The Museum has recently borrowed a 6-inch breech loading gun and an associated hydro-pneumatic carriag dating to the late 19th century. It was known as a disappearing gun because after being fired from a position above the parapet, the force of the recoil would drive it downwards ready for re-loading. When ready for firing again, the gun barrel would be raised using the hydro-pneumatic system. The Museum’s disappearing gun is located in Eastney Fort East, only a short distance from the Museum. When it has been restored, it will be placed on display in a concrete emplacement that would have housed such a gun between the late 1890s and 1907.
Next in our extraordinary stories series is Captain Green.
The Band of the Royal Marine Artillery was given the honour of becoming the official Band of the Royal Yacht after they impressed King Edward VII.
The band, under Captain Green, played at many prominent events such as the funeral of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII’s Coronation and on a Royal tour to India. Whilst Green was a Director of Music the band visited and played for those serving on the Western Front on several occasions during the First World War.
The Royal Marines Museum archive is being totally rebuilt this week as phase one of the ‘Study Centre Scheme’ gets underway. However, a team of priceless volunteers have been helping the Archivist clear the collections from the store rooms over the preceding weeks, and are now busy preparing some of the documents for return to their ‘new’ environment.
A 70 year old machine gun is being prepared for public demonstration as the Royal Marines Museum gets ready for its 1940s event running from 23 to 25 September. The 1942 manufactured Vickers Machine Gun was one of thousands produced from 1912, when the gun was first designed, up until the end of the Second World War.
This week in our series of extraordinary stories of Royal Marines is Sam Bassett.
Sam's Bassett’s career started in 1907 and lasted 53 years. He served in both World Wars. In the First World War he served entirely at Sea. During the Russian Revolution his Russian language skills were utilised when he helped process Russian refugees in Novorossiysk in 1919, for this he was awarded the Order of St Stanislaus.
Royal Marines recently played Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers in the inaugural match of the newly-formed football league of Rahim Kalay, a small farming community previously ravaged by fighting and terrorised by insurgents.
The Second World War was a time of huge change within the Royal Marines. Having started the war with a strength of 12,000 marines, by the end this number had risen to over 80,000. The biggest change in the Marines had come with the birth of the Commando units in 1942, ultimately changing the role and the direction the Royal Marines in the years following the war.
The Tony Strudwick Big Band are confirmed to play on Saturday 23rd September at the Royal Marines Museum's 1940's weekend.
Dance to the big band sound at our 1940s dance with the Tony Strudwick Big Band. The Big Band re-creates the authentic sound of Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington and many of the famous bands of the 1940's. There is even a special section dedicated to The Andrews Sisters.
Picture the scene: three museum professionals with years' of experience behind them, looking like smartly-dressed reincarnations of Fred Dibnah, hands on hips wondering why the damned thing wasn't working.
The "damned thing" in question was a VIckers gun we were getting ready for Go Ballistic at the weekend.
We'd done everything right, loaded the ammunition into the belt right, put it together right, we could even load a round into the chamber. Could we get it to feed? Could we hell.
Royal Marines have used dozens of different types of firearms over the years – from black powder muzzle loaders through to fully automatic weapons of today – and that’s not including the many types of Artillery pieces they have used on Sea and Land as well. The Fort Cumberland Guard help give a flavour of the black powder era with the demonstrations they perform at the Museum from time to time.
If you'd like to see weapons demonstrations, the Royal Marines Museum is running an event on Sunday 14th August 'Go Ballistic' where you can see weapons demonstrations and much more.
Last week the BBC were filming at the Museum for a BBC 2 program on World War 2. Presenting the program was Paddy Ashdown who spent time at the Museum and other locations in Portsmouth. The programme will be aired later in the year, stay tuned for an announcement of the date!