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The Queens Regulations and the Admiralty Instructions - 1861


CHAPTER XLVIII.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR GUNNERS.

1.

The Gunner, having received the necessary directions from the Captain as to the time when the Ship will be ready to take in her guns, is to place himself in personal communication with the Military Storekeeper on that subject. He is to attend to receive them on board, and to see that every gun is properly fitted, and put into its proper carriage, and placed in its proper port.

2.

When Sights are supplied unfixed, he is to be very exact in fixing them according to instructions which he will receive by attending at the gun-wharf.

The Sights, when fixed, are to be as little shifted as possible, and when covers are supplied, they are to be kept on, except when the sights are in use.

He is to take great care that no pressure or violence is applied to the sights, which might displace them or alter their direction.

He is to keep the preserving screws in the screw-holes of all guns prepared for sights, when the sights are not fitted to them; but should no preserving screws be supplied, he is, when it may be absolutely necessary to remove the sights for any time, to fill the screw-holes with tallow.

3.

He is to superintend the man who may be placed under his orders in fitting the breechings and tackles, that they may be ready for the guns when they are received on board.

4.

He is to examine very carefully into the state of the magazine, that he may be certain of its being properly fitted and perfectly dry before the powder is received on board; but if he should find in it any appearance of dampness, he is to report it immediately to the Captain, that it may be properly dried; this may be ascertained by placing in the magazine, a piece of sponge which has been dipped in a solution of salt and water, and afterwards dried; should it become heavier the magazine is damp.

5.

Preparatory to receiving powder or live shells, he is, under the directions of the commanding Officer, to see that all the fires and lights on board, except the light in the light-room, be extinguished. He is himself to attend to the stowing of the powder and shells, and as soon as the whole of the powder is stowed in the magazine, and the mouths of the cases are secured, he is to see it cleanly swept before he leaves it, that all the men are out of it, and that the lights are extinguished in the light-room; he is himself to lock the doors of the magazine, the handing rooms, and light rooms, before returning the keys to the Captain, or to such other Officer as the Captain shall appoint to take charge of them.

6.

On receiving ammunition on board, the utmost care must be taken of the metal-lined barrels, cases, &c., in which it is packed. These should be brought under the ports abreast of the hatchway nearest to the magazine which is to receive them. Either dry swabs, mats, or cushions made of bread-bags stuffed with oakum, should be prepared, and the packages landed thereon, thus preventing their being injured, which happens when they are lowered heavily on the bare decks; and hides should be placed over the hatchway-combings, and any other part where the barrels or cases are passed over iron.

The packages are to be carefully removed to the magazine, and never tumbled or rolled along the decks, but carried by hand.

7.

As far as practicable, the powder in Dell's cases should be invariably stowed in the manner pointed out in the Instructions relative to stowing magazines, which will be found in the Naval Gunnery book; the cases should be marked with a number for the fore magazine, and a letter for the after magazine, corresponding with the figures and letters of the different sections of the magazines, beginning with the first number and first letter on the port-side. When the sections are athwart-ship, the marking to be from forward aft.

8.

The boxes lined with tinned copper, supplied for the package of percussion tubes for great guns, are to be deposited in lockers fixed against the after bulkhead of the Gunner's hanging store-room in line-of-battle Ships and Frigates; and in smaller vessels, without hanging store-rooms, they are to be placed in lockers against the after bulkhead of the Gunner's store-room. The boxes are not on any account whatever to be placed in the magazines, and the keys of them, as well as of the lockers, are to be returned with the keys of the magazines.

9.

He is never to go into the magazine without being ordered to go there. He is never to allow the doors of the magazines to be opened but by himself and his most trustworthy Mate. He is to be very careful in observing that the men who go into the Magazine have not about them anything which can strike fire, and he must take care that no person enters the magazine without wearing the leathern slippers supplied by the War Department. He is to train the persons appointed to attend in the light-rooms in the right management of the lamps, so that inconvenience may not be felt from an accumulation of smoke.

10.

He is never to keep any quantity of Powder in any other part of the ship than the magazine, except that which the Captain shall himself order to be kept on deck in boxes properly secured and placed under the charge of a sentry; and when he delivers cartridges from the magazine, he is to be very particular in observing that they are in cases properly shut.

11.

For securing, stowing, and working the ammunition in the magazines, the following observations, as well as those contained in the "Instructions for the exercise and service of Great Guns," are to be carefully attended to:-

All the cases or barrels, being lined with metal, and their apertures being luted, are completely air and water tight.

