The gun was superseded in the anti-torpedo boat role on new capital ships from 1909 onwards by the far more powerful BL 4-inch Mk VII gun.
In World War I four guns were landed for service in the East Africa campaign, on 10 February 1916, and were used until September. They constituted the 9th Field Battery manned by Royal Marines. They were originally towed by oxen and later by Napier lorries.
Fourteen of these guns were mounted in coast defence batteries in the 'Middle Line' of the defences of the Firth of Forth when it was established in 1915 (the batteries on Inchcolm (8 guns), Inchmickery (4) and Cramond Island (2). During the general revision of the defences in 1916/17 two of the guns were removed to store, four moved to other batteries (Hound Point and Downing Point). The document setting out the armaments of the Forth differentiate clearly between the 12cwt and 18cwt types, both of which were in use in the fortress.
The gun fired the same 12.5 lb 3-inch (76 mm) shells as the other British "QF 12 pounder" guns, but used its own larger separate cartridge case to accommodate a larger quantity of cordite propellant.