Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

East Pier shipwreck and the Bleak House cannons


In 1980 after a similar bout of weather to what we are experiencing now a small wreck was discovered on the low water mark off the East Pier Ramgate.
The wreck was indentified as a small armed customs cutter engaged to combat smuggling. The overall dimension of the wreck was calculated at 45 foot length, 15 foot beam with a gross tonnage of 60 tons,The armanent was 6 cannons of which three were recovered. All three of the recovered cannons were 9 pounders, two were of the smaller carronade type cast by the Carron Iron Company at Stirling in Scotland. These shorter cannons were known as "the smasher" having twice the fire power over a short range than a long cannon. Being shorter and lighter the carronades could be mounted on skids and on the upper deck manouvered quickly. The large versions were used with great effect at the battle of Trafalgar by HMS Victory at short range smashing gun ports and raking of French ships.
This Carronade pictured was recovered from the customs cutter and stood on the terrace of Bleak house when the house was purchased by the new owners.
It has the crude inscription R.O.W which is receiver of wrecks, this suggests the cannons were pressed into Customs service and more than likely seized from a vessel engaged in smuggling activity .

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