Gun which fired the first shot at sea in WW1 is installed for new £4.5m remembrance gallery

First naval gun to fire in WW1 from HMS Lance arriving for new HMS exhibition

 

The gun which fired the first shot of the war at sea in WW1 was craned into place as part of the new £4.5m HMS – Hear My Story exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The ‘4 inch’ gun from the destroyer HMS Lance will be at the entrance to the new exhibition which is due to open in spring 2014 as part of the national centenary commemorations for WW1.

This semi-automatic quick firing naval gun - which weighs 3.6 tonnes, measures 5 metres and could fire over 5 miles - has been loaned by the Imperial War Museum to be a key object in the HMS exhibition.

Matthew Sheldon, Project Director of HMS – Hear My Story said, “ This gun will be the first thing our visitors see as they enter our new ‘HMS’ exhibition and is a powerful way to start telling the story of the last 100 years of the Royal Navy’.

When the War started at 2300hrs on 4 August 1914, HMS Lance and her sister ship Landrail were tasked with performing a ‘sweep’ of the North Sea. The next day, 5 August 1914, the two destroyers encountered the German minelayer Konigin Louise as she was setting mines off the Dutch coast. Lance fired a shell from her 4 inch gun, eventually sinking her, and making the Konigin Louise the first naval casualty of the War.

The new exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, HMS – Hear My Story will give voice to the stories of the men, women and ships which have made the Navy’s history over the last 100 years and impacted on all our lives.  HMS will bring visitors closer than ever before to the real Royal Navy as their heritage is brought together for the first time for this major exhibition.  Through cutting edge interpretation, visitors can see and hear the stories of the Navy in war and in peace.  The new galleries will also have a meeting space where veterans can meet the public to share their stories of living and fighting at sea.

HMS – Hear My Story will open in the Spring of 2014. The project to build the Babcock Galleries, house the HMS exhibition and a new temporary exhibition will cost £4.5m of which £1.4m is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy situated in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard remains open to visitors during the refurbishment works.  For more information about the HMS project contact 02392 727595 or email community@nmrn.org.uk

 

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