4.5 in QF Field Howitzer Mk I (The Lone Howitzer)

Catalogue number
  • ORD 106
Display status
IWM Duxford
Production date
  • whole: metal
Alternative names
  • full name: 4.5 in QF Field Howitzer Mk I (The Lone Howitzer)
  • simple name: gun, artillery : British
Weapons and ammunition

Physical description


History note

This pattern of Gun was introduced to replace the 5-inch Field Gun and was generally recognised as the best example of its class in use by any Power in 1914. This reputation was fully confirmed by the test of active service, and the Howitzer and carriage remained practically unchanged in design throughout the War of 1914-18. As in the case of all ordnance there was a demand for longer range, and patterns to satisfy this were considered, but nothing to supersede it had been produced by November, 1918. Though of purely British origin, the whole equipment shows the influence of the Continental Practice of its date. The original Expeditionary Force of 1914 had 108 of these Howitzers. In November, 1918, 1225 were in the possession of units in various theatres of the War. The expenditure of 4.5-inch Howitzer ammunition from 4th August, 1914, to llth November, 1918, amounted to an average of about 11 per minute. The barrel of the actual piece here shown has a remarkable history of just over three years' service in the field. Issued in 1911 it went to FRANCE with 30th Battery, R.F.A., on the 14th August, 1914, and was in action at the Battle of MONS and in the subsequent retreat. In September it took part in the Battles of the MARNE and the AISNE and in October-November in the 1914 Battle of YPRES. In December, it moved to positions before LA BASSEE, took part in the defence of GIVENCHY in January, 1915, and the Battle of FESTUBERT in May. June to April, 1916, it was in action from various emplacements about GORRE WOOD, CAMBRIN, MAZINGARBE, LONG TREE, HULLUCH, NORTH MAROC and the CHALK PIT, LOOS; On the 27th April, 1916, it was captured by the Germans, but was recaptured a few hours later and in December was sent to the base for repairs. Reissued in February, 1917, it again went into action at BRIELEN and ELVERDINGHE and in August at LANGEMARCK, where, on the 19th, it received a direct hit which destroyed the carriage. On the 17th August, 1918, the barrel was deposited in the Imperial War Museum and re-mounted on the carriage here shown. Owing to its isolated position at LOOS, this piece came to be known as "THE LONE HOWITZER." OFFICERS WHO SERVED WITH THE " LONE HOWITZER " Colonel W. C. HOWARD BELL, R.F.A. Major E. B, MACNAUGHTEN, R.F.A. Major A. W. WYNTER, R.F.A Major PONSONBY SHEPPARD, R.F.A. Major J. F. BLIGH, R.F.A. Captain R. LONGSTAFF, D.S.O., R.F.A. Captain E. P. H. JACKSON, R.F.A. Captain E. A. WOODS, R.F.A. Lieut.. J. T. PRICE, R.F.A, Lieut. W. McC, COWAN, R.F.A. Lieut. G. W, T. LINDSAY, H.F.A, Lieut. HUNT, R.F.A. Lieut. D. F. A1KENHEAD, R.F.A. Lieut. F. AITKEN, R.F.A. Lieut. S. V, STEWART, R.F.A. 2nd Lieut, J. G. SELBY, R.F.A,

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