Queens Regulations & Admiralty Instructions 1861
Queens Regulations & Admiralty Instructions 1861

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The Queens Regulations and the Admiralty Instructions - 1861




HER Majesty's Ship "Excellent," at Portsmouth, is the principal depot for the training of Officers, Petty Officers, and Seamen in the theory and practice of Gunnery in all its details, as well as the small-arm and cutlass exercises. There is also a Gunnery Ship at Plymouth, but for the training of Petty Officers and Seamen only; and certificates of qualification granted to men from the one Ship are to be considered of the same effect, and as conveying the same advantages in every way, as certificates of qualification granted from the other Ship.


Qualified Gunnery Officers, and Seamen Gunners whatever specific rating they may hold, are, as far as the service will admit, to be employed as instructors in the Ships in which they may be serving; and the latter are, unless there should be some sufficient reason to the contrary, to be stationed as Captains of Guns.


The qualifications necessary to render men eligible as Seamen Gunners, are as follow:-

i. To obtain the certificate of "1st Class for Gunner" they are required to be perfect in all the drills and details, as laid down in the gunnery books, with the exception of the Field Battery manoeuvres, Battalion Drill, and Light Infantry exercise. They are also required to pass the Laboratory; and to go through a course of school instruction, which comprises Rule of Three, Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, Square Root, the use of Logarithms, and the method of finding the distance of a Ship at sea, or laying out a Target, by means of a quadrant. They are further expected to be superior instructors.

ii. To obtain the certificate of "1st-Class Seaman Gunner," they are required to be perfect in the same drills and details as those of the "1st Class for Gunner," with the exception of the Disparting instruction, School course, and the latter part of the Laboratory course. They are also expected to be good instructors.

iii. To obtain the certificate of "2nd-Class Seaman Gunner," they are only required to know the first three instructions, and the revolving gun exercise, with a few questions in the fourth instruction, and fitting of fuzes, together with the practical part of the cutlass, rifle, pistol, and field-piece exercises. They are also expected to be able to instruct a gun's crew in their different duties.

iv. Men of good character, and of good ability as Seamen, are, in sea-going Ships, to be encouraged to qualify themselves under the instruction of the Gunnery Officer on board, for the rating of "Acting Seaman Gunner" in which case they need only be required to be perfect in the first three instructions; but each man, before he can be considered qualified as such, must have fired at least the following number of rounds, and have proved that he can lay a gun quickly, and that he is a good and efficient shot:-
120 rounds from a rifle, at objects distant from 200 to 800 yards, a portion being fired with a rest.
20 rounds from a revolver pistol.
30 rounds from a 6-pounder short practice gun. Half being with motion.
10 rounds from a great gun (reduced charges with shot).
N.B.- The above may be expended for the instruction of each man qualifying himself for the rating of Acting Seaman Gunner, in addition to the ammunition allowed for exercise, as specified in the Appendix.


A proportion of Seamen Gunners, according to the table of complements, will be drafted to each Ship on fitting out, and on the Home Stations the numbers will be kept complete, as far as may be deemed expedient, by fresh drafts. Vacancies for Chief Gunner's Mates or Gunner's Mates, occurring on board Her Majesty's Ships on Foreign Stations, are to be filled up from the Seamen Gunners on the station holding first-class certificates from the Captains of either of the Gunnery establishments; if there be no available men so qualified on the station, Seamen Gunners with second-class certificates may be appointed to act in the vacancies: but in the event of there being no confirmed Seamen Gunners on the station, men who volunteer for gunnery service, and who obtain second-class certificates from a Gunnery Officer, nominated by the senior Officer present to examine them, may, in like manner, be appointed to act in such vacancies.

Vacancies for Seamen Gunners abroad, when there are none disposable in the Fleet, are also to be filled by any qualified Seamen on the Station who may volunteer for gunnery service, and pass, before a Gunnery Officer, such an examination as to entitle them to a second-class certificate, on obtaining which, they may be appointed acting Seamen Gunners, and will be entitled to extra pay, the same as confirmed Seamen Gunners; but all seamen who obtain gunnery certificates abroad, and maintain a good character, will, on return to England, be required to pass the necessary examinations on board one of the Gunnery Ships, within a reasonable time after being sent to either of them; and on receiving the requisite certificates, they will be confirmed as Seamen Gunners in their respective ratings, from the date of passing their provisional examinations, and be allowed the additional time for pension granted by the Regulations. (Men who have at any time been found disqualified on board either of the Gunnery Depots, are not to be entered as Acting Seamen Gunners, in any of Her Majesty's Ships. And all Acting Seamen Gunners of only fair or indifferent character, are, on their return to England, instead of being sent to a Gunnery Ship for examination, to have their provisional certificates, as Seamen Gunners, cancelled.) It is to be observed, however, that no man will be confirmed as Chief Gunner's Mate, or as Gunner's Mate, unless he shall obtain a first-class certificate.


