This magnificent gun was captured by the British after the siege of Alexandria during the Napoleonic Wars, in 1801, and has been here since it was transported to Horse Guards Parade in 1802.
The barrel was made by Murad, the Chief Gunner’s son, in 1524.
The embossed details on the barrel itself are wonderful but those on the carriage are even better, although the carriage was made much later by none other than J&E Hall, of Dartford in Kent. I’d rather not have known that.
The inscription on the barrel reads:
The Solomon of the age the Great Sultan Commander of the dragon guns (to be made) When they breathe roaring like thunder. May the enemy’s forts be raised (sic) to the ground. Year of Hegira 931
Egypt was conquered by the Turks in 1517, and this gun certainly was used at the decisive Battle of Mohacs in Hungary, when a combined force of Hungarians and Serbians was wiped out and left the way open to Vienna, which was very nearly taken as well.
The big cork that was rammed into the gun’s mouth by the British is eloquently symbolic of the changeable fortunes of history. Shortly after Alexandria Britain began its inexorable rise to world domination and the Turkish Empire began its slow decline to sick man of Europe status until Ataturk eventually rode over the horizon and did some serious major surgery on what was left of it to create the Turkish Republic we know and love today.