Cannons
Three historic cannons in transit on their way from the US to Southend for a new exhibition.

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The cannons were once on HMS London which sank off Southend in the Thames Estuary during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667).

Originally used on Dutch warships before being placed on HMS London, the cannons are believed to have been involved in The Restoration, transporting the son of Charles II, the future King James II, from his exile in the Netherlands.

The three cannons were sold to a buyer in the US at an auction in 2010 having been found by a diver in around 2007.

Following a two-year investigation involving the Essex and Kent police, Historic England, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the diver was prosecuted for making a fraudulent claim of where he had found the cannons. He had insisted they had been found in international waters. However following the investigation it was proved they were from HMS London, which was at the bottom off the estuary just off Chatham in Kent.

They have now been repatriated to the UK by art-shippers Gander & White and will eventually go on display at the new museum planned for Southend called the Thames Estuary Experience.

Oliver Howell, UK managing director of Gander & White, said: “It was our privilege to handle the repatriation and delivery of these unique objects. They are items that tell a fascinating story.”