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The Stokes 4" Howitzer

built by the Standard Motor Company

Phil Homer writes:

Thumbing loosely through the Archives, my attention was drawn to Standard’s Factory drawings dated from 1914.

Amongst them I found a complete set of drawings for this First World War “Howitzer.”

As the factory had drawn them, I can only assume that Standard must have produced them in support of the war effort.

What is a Howitzer?

It’s a larger version of what is termed a “Mortar”, which is a tube for launching self-propelled shells at the enemy. The drawings clearly identify this as a Trench Howitzer and not a Mortar however, though the majority of Howitzers I can find have a much larger calibre and are usually towed on a “Gun" carriage.

This Stokes version is mounted on an adjustable tripod and must have been developed from an earlier, very similar, 3” version. It splits so that 3 men can carry it.

The first drawing is of the complete assembly whilst the second drawing is of the stand-alone barrel. All the component drawings are present in the archive.

The range of the weapon was determined by the angle of the tripod and the amount of charge used, which allowed the shells to be delivered with some accuracy, and repeatability.

In his Book, “The Standard Motor Car” published in 1967, author John Davy mentions the manufacturer of “Stokes” weapons, though he describes them as Mortars. At the time, Standard took on their first women employees and engaged them in shell filling in 4 small workshops in Leamington Spa. To my mind, the shells seen in the photograph could well be the 4” variety.

Lady Employees of the Standard Motor Company engaged in shell filling in Leamington.

Those on the left are aware of the photographer’s presence, but a couple on the right didn’t get the memo.


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Phil Homer


Standard Motor Club



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