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1916 Vickers 4 Inch Mk IV Restoration

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IMG_4584.jpgGot everything UHP water blasted as sand blasting would have destroyed the bronze , it takes off the paint but leaves the metal parts as is. expensive but worth it for this old girls 100th birthday. the original paint was brutally chipped off during WW2 (chisel damage all over gun) and it seems from then on regular paint jobs were given to the gun with anything that came out of a can and smelled like paint, it was very thick in some places but the rust was fizzing away underneath .

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IMG_4617.jpg The Gun belongs to the Talisman Sea Cadets in Nelson New Zealand , after much discussion about the paint job , the Cadets decided painting it as it came from the factory was going to hide all the bronze again , just painting the steel was not historically correct. no paint on anything would be how it was from the factory , just before the paint was applied.so it will be clear coated ? don't know if I would be brave enough to do that to my own gun but it certainly gets around the problem of being historically correct and the concept is growing on me...

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The big bit on its way to clear coat and baking for 2 days in the spray booth, I don't know how it will look when done but will find out on Monday morning when I go to collect it ?IMG_4733.jpg

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A real peice of craftman's work on the restoration, and a chance to finally see all the details of the gun.

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Looks a really nice job, with reference to the chipping of paint that was the only way matelots would know or be allowed to remove paint, still went on when I was at sea

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I value everybody's opinion on the coating and would be interested to hear more comments , but the decision was made by the Cadets ,if I had its original or even its WW2 paint intact I would have insisted it be kept and worked around it but what I had was rust eating away under a multitude of well meaning but poorly applied house paints. what I like about the clear coat option is the huge amount of hidden detail and the guns journey through history that would be lost with a coat of paint.

 

Many of the bolts are stamped VSM and dated , there is inspectors stamps , casting reference numbers , pin punch component alignment marks. just about every part is dated and has various codes that I still haven't found the meaning of. then there is the battle damage and their repairs , the effects of being left outside for many years between the wars , the evidence of a hasty refurbishment done during WW2 , hammer marks from the crew trying to un jam the stuck loading tray. all that gets lost with paint .

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These are things that restorers have the privilege to see during the rebuilds but the Joe public gets the green/grey paint , kind of like getting to look at the book cover but not able to read the pages underneath.

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I vote for the Cadets. It is a tribute to those who designed , built and manned the gun. I know 'The so much effort spent on death', etc etc, argument, but this is a masterpice of enginnering and craftsmanship.

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Do you know of any earlier history and use for this gun. I find no reference to it in the book " Great guns; The Artillery History of New Zealand"

Doug

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Do you know of any earlier history and use for this gun. I find no reference to it in the book " Great guns; The Artillery History of New Zealand"

Doug

 

I guess it is a naval gun, hence why it belongs to Sea Cadets. I think they were fitted to Destroyers.

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I think this the type of cartridge it would have used (sorry for the photo quality)?

 

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Its not in the Great Guns Book but it may be included in the next one he is doing now ? I sent him some photos before the rebuild started. The history on the gun is not very clear , all I know is that it came to Nelson in the 1960s and the rumor is that it was used for costal defense in Littleton during WW2 but that was just one guys opinion , earlier history gets complicated as its a mixture of 4 different guns made from 1913 to 1918 , I assume this was done during WW2 when someone panicked and obsolete guns were dragged into the workshop and the serviceable parts cobbled together. got it back from the paint shop this morning , the chemical cleaning with deoxidene had dulled the steel a bit but the bronze still looks pretty good.IMG_0824.JPG

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Looking at head stamps, 4 inch, obvious calibre. CF Cordite filled (Full Charge). As for the E,looks like a couple of letters mistruck or worn,. Could that be Elswick Ordnance Company?

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Looking at head stamps, 4 inch, obvious calibre. CF Cordite filled (Full Charge). As for the E,looks like a couple of letters mistruck or worn,. Could that be Elswick Ordnance Company?

 

Here are the other markings on the case. The monogram is COW for Coventry Ordnance Works, the others are probably inspector's markings.

 

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Hi,

 

I'd never heard of COW, and coming from near Coventry, I looked it up. Wikipedia has a nice entry:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Ordnance_Works

 

Including this picture, is this the same mounting?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Ordnance_Works#/media/File:Coventry_Ordnance_Works_gun_mountings_WWI_IWM_Q_30133.jpg

 

This 'pull through' is quite unusual too:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Ordnance_Works#/media/File:WomanCleaning15inchGunRiflingCOW.jpg

 

Best Regards,

 

Prof

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That makes sense. Late 1800' early 1900's Britian sold a lot of naval ships to other countries. Welcome in Sir, please flip through our Dreadnought catalouge, and for those oh so important accesories.... :-D

 

One of the guns on the Monitor M33, now at Portsmouth came from an Argentian vessel, built in Britiain , borrowed for WW1 then returned to Argintina, when broken up the gun was offered back for M33.

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Once completed where will it go to for display?

 

It will go in the Talisman Sea Cadets Building in Nelson NZ , I told the boss of the sea cadets I would happily do the restoration for free as long as it was never put outside. in fact I wanted to have a sign painted on it saying :Don't let the idiots from the City Council put this outside : but he said it may offend the Mayor who is a great supporter of the Sea cadets. I think it great to display things but if it was out side within days someone would help themselves to the bronze that could easily be un bolted. then there is the weather damage that quickly starts eating away at it.

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Barrel in today , the barrel is wrapped in cling film to stop flash rusting , it will be given a clear coat on Sunday. (was too big to drag into the painters spray booth)IMG_4763.jpg

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It will go in the Talisman Sea Cadets Building in Nelson NZ , I told the boss of the sea cadets I would happily do the restoration for free as long as it was never put outside. in fact I wanted to have a sign painted on it saying :Don't let the idiots from the City Council put this outside : but he said it may offend the Mayor who is a great supporter of the Sea cadets. I think it great to display things but if it was out side within days someone would help themselves to the bronze that could easily be un bolted. then there is the weather damage that quickly starts eating away at it.

 

On my list of places to visit when in Nelson next.

May I suggest writing to council ( I assume from your comments they are the building owners) outlining the conditions required for storage with protection from the elements and thieves.

Such a letter gives a paper record so in the future if any Council employee or manger does not like the gun to remove it breaks the agreement

 

Referring here from experience with a Council manger who now is in deep trouble for not reading previous correspondence.

Doug

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