Research guide B10: Naval gunnery: Sources of information at the National Maritime Museum

This guide lists some of the Museum's books, manuscripts and plans that will help you research naval gunnery.

Bibliography

  • Admiralty, Grand Fleet Gunnery and Torpedo Memoranda on Naval Actions, 1914–18 (1922) 940.459(42): 623.55
  • Admiralty, Gunnery Drillbooks for Her Majesty's Fleet 1893 (1899). 623.942.2
  • Admiralty, Handbook for Firecontrol Instruments (1914). 623.551 LTE
  • Binning, T, A Light to the Art of Gunnery (Page and Mount, 1741). 623.5:094
  • Caruana, A, The History of English Sea Ordnance 1523–1715 and 1715–1815 (J Boudriot, 1994) 623.42(42)
  • Douglas, H, A Treatise on Naval Gunnery (J Murray, various editions) 623.5
  • Garbett, H, Naval Gunnery: a Description and History of the Fighting Equipment of a Man-of-War (G Bell, 1897) 623.94
  • Hogg, I, Naval Gun (Batchelor, 1978) 623.417
  • Mountaine, W, The Practical Sea-Gunners' Campaign or an Introduction to the Art of Gunnery (Mount and Page, 1781) 656.61.052:094
  • Oliver, R D, HMS Excellent 1830–1939: a Short History of the Royal Naval Gunnery School at Whale Island (Portsmouth, 1930) 355.543.2(422.7)
  • Padfield, P, Aim Straight: a Biography of Sir Percy Scott, the Father of Modern Naval Gunnery (Hodder and Stoughton, 1966) 92Scott
  • Padfield, P, Guns at Sea (Evelyn, 1973) 623.94
  • Robertson, F L, The Evolution of Naval Armament (Constable, 1921) 623.94
  • Scott, M, Gunnery and Naval Architecture (Longmans, 1874) 623
  • Seller, J, The Sea-Gunner (J Boudriot, 1994) 623.5
  • Smith, T, The Art of Gunnery (London, 1600) 623.55:094
  • Smith, T, Certaine Additions to the Book of Gunnery with a Supply of Fire-Workes (London, 1643) 623.55:094

Manuscripts

Earliest is a small volume dating from around 1705, titled A proportion of gunns and gunners stores for a ship of each rate in her Majesty's naval royal. It tabulates the guns and gunners stores needed for 12 different sizes of ship.

Late-18th century volumes include: Artillery Memorandum Relative to the Royal Navy, by Captain Robert Lawson, 1782, covering various aspects of gunnery and experiments on naval ordnance; and Course of Artillery at the Royal Military Academy, 1791 by Edward Hope, with many large water-colour illustrations. Another illustrated volume is a Danish gunnery notebook, 1809–1811, kept by J F Lykke.

One volume contains copies of seven reports of the Committee on Gunnery set up by the Duke of Clarence (1765–1837), while Lord Admiral in 1828. It also contains an explanatory letter from Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy to John Wilson Croker (1780–1857).

Most 19th century volumes are gunnery notebooks kept in the gunnery ships Excellent and Cambridge by officers and ratings under instructions. There are 10 written between 1834 and 1866. All are illustrated and cover all aspects of naval gunnery.

Some manuscripts relating to gunnery are in the Royal United Service Institution records held at the Museum. They include: printed directions for arming launches and longboats, as recommended to private shipowners, 1798; Observations upon the Fitting of Guns On Board His Majesties Ships, 1814; two notebooks on naval gunnery, 1843 and 1859; and the Report of the Committee on the Working of Heavy Pivot Guns in Steam Vessels, 1847.

Ship plans

The Museum's ship plans collection includes plans of cannon, carronades and mortars:

  • 18 pdr trunnion carronade, slide mount, c.1800 - elevation plan
  • 18 pdr carronade, truck carriage, 1808 - plan and elevation
  • 32 pdr carronade, slide mount, sloop Helena, 1804 - elevation plan
  • 8in 65 cwt truck carriage gun, 1838 - plan and elevation
  • Dummy 68 pdr carronade for Victory, 1927 - general arrangement
  • Mortar and bed, c.1750 - general arrangement
  • 13 in Mortar and bed, 1825 - plan and elevation
  • 32 pdr carronade, slide mount, 1859 - plan and elevation
  • 24 pdr carronade, slide mount, 1838 - general arrangement
  • 32pdr 25 cwt, slide mount, 1841 B elevation
  • 32 pdr 42 cwt, truck carriage, 1834 - plan and elevation
  • 32 pdr, 56 cwt, truck carriage, design for bow mounting, c.1830 - plan and elevation
  • General Bentham's 32 pdr carronade, 1796 - elevation and plan
  • 8in 65 cwt, truck carriage, c.1840 - general arrangement
  • 32 pdr 45 cwt, on Ferguson's improved slide, c.1830 B elevation
  • 68 pdr 87 cwt, rear chock carriage, 1854 - elevation
  • 68pdr 10in, rear chock carriage, c.1850 B elevation
  • 32pdr deck gun, Royal George, 1743 - general arrangement
  • 9pdr carronade, truck carriage, 1826 - general arrangement
  • 18 pdr carronade, slide mount, c.1800 B elevation.

Next steps

For general research help see:

Although care has been taken in preparing the information contained in this document, anyone using it shall be deemed to indemnify the National Maritime Museum from any and all injury or damage arising from such use.