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Posted on Dec 15, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Palmerston Forts – Part 4 – The Royal Armouries Museum

Armchair General

GUN FIRING DEMONSTRATIONS

And yet another treat for me. A gun display featuring weapons both ancient and modern. To start us off, a small British field gun is prepared for firing. Originally sold to Argentina, this particular weapon came "home" having been captured during the Falklands War in 1982. Further down the line, a vintage artillery piece of the type that might have been found aboard Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose is tended to by its crew. Readers interested in the Mary Rose herself may like to read my previous piece for ACG from the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

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Here’s something to write home about – these chaps are preparing to fire one of the very guns used in the Battle of Trafalgar. And at the end of the line, The Museum’s very own self-propelled 25-Pound gun is crewed and ready to fire. Of course, they have to wait for the older guns to load…and it was interesting to see that as the guns got older further up the line, they did indeed each take longer to load than their newer cousins as you would expect.

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Final checks are made, burning tapers or flintlocks are readied…

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And FIRE! Then a quick smile for the camera.

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With the guns cleared and the area safe to enter, the crowd were allowed to get up-close and personal to the guns themselves. This one was busy being filled with water from a hosepipe to cool it down and dampen any burning embers inside.

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Probably the best moment of my day was getting to touch this cannon use at Trafalgar. This is living history at its best…

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Some final views of the more modern of the guns here. I do so love those barrel shots…

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