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Naval Gun "Joe Chamberlain"

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY – 10 DECEMBER

10 DECEMBER 1880, James Carson murdered by a gang on Parsons Lane.
10 DECEMBER 1899, 
British Artillery bombard Magersfontein Kop for nearly two hours.

DID YOU KNOW

On 9 December 1899 a few trial shells had been fired at the Magersfontein hills by the 4.7 naval gun from the ganger’s hut, two miles up the PT-Naval_Gun_Joe_Chamberlain-1899-2railway line from the Riet River bridge. But it was not till the following afternoon, Sunday 10 December, that the attack began in earnest. At 15h00 the Highland Brigade under General Andy Wauchope, to whom, as the freshest portion of his force, Lord Methuen had decided to entrust the night attack, moved up to the slight rise, afterwards known as Headquarter Hill, about four miles from the station. From there the Black Watch on the left and the cavalry on the right, the 9th Lancers in front, advanced in extended order along the whole eastern front from Magersfontein to the river as far as the first fold of ground without becoming seriously engaged, and fell back by order about 16h30 as the British guns opened fire. For the next hour and a half the whole of the artillery – the naval gun at 7000 yards on the left, the howitzers at 4000 yards west of Headquarter Hill, and the three field batteries drawn up in line on the right at 2700 yards – concentrated an intense fire on the slopes of Magersfontein Hill. The hail of shrapnel and the great volcano jets of red earth and ironstone boulders hurled fifty feet high by the bursting lyddite, seemed to convert the whole hillside into a perfect inferno of fire. Lord Methuen had no doubt but that he was inflicting heavy loss, and producing a profound demoralisation among the Boers which would materially help the night attack that was planned for later that night.

PT_Gun_Pit-1899Pictured is the British 4.7″ Naval gun “Joe Chamberlain” that fired at the Boers before, during and after the battle of Magersfontein. Also pictured in action during the battle and “at ease” in one of three gun pits used. This particular gun pit still exists.

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