Friday, 11 September 2015

WWI Naval Gun - Port Isaac, Cornwall

Last week Carolyn and I called into Port Isaac in Cornwall to wonder around the pretty little fishing harbour and take in the parts of the little village that feature in the popular British TV comedy "Doc Martin" which has just started a new series.

My eye was immediately drawn to the piece of vintage artillery set behind the Golden Lion Pub

It would appear that, from my digging around on the net, there is a story behind the provenance of this gun, which was a stern mounted weapon salvaged from the British collier "Milly" sunk of Tintagel Head by a German U boat in September 1918 on its voyage from France to South Wales. The ship sank in 46 metres of water and although a passing ship rescued the majority of the crew, two of them sadly died in the attack. I am not an expert but would think the gun is about four inch and would have certainly provided defence against a U boat on the surface.

The harbour of Port Isaac with the gun behind the pub, centre right mounted on the sea wall
I think the gun makes a fitting memorial to the men killed at sea in both world wars and would benefit from an appropriate plaque.


  1. Just visited Port Issac today and I too spotted the Naval Gun mounted behind the Golden Lion. Sadly no plaque or information whatsoever. Found your blog whilst looking for info. I immediately thought it was an 88mm but knew that it could not be. I then thought it might be a deck gun from a U Boat.
    Yes it is a fitting memorial but could do it with some sort of inscription. Not sure it qualifies as a war grave but maybe the Imperial War Museum could help. Also interested in the large Anchor on the quay. My father hauled up one a similar size, but older, whilst trawling off of Dorset.

  2. ://

    1. Hi thanks for your comment which has reminded me of our visit almost a year ago now.
      The 4 inch gun is an impressive piece or ordnance and I am pleased my post helped give a bit of background to it. I thought in the absence of a plaque then at least I could help raise the profile of its significance with this post.

      I met a former Merchant Navy chap a week ago who in conversation reminded me of the bravery of the men who faced the threat of U-boats and the amazing job they did in both World Wars.


  3. Almost definitely a Royal Navy BL 4 inch Mk IX gun dating from WW1 period and commonly used on WW2 Corvettes, Merchant Ships and coastal defence. Made by Vickers???