No filling of cartridges is required while in action, a sufficiency of all descriptions, for distant, full, and reduced charges, being packed in the cases or barrels, from whence the whole quantity, if required, can be readily taken out, without unheading a single case or barrel, or moving it from its place in the magazine; neither is there any loose powder on board the ship, that which is reserved for any occasional purposes, such as saluting, exercising, or sending on shore, or replacing any particular nature of cartridge that may be expended, being contained in flannel bags within the barrels or cases, for the greater facility and security in dividing it into smaller parcels, when appropriated to any particular service not provided for by the general arrangement of cartridges in the first instance.

On going into action, the Gunner is to see the leaden flooring of the handing rooms covered with water, the aprons and pockets let down, and the tops of the powder cases loosened.

12.

When the magazine is ordered to be secured, the Gunner will proceed to examine and arrange the cases or barrels of cartridges which have been opened, and lute up and secure all that contain ammunition, as before.

For luting the cases or barrels the Gunner will have a proportion of luting, which, when required he will cause to be first softened in the hand; this luting he will rub all round the rebate at the mouth of the case or barrel, taking care that there is a sufficiency to form a complete bed of luting for the bung, which is then to be put in, and the edge pressed down into the rebate upon the luting, by running the thumb all round; an exterior coat of luting round the aperture is then to be put on, and the whole secured as when the cases or barrels were first put on board. The luting of the cases or barrels is to be examined every four months; should it be found hard and cracked they are to be reluted, but the bungs are not to be started. As all the cases and barrels have marked, upon their heads, the nature of the ammunition contained in them, the Gunner and his crew should make themselves perfectly familiar with the different sorts of cartridges in the several racks, by which means they will be enabled to find the descriptions required, even in the dark.

13.

Care is to be taken when cartridges are repacked in their cases, not to put them out of their proper shape, and to re-hoop them if necessary.

14.

Wet or damp cartridges are never to be returned to the same packages from whence they were taken, nor are they to be repacked with dry cartridges, but they are to be stowed by themselves.

At the termination of every exercise, the shot of any loaded guns are to be drawn, and the powder fired, - or, should there be no opportunity of firing it, the powder is to be started overboard; - and on no account are any cartridges that have been in the guns to be returned to the magazine, instances having occurred in which such cartridges have been found to contain detonating powder from broken tubes left in the guns even at previous exercises.

15.

He is to have a sufficient number of keys for metal-lined cases at hand in the magazine, not less than two for each rack.

16.

He is not to stow anything in the light rooms or handing rooms of the magazines or shell rooms, except the oil cans and the other articles pertaining to the lamps and candles. The lamps are always to be kept trimmed.

17.

He is to examine frequently the magazine doors, to ascertain if the working of the ship causes them to jam on their hinges; if so he is immediately to report it to the Captain, that measures may be taken for remedying the evil.

18.

He is to consider that the orders given for the regulation and good order of the magazines and their light rooms, apply equally to the shell rooms and their light rooms.

19.

He is, when small arm or boat ammunition has been sent out of the magazine, for exercise or other purposes, to be careful in examining the cartouch boxes, when returned, so that no flints, percussion caps, or other things that might cause explosion, be returned with them.

20.

He is to ascertain as soon as possible after the commissioning of any Ship he may be appointed to, whether the largest leather cases he may be supplied with can be passed freely through the openings in the magazine and handing room doors, and those in the gratings through which the powder is delivered to the different decks; and he is to hold the leather cartridge cases at all times in readiness for handing-out of the magazine in good working order.

21.

He is to keep the guns as dry as possible, and perfectly free from rust; and he is to be very careful that the vents of the guns are always clear. All guns are to be scaled prior to the first occasion of their being loaded for service after being received on board. After firing with shot, or saluting, or scaling, the guns are always to be well sponged out and cleaned.

22.

He is frequently to examine the state of the guns, their locks, sights, and carriages, that any defective ones may be immediately repaired or exchanged; and he is frequently to examine the musketry, and all the other small arms, to see that they are kept clean and in every respect perfectly fit for service. When it may be necessary to mark muskets, the same is to be done on the side or back of the stock, in a small oval patch of black paint, with the number in white, but they are on no account to be engraved. Leather articles issued in a brown condition, such as cartouch boxes, belts, magazines for cartridges, &c., are not to be blacked.

