THE sound of Wirral's historic One O'Clock Gun was recreated for the first time in half a century during an emotional ceremony this afternoon. 

More than 100 people watched as a special field gun was fired near Woodside Ferry Village in an event marking 50 years to the day that the original One O'Clock Gun was last fired.

Wirral Globe:

The large field gun in haze of smoke after being set off this afternoon. Picture: Craig Manning

Used in the Crimea War, the orginal gun was triggered from what was then Bidston Observatory in 1867.

It continued to be used for decades until modern timekeeping equipment made it unnecessary and was last fired on July 18, 1969.

Among those attending today's 50th anniversary commemoration was Syvlia Asquith, 89, from Upton, a former scientific officer (pictured, below) who was in charge of the meteorological team at Bidston Observatory and was last person to fire the gun on July 18, 1969.

Wirral Globe:

Wirral Globe:

Sylvia (pictured with member of 103 Regiment Royal artillery) told the Globe: "It was nice to see so many people interested in the gun and remembering that people used to set their watches by it.

"It was a really good time piece when you heard the One O'Clock Gun.

"Now it is a happy memory.

"It would to be lovely to hear the gun go off again."

The cannon now stands on the quayside at Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, although its emplacement remains with a replica cannon.

Wirral Globe:

Members of 103 Regiment Royal Artillery stand by the field gun (picture: Craig Manning)

It follows a campaign by former seafarer Russ Mundy to see the cannon, which used to be fired daily to allow ships chronometers, people and businesses within the port to set their timepieces accurately, fired once again.

Mr Mundy, 74, a retired marine surveyor from Rock Ferry now living in Oxton, told the Globe: "We worked at the campaign for two years. It was a labour of love but, consequently it came to fruition, I'm pleased to say.

"I'm ex-merchant navy and ex-Royal Navy reserve and became a marine surveyor, Lloyds agent out of Liverpool so have always been involved with the sea.

"I'm so pleased to hear the One O'Clock Gun go off today and to have met Sylvia, who was last person to fire the gun in 1969; it really is the icing on the cake for me."

Wirral Globe:

Members of the public gather at Woodside Ferry Village to watch the commemorative firing

Reflecting on the gun's one-time influence on eveyday community life, Mr Mundy continued: "There are a lot of people who will remember this gun being fired every day.

"It played a significant part of people's day-to-day lives on both sides of the River.

"I felt that this tradition should be re-instated as there are many memories of hearing the sound of the One O'clock Gun being fired daily.

"During my school years, for example, the sound of the gun reverberated across the river from Morpeth Dock – we all knew we had to be back in school before the gun went off or we'd be in trouble."

Wirral Globe:

Members of 103 Regiment involved in today's 50th anniversary commemoration at Woodside.

Major John Young, of 103 Regiment Royal Artillery in Prescot, helped arrange the firing of the gun to mark the anniversary.

He told the Globe: "We were approached some time ago and asked if we could do something to commemorate the 50th point of 50th year.

"It's been quite emotional for some people and, certainly, for Sylvia, great to hear it again.

"The lads have done the Royal Regimental Artillery proud and it was quite a pleasure to fire the last round.

"It's good to commemorate and keep the army in the public eye, because we do a service."

Looking to the future, Major Young continued: "We could fire it annually, and I was speaking with Wirral Council about this a few weeks ago with the view to doing something, possibly to commemorate armed forces day once a year.

"We couldn't make a commitment to firing it daily, perhaps annually."