HK that was held at Woolwich museum of artillery, now known as the firepower museum.

Does anyone know which of the Stonecutters batteries this gun was installed at? Denis Rollo's 'The Guns & Gunners of Hong Kong' mentions two batteries with 10-inch guns at Stonecutters:

  • Central Battery: [...] Authority for the revision of the Battery to take 1 x 10 inch BL Mark I gun on a RCD carriage [...] In August 1907 1 x 10 inch BL Mark III was mounted on a carriage barbette Mark IV [...] By April 1913 only the 10 inch BL remained. This appears in the Armament Lists until 1919 as "Mounted in Reserve".
  • West Battery: [In 1894 there were the following gun groups: 1 x 6 inch, 2 x 10 inch, 1 x 6 pounder, 1 x 6 inch.] By December 1911 [...] the 2 x 10 inch BL were still there although due for removal. These seem to have gone by April 1912.

Also, was this gun damaged accidentally or on purpose?

Date picture taken


    Was this gun not the 9.2, which seemed to be the standard coastal defence and can still be found here and there. There's a very good example on Rottnest Island, off Perth in West Australia. My father, who was based on Stonecutters just after the war told me that the British had 'Spiked' all the guns on Stonecutters and probably the rest of the colony to prevent them falling into enemy hands when invasion was imminent.



You're right that there were several 9.2-in guns around Hong Kong, but as these photos and their captions came from someone serving with the artillery, I think they're accurate.

Many of the guns were spiked during the fighting in December 1941, but these photos were taken during the period 1935-7. It seems unlikely the British would have deliberately destroyed guns before then, so I wondered if there is any record of accidental damage to this gun.

Regards, David

Don't know if the story below is of the same gun featured.

Hong Kong Telegraph 14 Octpber 1927

"On the night of 27 September 1927, two Indian soldiers were killed and another seriously injured on Stonecutters Island during firing practice of a 6-inch Coast Defence gun.

Beyond offiically confirming the bare fact that the men were killed by 'blow back' during gun firing practice, the military authorities have refused to give further information."

Reviewed the photo caption of the damaged gun at Stonecutters. My photo caption reads 'Caused by a premature explosion in 1912'.  Confirmation required.

(2023 Update) - Recently seen on ebay a group of sailors sitting on the gun with a photo caption: "The Cause of 21 Men's Death". Comes from a photo album of a naval person who served on HMS Cumberland in 1933. The year of explosion is not given.