I have in my collection this shell engraved with the words "Taken at Colenso Fired into Ladysmith Dec 1899". As far as I know the only guns taken at Colenso were Long's ten 15 pounders. My first question is is this a 15lb shell? Its length without fuse is 10". There are some markings on the base but very difficult to read, possibly P L and some other words which are illegible.
Were Long's guns used against Ladysmith? Darrell Hall's book "Halt! Action Front! includes this photo which he states has been captioned variously as captured at Colenso or Stormberg.
Is there any other corroborating evidence of Long's guns being used around Ladysmith? I would value your thoughts.
That certainly looks like a fired 15 pr shrapnel shell, minus the Mk IV fuse [which do turn up, if you wanted to complete it].
The length, though, should be about 9 ins, not 10 - can you measure again?
the markings on the base should read:
15 PR II for 15 pounder Mk II [in the South african War, not Mk VI as shown in the diagram]
FS for forged steel
RL for Royal Laboratories
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
Thank you Rob,
That is most helpful. I can use a scanner better than I can use a ruler it seems. It is indeed 9". Now I know what I am looking for I can also make out the lettering on the base which is all present and correct if a little indistinct.
I have a fuse of the correct type
Unfortunately the thread at the top of the shell has got distorted at the 10 o clock position and won't screw home. Probably not too surprising if it was indeed fired into Ladysmith.