- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- None noted
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Australia II
- June 1982 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Today there are a few reminders of this wartime project. The proof range holds some exhibits of shell and charges, and a more important item in one 8 inch barrel. That this barrel exists is pure luck. When the project came to a halt there was an 8 inch barrel that had been used to test ammunition left at the range. This gun had been originally installed as the left gun in B turret in HMS Devonshire in June 1928, but had been relined at Woolwich in 1941, and eventually found itself as the left gun in X turret in Australia. The gun, register number S105L, arrived at Port Wakefield in April 1944. After it was withdrawn from service it became redundant to station requirements and was buried at the range. Years later it was sold as scrap to a metal buyer. Here fate stepped in, as Captain Frank Adlam, MBE, arrived in time to stop the men from cutting up the gun, in fact the workman had the oxy cutter lit up and ready to start when Captain Adlam arrived on the scene. By some high pressure salesmanship, the worthy Captain persuaded the scrap dealer to refrain from cutting up the gun, and then talked him into presenting it back to the range. It still stands as a monument to the relining programme. Two other barrels existed at Bendigo, register numbers S55L and S61L, and one of these was recently moved to the gun collection at the Australian War Memorial at Canberra.
As for the German railway mounting that was used for test firings, as stated before it never was re-erected as one unit. In what can be classed as a classical miscarriage of justice, the mounting was cut up and sold as scrap metal at Port Wakefield, and the load sent off to Japan. Possibly some Australians are presently driving motor cars made from the old mounting.