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Photo of boat gun

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This six-pounder Hotchkiss breech loading gun is said to have fired the first shot of World War I. It was part of the armament of HMS Gwendolen, the British patrol boat guarding imperial interests on Lake Malawi at the beginning of the 20th century. After hearing the declaration of war, about 13th August, 1914, the Gwendolen's captain, knowing the location of his German counterpart's vessel the Hermann von Wiesmann, sailed to his rival and promptly disabled and captured her. This may the shortest naval engagement of World War I as well as the first! From the inscription, we can infer that Gwendolen was decommissioned in 1940, at the onset of World War 2.

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