The Captains of Ships arriving at Portsmouth or Plymouth from abroad, and not being under orders to be paid-off, are, with the permission of the Commander-in chief or senior Officer present, to send such men as may be acting as Chief Gunner's Mates, Gunner's Mates, or Seamen Gunners, to the Gunnery Establishment of the Port for examination, and, on obtaining the requisite certificates, they are to be confirmed in their ratings; but if, in the opinion of the Captain of the Gunnery Ship, it will take some time to qualify them, they are to be retained in the depôt, and duly qualified men discharged therefrom to fill their places. Returns of men, acting in the before-mentioned capacities, arriving at any of the ports where there is not a Gunnery Establishment, are to be transmitted, by the Captains of the Ships in which they are serving, through their Commander-in-chief, to the Secretary of the Admiralty.


All applications for Gunner's Mates and Seamen Gunners to fill vacancies on the Home Stations, - and for Ships abroad when there are no eligible men on the station qualified or willing to qualify themselves for the situations vacant, - are to be made by the respective Captains, through their Commanders-in-chief, to the nearest Gunnery Establishment, and in each application the following information will be required, namely: - the number of Seamen Gunners borne at the time, distinguishing the Petty Officers from the Seamen, and the name and rating of the individual causing the vacancy, specifying how he was disposed of. It will depend upon the length of time the ship has been in commission, whether or not men will be sent out to fill vacancies for Seamen Gunners abroad.


Every possible encouragement is to be given to Petty Officers and Leading and Able Seamen who are of good character, and not more than 30 years of age, to volunteer, on paying-off, for one or other of the Gunnery Establishments; and Officers in command of Ships under orders to be paid-off, are to send to the Commander-in-chief, for the Secretary of the Admiralty, a list of the Petty Officers and Leading and Able Seamen who may wish to join either of the Gunnery Ships, when, if it be convenient to the service, they will be ordered to be discharged. Men who have previously served as Seamen Gunners for a term of five years, may volunteer for Gunnery Service, if not over 35 years of age.


Petty Officers and Seamen who volunteer for either of the Gunnery Establishments, must engage for five years' service as Seamen Gunners, to be reckoned from the date of obtaining their certificates, and such men as shall have passed the examinations in Gunnery, and obtained the necessary certificates, are to be borne on the books of Her Majesty's Ships with the rating of "Seaman Gunner," in addition to any other rating they may hold, and they will be entitled to extra pay for the same, at the rate of 2d. or 4d. per diem, according to their certificates, as well as additional time for pension, as provided for in Article 8, at page 241.


At the end of every five years' service, Seamen Gunners are to be encouraged to renew their engagements as such, and on doing so, or on their volunteering to continue to perform the duties of Seamen Gunners until paid-off, or on their declining either to perform such duties or to re-engage themselves, the Captain of the Ship in which they are employed, is to note the circumstance on the Ship's books, and all their pay documents, as well as on their parchment certificates, immediately under the date of their examination in Gunnery. The particulars of such re-engagements, or the fact of their declining to volunteer for a further period of service as Seamen Gunners, or to perform the duties until paid off, as the case may he, are to be communicated by letter to the Captain of Her Majesty's Ship "Excellent."


Every re-engagement in the capacity of Seaman Gunner must be for five years, except in the case of men entered for continuous service whose Gunnery engagements may expire during, but before, their continuous service engagements, and such men may, at their option, either volunteer for a further period of five years as Seamen Gunners, or for such period short of that time as may be necessary to complete their continuous service engagements. Men also who require less than five years to complete their time for a long-service pension, may be re-engaged, as Seamen Gunners, for such period short of five years as shall be necessary to make up their total service to the period necessary to entitle them to such pension.


Seamen Gunners accidentally left behind, or being left at an hospital from Ships that have sailed for abroad, or on recovery alter being invalided, are, if on a Home Station, to be sent to the nearest Gunnery Establishment; and, when paid-off from their Ships, they are to be discharged to the Gunnery Ship at Portsmouth, or at Plymouth, as they may desire. In any of the above cases, they are to be borne on the books of the Gunnery Ship as part of her established complement, if it be not complete; but if it be complete, they are to be borne as supernumeraries for wages and victuals, until vacancies occur.


Seamen Gunners, serving in any other Ships than the Gunnery Ships, are not to be permitted to leave such Ships on the ground of their having completed the period of service for which they were engaged in the specific capacity of Seamen Gunners, notwithstanding they may be unwilling to renew their engagements as such, but they must remain in their Ships until paid-off, or until they are otherwise entitled to be discharged. They may, however, on the expiration of their terms of engagement, give notice to the Captains of their Ships that they are unwilling to engage for a further period of service as Seamen Gunners, and they will, in all such cases, unless they continue to perform the particular duty, cease to receive the additional pay and time attached to that rating; but they may be allowed, if they desire it, to continue to do the duty of Gunners Mates or Seamen Gunners, until the Ship in which they are serving may be paid-off, in which case they are to receive the additional pay and time: and, when discharged from their Ship, they can leave the Gunnery Establishment, although they may have broken in on the second or third five years.


