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Bronze Ottoman Cohorn Mortar

Bronze Ottoman Cohorn Mortar


This important bronze cohorn mortar, made in the Ottoman Empire, owned by Sir Cecil Burney, Bt., has a fascinating history as noted in the brass plate which reads 'Taken from the Citadel at Scutari by Naval Detachment of King Edward VII on the Occasion of the Occupation of Scutari by the Great Powers, 25th May, 1913'.

The mortar, in prime condition, weighs 184 lbs. The right trunnion is dated 1263 in Islamic script which is 1846 in the Gregorian calendar, and the chase carries the cypher of Sultan Abdul Mejid. The bore is 5.75in, the barrel is 16.75in long, the bed is 33in long, 16.5in wide and 9in high.

Sir Cecil Burney, Bt.

At the handover of Scutari to Albania the King Edward V11 was the flagship of Rear Admiral Sir Cecil Burney, Bt.

In 1913 when Montenegro seized control of Scutari during the closing stages of the First Balkan War, the London Conference decided that Scutari should be handed over to Albania. Burney was sent as temporary second-in-command of the Mediterranean Fleet, flying his flag in the cruiser HMS Dublin, to Antivari on the coast of Montenegro, to take command of the international naval force despatched to deal with this situation. For his successful handling of this he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and later Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG).

First World War

Burney returned to England and took command of the Second and Third Fleet, with his flag in the battleship HMS Queen in December 1913 and then in the battleship Lord Nelson in July 1914. At the outbreak of the First World War these fleets were combined into the Channel Fleet with Burney in command. He ensured safe passage of the British Expeditionary Force to France. He commanded the squadron at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916, where his flagship HMS Marlborough was the first ship to engage the Germans but was later torpedoed, so his flag was transferred to the battleship HMS Revenge. Promoted full admiral in June 1916 he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG) in September 1916.

Post-war career

Burney became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth in March 1919. He became a Deputy Lieutenant of Southampton in May 1920. He was promoted Admiral of the Fleet in November 1920, created a baronet in 1921 New Year Honours, and appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in the 1922 New Year Honours. He officially retired in November 1925, died at his home in Upham in Hampshire in June 1929 and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery.


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