KINGSTON — For 60 years, Peter Williams woke up every morning and sat on his veranda to read his Bible, taking a familiar survey of his wide collection of antiques, including a cannon from World War I.
Early Friday morning, as he was about to perform his ritual on the veranda of his home in Riverside Heights, Gordon Town, St. Andrew, he realised something was wrong.
The cannon was gone. A cast iron cannon that took four men to lift, valued at approximately $1.5 million, that had been part of his life since 1953, was gone.
“I looked across and noticed my Spanish jar missing, and then I looked across and saw that the cannon was gone. And I said to myself, ‘Well, that seemed to be the end of the world’,” declared the 80-year-old retired Jamaica Defence Force sergeant.
He said after he overcame the shock, he made a report at the Gordon Town Police Station.
Williams said he acquired the cannon from the Clan Carthy family after they were tearing down their old home to begin constructing the Clan Carthy School.
“Shortly after I joined the army in 1952, I was stationed at Harman Barracks, known as Duppy Gate. I used to walk over to the house and sit and talk with the old couple. I saw the cannon and fell in love with it, and they said I could have it,” recalled Williams.
Pride of place
In 1978 when he bought the property in Riverside Heights, he constructed a special place for the historic cannon under a gazebo overlooking the river below, where it held pride of place in his scenic garden until it was stolen.
Williams and his cannon has been featured a number of times, including in part of the JDF’s Military Tattoo during Jamaica’s 50th Independence celebrations.
“I never dreamt that anyone would steal it. I thought they would admire it instead,” he shared.
Williams declared, “I have hopes to get back my cannon. But if I don’t get it back, I’m going to put a big cross right there.” (Gleaner)