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Taking on ammunition

Catalogue number 21020

Vergniaud armouring

The French battleship Vergniaud is taking on 12-inch/305mm shells from an ammunition barge and a cage-like structure is used to bring the shell aboard. Vergniaud had four 12-inch guns in twin turrets fore and aft. Each gun had 100 rounds.

11cm x 8,2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 35260

Taking on shells in a British battleship

The ammunition barge has come alongside a British battleship, probably HMS Royal Sovereign, and the ship’s derricks are being used to unload. The shells are for the 15-inch (381 mm) mk I breech-loading guns and the weight of such an armour-piercing shell in World War Two was 1938lbs/879 kg.

12,8cm x 7,6cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 47128

HMS Nelson 1934

Judging by the cap badge, this looks like Royal Marines man-handling a 16-inch shell onto a bogey aboard HMS Nelson in 1934. The rope rings around the end of the shell are to protect during handling, the soft copper band (the driving band) that forms a seal when the shell is in the gun barrel. This is an armour-piercing shell weighing 2,048 lbs/929 kg.

14,4cm x 9,2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 69100

HMS Rodney

Sailors position a 16-inch shell from HMS Rodney whilst the shell bogey is put into place. Note the short-bodied (compared to the photograph of HMS Royal Sovereign), long-headed armour-piercing capped shell.

Verso “Government Information Office Barbados”

10,6cm x 13,5cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 35261

British battleship armouring

Shells clutter the deck of this British battleship as a winch is used bring on board more shells. They will be put on a bogey and pushed to the loading hatch of the respective gun turret to be stored below in the magazine. Up to 100 shells per turret could be loaded but the problem was storage of the cordite cartridges and the empty cases.

12,1cm x 8,8cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 102004

HMS Royal Oak

A shell is about to go down into the magazine of a turret in HMS Royal Oak. The rope protection has been removed revealing the driving band. Another shell has been brought up on the bogey to the right of the photograph and the handling claw is already in place. See how the petty officer gun layer has to reach up and remove the crane hook. HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed in Scapa Flow on 14th October 1939.

Verso "British official Fleet series. With the British Navy in war time. Lowering projectiles into the ship"

20,4cm x 15,2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 28005

USS California 1939

A barge full of 14-inch shells and cordite charges in their canvas cases is tied up alongside USS California in 1939. The cordite is stored in cases and is removed when loaded into the gun after the shell. At the battle of Jutland, poor handling techniques notably removing cordite charges and storing them in and around the gun turret led to several ships blowing up when hit.

Verso "Voici sur la côte californienne des marins chargeant des obus et des munitions à bord du “California” qui a reçu l’ordre de rejoindre immédiatement sa base du Pacifique. 25.4.39" On the Californian coast, sailors are loading shells and cordite cartridges on board USS California which has received the order to immediately join its base in the Pacific.

17,1cm x 13,1cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 96054

Unknown British warship 1939

These sailors are carrying quick-firing rounds up to an anti-aircraft gun. With quick-firing rounds, the explosive charge and the projectile form the round so the firing cycle is much shorter. The empty cartridge case was automatically ejected after firing. The heaviest round was 28.3 lbs/12.8 kg.

Verso "La Marine britannique est prête à toute éventualité. Voici l’une des premières photos prises dans un arsenal britannique depuis le début de la guerre. Des marins britanniques transportant des obus destinés à des canons anti-aériens à bord d’un navire de guerre britannique. 26.10.39 ". The British Navy is ready for anything that may come. Here is one of the first photos taken in a British naval base since the beginning of the war. British sailors are loading ammunition for anti-aircraft guns aboard a British warship.

12,9cm x 17cm Gelatin silver print