Noonday Gun fails for first time in 200 years

By Dianne Hawker

For the first time in nearly 200 years, Cape Town's famous Noonday Gun failed to go off on Friday.

Disappointed Hout Bay resident Roy Graham who climbed Signal Hill with a group of friends to watch the gun being fired at midday, said they all stood behind the gun with their fingers in their ears.

"But all we heard was a click."

The back-up cannon also failed to go off.

Andrew Blake, spokesperson for the SA Navy which is responsible for firing the gun, said the gun failed to go off because of a "technical difficulty".

The Noonday Gun, fired every day except Sundays, was introduced to give ships in Table Bay an accurate time signal by which to set their clocks. The two guns in use are among the oldest in the world and were originally at the Castle in the city centre.

In 1902, the sound of the gun was deemed too loud and the cannons were moved to Lion Battery on Signal Hill, where they stand today.

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