Consecutive numbers, from one upwards, will be engraved on the heel plate of the rifles, previous to issue by the Military Storekeper at the port of fitting out. Should any arms be required to replace a portion of those first issued, a statement of the deficient numbers is to be sent to the Military Storekeeper at the port where the Ship may be, and those numbers will then be engraved on the arms to be issued. The same rule is to be observed in the case of cutlasses and bayonets, the latter of which will bear the number of the rifles to which they belong.

23.

When any extra quantity of stores or ammunition shall be supplied for foreign service, he is to bs careful to use those first which may have been the longest time on board, unless he shall receive particular directions to the contrary.

24.

When he receives shot, he is to see that they are of the proper gauge; and he is to take care to keep the different sorts separate.

High shot gauges will be issued to every ship for each calibre of ordnance on board, and he is carefully to examine from time to time that the shot will pass through these gauges, and any formation of rust that may impede their passing is to be removed by rubbing the shot; and as there is so little windage with guns of the present construction, he is to be very particular in keeping their shot free from rust, by stowing them in dry places, and examining them every three or four months.

25.

In filling cartridges, he is to keep up, as far as possible, the number and description of cartridges that were at first supplied from the magazine, according to the Ship's establishment, using the spare or loose powder for that purpose, unless he should receive contrary directions from his Captain.

26.

He is (when the filling-machine is in use) to be careful in examining the metal plate which covers the measures, to see that there is no friction during the time of working, and that no grains of powder are lodged on the lower plate; and he is to attend to the instructions issued with the machine in reference to it.

27.

Shells having the same length of fuze should be stowed together, and labels indicating their lengths should be painted on the battens which secure them in their places. The empty boxes are at all times to be kept in good order to receive shells, and they are to be stowed underneath the full ones, so that a ready supply of shells might be given on any sudden emergency. He is always to hold four shell-whips ready for service.

28.

When the Ship is preparing for battle, he is to be particularly attentive to see that all the quarters are supplied with everything necessary for the service of the guns, the boarders, firemen, &c.

29.

After an engagement he is to apply to the Captain for a survey on the powder, shot, and other stores remaining under his charge, that the quantity expended in the engagement may be ascertained.

30.

He is to be careful in keeping the boxes of hand-grenades and grape-shot in dry places, and in exposing frequently the grape-shot to the sun and wind, to prevent the bags from being mildewed. He is never to start the hand grenades, but is to return those which are not used in the boxes in which he received them.

31.

He is never to allow any match to be burnt in the day, nor more than two lengths at the same time in the night, without being ordered to do so by the Captain. When match is burning, it is always to hang over water in tubs, and the Gunner's Mate of the watch is to attend to it.

32.

If a detachment of Seamen or Marines shall at any time be sent from the Ship the Gunner is to make out an inventory of the arms, ammunition, and stores belonging to his department sent with it, which is to be signed by the Oflicer appointed to command the detachment; and on the return of the detachment the Gunner is, in the presence of the Officcr who commanded it, to examine the arms, &c., brought back, and is to report any deficiencies to the Captain, who will determine, from the manner in which the Officer may account for the same whether the articles shall be expended by the Gunner in his accounts, or be charged against the pay of the Officer, or any person under him, by whose carelessness or misconduct the whole or any part of them may have been lost or destroyed.

33.

Whenever he shall be directed to strike any guns into the hold, he is to pay them all over with a thick coat of hot tar and tallow mixed together: and after having washed the bore of the gun with fresh water, and very carefully sponged and dried the inside, he is to put a good full wad, dipped in the same mixture, about a foot within the muzzle, and is to see that the tampion is well driven in and surrounded with putty; and he is to drive a cork tight into the touch-hole and to secure it there. The bores of all cast-iron guns must be lacquered, once at least in every year, but not to an extent that may interfere with the windage.

34.

He is to be extremely attentive in examining all the guns, and in seeing them carefully drawn and thoroughly sponged, before they are returned into store. He is also to examine the Magazine very carefully, to see that no loose powder remains in any part of it after the powder has been returned into store, landed or transhipped; and he is to satisfy himself that there are no cartridges left in the cartouch-boxes when they are sent on shore. He is directed not, on any account, to repair with iron or copper nails such powder cases or barrels as may have been damaged.

35.

He is to be very careful of the tools he receives from the Military Storekeeper for the use of the Armourer, whom he is to furnish with such only as he may want for immediate use; and he is to require him to account particularly for all those delivered to him.

