A FULL-SIZE First World War replica cannon blew bystanders away yesterday as it was towed across Swindon.

The replica of the eight-inch Howitzer, a mobile artillery gun used by Britain in the First World War, was driven across Swindon, and the magic roundabout, to commemorate the lives lost in the war.

Mike Pringle, director of the Richard Jefferies museum, appropriately dressed in a First World War uniform, told the Adver: “The reaction has been fantastic. Everyone has been grinning and honking their horns, we even had a few salutes.

The Howitzer toured round significant points in Swindon, including the site where the guns used to be made by GWR workers at the Weighbridge Brewhouse

There was also a serious message behind the use of the four-tonne cannon as a symbol for the war.

“I think we’re trying to remind people of the horrors of war, the leap in technology was part of the problem, it had a massively destructive effect,” added Mike.

Steam engineer Colin Hatch said: “Our timing has been brilliant. We planned it so we wouldn’t hit the rush hour traffic and it worked perfectly, the magic roundabout was a breeze.

“This is somewhere that has international fame, people know it all round the world, so it was nice to do something on it.”

The Howitzer will be stationed at Steam Museum for the next four days for passers-by to inspect it and donate to military families charity SSAFA.

There is also a fundraising page which can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/swindon-great-war