In cases where Seamen Gunners decline to re-enter, or to continue to do duty as such until paid-off, they are to hold the ratings for which they may be qualified, but without pay or time as Seamen Gunners; and any Gunner's Mate so declining to re-enter, or to continue to do duty as such, is to receive an equivalent rating, or if there be no equivalent rating vacant in the Ship, he is, if serving at home, to be sent to one of the Flag Ships, where an equivalent rating is to be given to him, and he is to be borne as a Supernumerary for disposal; but if on a Foreign Station, he is to retain the rating of Gunner's Mate until an equivalent rating becomes vacant, or until the Ship arrives in England - but he is not to perform the duty of Gunnery Instructor, nor to receive pay or time as Seaman Gunner.


Seamen Gunners who, on paying-off, return to one of the Gunnery Ships, and who complete their term of Gunnery service whilst serving therein, and who decline to re-enter for such service, are, if their continuous service engagements shall not have expired, to be discharged to the Flag Ship at the port, for disposal; or, like other Seamen Gunners who, on paying-off, have completed their Gunnery service, they may, if in every way qualified, be recommended by the Captain of the Gunnery Ship in which they are serving, either for the Coast Guard or a Dockyard.


Seamen Gunners are to understand that their promotion will not be confined to situations only within the Gunner's department, but in the same manner as other Seamen, they are eligible to be advanced to such stations as they may be considered qualified to fill. None but Seamen Gunners, however, or men who have qualified themselves as such, are eligible for an appointment as Gunner, and no man will be confirmed in that capacity who has not received a first-class certificate, "qualifying for Gunner," from the Captain of one of the Gunnery Establishments; neither is any person who is not thus qualified to be appointed as Acting Gunner, unless there should not be a man on the Station holding a first-class certificate of the nature referred to.


All Seamen Gunners before being finally discharged, must be sent to one of the Gunnery Ships, in order that their Gunnery certificates may be cancelled, unless the same may have been done in the Ship in which they are or were serving, and an intimation thereof forwarded to the Captain of the "Excellent."


With the view of giving encouragement to the intelligent Seamen of the Fleet, a proportion of the Seamen Gunners (Petty Officers or Seamen) are to be designated as "Gunnery Instructors." The utmost care is to be taken in their selection; and in addition to their being superior drills in the great-gun, rifle, and sword exercises, they should be good shots. The duty of the Gunnery Instructors will be to attend under the Gunnery Officer, or Gunner, to all drills in great-guns and small arms; and they will, at the discretion of the Commanding Officer, be excused, as far as possible, from any other duty whilst the day drills are going on; but when, from any cause the drills are discontinued, they will be employed as most convenient in their watches.

On a Ship being first commissioned, Gunnery Instructors will be discharged into her from one of the Gunnery Ships; but when vacancies for Instructors subsequently occur in Ships, either at home or abroad, they may be filled by Seamen Gunners of the First Class, selected by a Gunnery Officer, and subject to the approval of the Commanding Officer of the Ship in which they are serving.

All men, rated as Gunnery Instructors, are to have the letters "G.I." placed against their names on the Ship's Books; and when they return to a Gunnery Ship, on being discharged or paid off, or when from any other cause they cease to hold the rating of Instructors, they are to revert to the ordinary pay of Seamen Gunners.

The following proportion of Gunnery Instructors will be allowed to each Ship:-

1st Rates6To be included
in the complement
of Seamen Gunners
2nd and 3rd Rates5
4th Rates4
5th and 6th Rates, and Corvettes2


Any Seaman, above 2nd-Class Ordinary (no matter what rating he may hold so that he be not rated in the capacity of Seaman Gunner) may be examined by the Gunnery Officer of his own or any other Ship, - or, in the absence of any such Officer by a Gunner, - and, on a report being made to the commanding Officer that the man is qualified, he will be designated on the Ship's books as a "Trained Man," - the letters "T.M." being placed against his name, - and be allowed one penny a-day in addition to his ordinary pay.

The necessary qualifications for Trained Men are as follows:-

They must be well acquainted with the duties of all the numbers at a gun, the fitting of gun-gear, the use of sights, be able to lay a gun quickly and correctly, know the manual and platoon exercises for the rifle, and also possess a fair knowledge of the sword exercise.


When a ship is paid off, a report is to be transmitted by the Captain, to the Secretary of the Admiralty, stating how each Seaman Gunner belonging to her at any time during the period of her Commission, has been disposed of.

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