Defiance Building

Polto

War Hero
As many of you old salts may know, Defiance Building (NO19) in Guzz was once the home of the SM fraternity when the old support ship was disposed of.
The building is still there of course but its history and purpose is gradually being eroded as time marches firmly on and organisations come & go. Housed within these crumbling walls today are various organisations, the SM part being only one of many.

Outside the building is a cannon. On the barrel is what might be the monogram of George 3rd. It's quite heavily coated in paint. His reign was 1760-1820. There was an HMS Defiance in 1783 third rate ship eventually used as a prison ship in 1813 (source wiki). This was the one that was at the Battle of Copenhagen and her bell is now inside the atrium of the building.

Does anyone here happen to know anything about this cannon/where it came from etc? We have already asked the heritage centre here and are awaiting a reply. The somewhat dangerous assumption is that the cannon is from the above mentioned ship, however is there a way to prove this?

Also, can anyone recall seeing colours/sunset carried out at the same location (outside Defiance building)?
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
Can't help with the cannon but remember colours being carried out from the flagpole outside the main entrance, I'd usually done a runner by the time sunset came around! :)
 

BillyNoMates

War Hero
Worked on the big grey thing that we called home for a bit, followed
by the ground floor of Defiance bldg before shifting to Submarine
Disposal Group then out of the Gate after time done. Came back
through the gate two months later.
Been here ever since.
Less than eighteen months to go!
Does anyone remember a rather large army tank turning up on the
back of a low loader? (outside Defiance bldg). It was (apparently) the
trophy for winning a football competition. SM2 won it - but they were
not made aware of the fact that it was actually a real decommissioned
tank....so it couldn't go in a display cabinet.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
I remember the tank, it was actually a turret off a WW2 Churchill tank. It was sat outside the fence on 9 wharf, just opposite the NAAFI complex. Do you remember Finulla, the cleaner in the canteen, or on the old Defiance (ex-Forth) with Cyclops and her (rather obese) daughter who flogged the oggies in the fwd dining hall?

Or if we're going nostalgic, Mary's canteen on smelly corner where you could get an oggie and a bottle of Blackthorn at 10 in the morning :)
 

dapperdunn

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Can't help with the cannon but remember colours being carried out from the flagpole outside the main entrance, I'd usually done a runner by the time sunset came around! :)
Yep, me too.
Defiance wasn't just for boats, small ships were run from there too.
I worked in both TVOs. Surface and submarine
 

Polto

War Hero
I remember going down a vessel in five basin where you could buy a pasty and a tin of pale ale. It was moored close to where the SRC now is.
 

Polto

War Hero
I suppose that is a possibility Soleil. This would potentially make the artefact more significant as it would refer to a Royal visit to the base and not just something to do with a particular ship.
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
I remember Colours/Sunset outside. But more importantly, the place across the road up the stairs for the stand-easy oggy to keep you going prior to lunch in Drake!
 

Polto

War Hero
I'm wondering whether the cannon is mentioned in any books. My first instinct was to look for something published between 1800 - 1920, but I noticed a much more modern book when I was perusing the British Library catalogue and was wondering whether it might be mentioned in this:

I've located this on Amazon and someone here will be purchasing it so that might shed some light, if it's in the book. Thank you S.
 

soleil

War Hero
Polto

What struck me, looking at the Bruce Hunt link, is that the association of the name "Defiance" with Devonport itself could be from a more recent period than that of the cannon you have mentioned. I am wondering, therefore, whether the idea that the cannon is linked to a ship called HMS Defiance might be a red herring. If it is showing the monogram of George III, this might mean that it is there is another explanation for its existence.

Has someone who has an expert knowledge of cannons had a look at it, someone from the NMRN, for instance? Someone who knows their stuff would almost certainly be able to look at the calibre, composition and design and date it pretty accurately, which might help you with working out how it came to be there and maybe even where it could have come from eg it may be a kind of cannon which would have existed on one type of ship and not another.

I've had a quick browse through the British Newspaper Archive, by the way, to see whether it is mentioned, but couldn't see anything with a quick look.

I'm wondering whether there might be something useful in the Pevsner for the area.

PS Are you sure when the bell you mentioned dates from?

PPS Can you post some photos pls?
 
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