The Mysterious Disappearance of Ballyclare's German Artillery Guns

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Mysterious Disappearance of Ballyclare's German Artillery Guns

At the end of the Great War, King George V sent two German artillery guns to Ballyclare in recognition of the many men from the town and district who gave their lives for their country during the conflict. 

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The guns were said to have been captured at the Battle of Messines in June 1917, during which the men of Ballyclare mainly in C Company of the 12th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles were to storm and take the fortress village of Messines in half a day's fighting. This was the first time that the two Irish divisions had fought together. The guns were to sit at the top of the town square, the smaller of the two was a field cannon and the larger, as seen in the movie War Horse, was a 21cm Howitzer.

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The guns sat in the square until around October or November 1940 when they were removed to be melted down and used in the war effort. Research however now suggests the guns were never destroyed. In fact, the smaller gun is reputedly on display in Bovington Tank Museum in England and the big gun is in Enniskillen Castle.

The guns were said to have being sold to a local man who took them to his family home in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh.

 


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