36.

He is to be very attentive to the conduct of the Armourer and his Mates; to see that they discharge their duty properly; that they keep the muskets and other small arms clean and in good order, always repairing them when they are defective.

37.

The rifles for the boats' crews are to be placed in chests, one of which will be supplied for each Launch, Barge, Pinnace, and Cutter. Small vessels, not supplied with any of the above-mentioned boats, will be furnished with one chest, if demanded.

Each chest is to contain six rifles, and should he kept in the storeroom, or other convenient place, ready for handing up. The revolver pistols for the boats whilst on service may also be kept in these chests, between the rifles.

All the other rifles are to be kept in racks in the store-room or cockpits, but none are to be kept near the engine-room or stoke-hole hatchways.

Covers, of old canvas, for the protection of the rifles of boats' crews, can be made on board; and old canvas may be drawn for that purpose if required.

38.

If from any extraordinary circumstances, when a Ship is on a Foreign Station, the small arms should be so damaged that they cannot be repaired by the Armourer, the Gunner is to represent their condition to the Captain, who will cause them to be surveyed in the usual manner and if the report should confirm the representation of the Gunner, the Commander-in-chief, or senior Officer present, will give orders for their being repaired; but if the Ship should be alone, or there should be no senior Officer present, the Captain will himself get them repaired by workmen on shore, being very careful not to pay more for their repairs than the usual price of the country. The Gunner is to attend frequently, and the Armourer constantly, to see that the work is properly done; but if there should be an Officer of the War Department at the place, application will be made to him to get them repaired.

39.

He is to be very careful not to suffer the bare gun-metal adzes, which are supplied for the use of the magazine, to be struck against the copper hoops of the powder-barrels, but he is always to have the wooden setters applied to them to convey the stroke from the adze, there being several instances of strong sparks of fire having been produced from the stroke of a metal adze against a metal setter or a copper hoop.

40.

When he has received all the guns, stores, and ammunition, he is (if required) to give a certificate to the Military Storekeeper, that everything has been delivered to him complete and in good order, according to the establishment.

41.

He is to take care that the stores are carefully returned - packed as they were received - in their several cases or barrels, and that none of the articles are incautiously mingled together, - several instances having occured of stores being returned in a most incautious and dangerous manner, a variety of articles having been found in the same case or barrel, such as broken cartridges with loose powder, filled flannel cartridges, pieces of port-fire, detonating and quill tubes, and even iron nails, flints, and detonating caps, - and an instance having occurred of signal rockets, blue lights, and loose powder having been mingled in the same barrel, with the other articles before enumerated; particular attention is therefore to be paid to this subject, in order that so very dangerous a practice, arising from culpable negligence, may not be repeated.

42.

Being supplied with proper material for the purpose, he is never to allow the flannel bags and cartridges to be tied with tarred ropeyarns.

43.

When a Salute is to be fired, the Gunner is to see that the proper guns' crews are in their respective stations; the guns, if loaded, are to be drawn, wormed, sponged, and re-loaded; if unloaded, they are to be wormed, sponged, and loaded; and whenever it may be necessary to reload a gun after firing, it is to be run into a taut breech, and then wormed and sponged, the vent being stopped by a properly fitted vent-plug. Port-fires are not to be used in firing salutes, but the guns are to be fired either with salamanders, or the percussion tubes and hammers. Though the Gunner may believe that all the before-mentioned precautions have been taken, he is to lay the guns so as to prevent the possibility of mischief, in the event of a shot or wad being left in any of the guns.

Wads, or cartridges fitted with cork or other wads, are never to be used in blank exercise, or when saluting.

Reduced charges are to be used for saluting and scaling.

44.

He is to see that the life buoys are ready for use at any time during the day or night; and he will take care that there is placed, on going to sea, in the quarter boats (or where none are carried, in the stern boat) a quarter case, containing a sufficient number of blue lights, rockets, long lights, blank cartridges, and flash pans, together with a horn of powder, and a musket, to enable a boat, when lowered at sea, to make known her position.

45.

The Gunners of Her Majesty's Ships are to conform in every particular, so far as the same may appertain to their respective duties, with the rules and system of teaching that may from time to time be laid down under the authority of the Admiralty, in the book of Instructions for the Exercise and Service of Great Guns, &c., and in the book of Instructions for Small Arm Drills, copies of which will be supplied to each Ship.


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