MEDINA – Since 1935, a B.L. 60-Pounder British field gun has stood in State Street Park as the centerpiece of a World War I memorial.
Several years ago, it became evident the cannon was suffering from extreme rust and decay, and efforts began to raise money for its restoration.
The $40,000 necessary for the restoration was donated by local businessman George Bidleman.
Fourteen months ago, the cannon was shipped to Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration in Altoona, Pa., which restores and reproduces historic artillery pieces.
The field gun was completely stripped and disassembled, new parts were fabricated, old parts were repaired and the gun was reassembled and painted with historic accuracy, according to Chris Busch, president of Orleans Renaissance Group Inc., which donated money for the restored cannon’s new concrete pad, flagpoles, lighting and new granite slant for the original plaque.
The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun, known as a B.L. 60-Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Co., Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
There are few left in the world today, Busch said.
The gun weighs six tons, is a five-inch/127 mm caliber, 21 feet in length and six feet in width. It was originally issued to battery in France in April 1917, and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France in September 1918, after which it fired an additional 1,471 rounds.
The restored cannon is set to arrive back in the village on Wednesday morning. As it's hoisted onto its new display base, village representatives and local VFW and American Legion members plan to observe.
Formal rededication of the fully completed memorial will take place on Memorial Day.