Object Title

9 pr howitzer gun

9 pr howitzer gun

Date

1838

Object Number

XIX.247

Provenance

Transferred from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, 1968.

Physical Description

The surface is decorated in relief with bands of conventionalised foliage edging the rings which, with the exception of the vent astragal, are flat. On the first reinforce in relief are the arms, with crest, supporters and motto, of the East India Company. The second reinforce bears a cartouche engraved with a Persian verse inscription which reads: 'What a fine brass barrel with roaring muzzle. This muzzle is like that of a destructive lion. This splendid gift which Lord Auckland, Governor-in-Chief [Governor General], brought to Hindustan which at the behest of friendship he ordered as a present for Maharajah Ranjit Singh. To date this gun of majestic voice, men said [Show forth the day of victory]'. The letters making up the last phrase also form a chronogram giving the date of manufacture according to Christian religious [era] 183 [8]. The chase bears a representation of the Order of the Bright Star of the Punjab, a decoration instituted by Ranjit Singh towards the end of his reign. The decoration is shown attached to a ribbon, this being inscribed in Punjabi written in Persian script: 'Noble great King of Kings! Maharajah Ranjit Singh Bahadur. In the year 1895.' This date in the Vikram Samvat era is equivalent to A.D. 1838. The first reinforce ring is inscribed G.HUTCHINSON, 1838. COSSIPORE. The second reinforce ring bears the number 11 on either side of which is engraved, also in Persian script 'this piece of artillery was named Khorehnal' (devouring gun). There is a dispart patch at the muzzle and a block on the cascabel which is drilled for a central rear sight and stamped with the number 70. The weight 7-0-8 is stamped on the base ring

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 45 in (114.3 cm) Weight: 7 cwt 8 lb (359.2 kg)

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number 70

Calibre

4.2 in (10.7 cm)

Associations

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.164.

Thom Richardson, An introduction to Indian arms and armour, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2007: 26

Notes

This gun together with a similar one now in the Rotunda Museum, Woolwich, No.II. 202 named 'Ratan-al' (jewel gun), were cast at the East India Company's gunfoundry at Cossipore, on the banks of the Hooghly, near Calcutta, of which Lieut. Colonel Hutchinson was Superintendent and Director. For a description of the gun foundry at Cossipore see J.H.,Stocqueler, 'The Hand-book of India' visited Cossipore in 1843 and wrote 'This cannon foundry is, in every respect better contrived than that of Woolwich' (Young 'East India Company's Arsenals,' 144). The guns were cast as a present from the Governor General Lord Auckland (George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland, 1784-1849, Governor General 1835-41 to Ranjit Singh, ruler of the Punjab (d.1839). At the time the Government of the East India Company had embarked on a scheme to restore the dethroned ruler of Afghanistan, Shah Shuja, to the throne, and Ranjit Singh was a valuable ally in the operations which were contemplated. The guns, mounted on field carriages and accompanied by 200 rounds of shell, were presented to the Maharajah at a meeting between Ranjit and the Governor General at Ferozepore in November 1838. It is probable that the guns were later captured by British forces during the course of the Sikh War, 1845-9.