How was artillery developed in World War One?

By Adrian Parry, University of Portsmouth. The British army fired 273,000 shells in the first 36 months of the Second Boer War. Yet in the four years of World War One, it fired over 170 million shells. This amounted to over five million tons of ordnance. In September 1915, British guns fired 535,000 artillery rounds in four days at the Battle of Loos; 1,732,873 rounds in June 1916 in the eight days prior to the attack on the Somme; 3,258,000 roundsRead more

Meet the Percheron Horses

Meet the remarkable horses who will be taking part in our forthcoming Artillery on Parade event on 22 and 23 July at Fort Nelson. Find out more about the history of the breed, what makes them special and meet the horses who will take part, working alongside the volunteer groups in the re-enactments. Percheron History There are many discrepancies and disputes regarding the earliest record and exact origin of the Percheron breed. Some records date back to the 17th century,Read more

Spies in the Tower: Carl Hans Lody

In the run up to our Spy Academy running throughout half term at Fort Nelson, Bridget Clifford recounts the stories of just some of the men held in the Tower of London on espionage charges during the First World War. NB: This post was originally published in November 2014 as part of our The Curator @ War series. Three months into the First World War as the combatants on the Western Front learnt the grim reality of trench warfare inRead more

The arrival of the FH70 at Fort Nelson – another new acquisition!

Written by Phil Magrath, Curator at Fort Nelson, Portsmouth. The Royal Armouries collection of artillery was recently enhanced with the addition of a Field Howitzer of 155mm calibre (FH-70). This system was originally a collaborative project between the UK, USA and Germany, all desirous to change older systems, which, in the case of the UK, was the 5.5-inch Medium Gun (also in the collection). The FH-70 is able to fire NATO standard ammunition including those with extended range base bleedRead more

Conservation in action: The German 25 cm trench mortar (Minenwerfer ) 1917

In 2004 a former member of the Royal Armouries staff collected this German 25 cm trench mortar from a Farm in Norfolk, where for a number of years it had been exposed to the elements and was in need of some tender loving care. On site at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson in Portsmouth, the trench mortar remained in the Artillery Hall, where it continued to suffer from the adverse conditions until Mick Cooper (Fort Nelson Technician)  began the lengthy conservation process lastRead more

Conservation Techniques for Arms and Armour

Fort Nelson Conservator Matthew Hancock is presenting a paper at the triennial Institute of Conservation conference in Birmingham this afternoon. The paper titled ‘Do nothing or go the Full Hog and build a Replica’, investigates current treatment trends in conservation in line with the conference theme.   The presentation uses one of the Fort’s most interesting and recent acquisitions, a mid-17th century composite minion drake, as a case study for this academic presentation. This composite gun was chosen because a minimum ofRead more