Some of the Most Elaborately Decorated Objects in the Royal Armouries Collection

This summer, the Royal Armouries will be playing host to a number of exciting activities part-inspired by our latest book release titled ‘Dangerous Arts’. Embellished with stunning images of the objects which once adorned the great palaces, tournament fields and parade grounds of the world, the book combines themes of art, conflict, death and beauty to highlight pieces in our collection chosen specifically for their fine craftsmanship and careful design. To help tell the stories behind some of the armouriesRead more

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

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better armour on the Western Front: Part three

  Part Three: Private Companies Written by Philip Abbot  Archives and Records Manager for the Royal Armouries in Leeds. At least eighteen designs for armour using steel plate, mail and even textiles were manufactured commercially in Britain during the First Word War, and no less than forty patents for helmets and armour were taken out in Britain between 1914 and 1918. It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that Conan Doyle also received letters from a number of private companiesRead more

The Battle of Jutland: an eyewitness account of the largest sea battle in history

The 31 May/1 June marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. It was the only major First World War fleet action fought between the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet, and the largest sea battle in history. Our Archives and Records Manager, Philip Abbot, uncovers some of the details of this important battle through the journals of Gerald Slade, midshipman on HMS Inflexible. Gerald Slade was born in Hong Kong in 1899, and entered theRead more

750th Anniversary of the Battle of Evesham

The 4th of August is the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Evesham. Evesham was the second and final pitched battle of the Second Barons’ War (1263-67). Setting: Henry III’s mismanagement of the realm through failure in foreign wars, rebellion in Gascony, poor distribution of patronage and increasing financial and judicial grievances, had led to increasing baronial dissatisfaction. This culminated in the Provisions of Oxford (1258) and Westminster (1259) where the barons forced reforms on the King. These covered threeRead more

The Big Guns of WWII: 25 pounder self-propelled gun

To mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe day, our Portsmouth site Fort Nelson will be firing the impressive 25 pounder self-propelled gun at 1pm and 3pm today. Also known as the Sexton, the gun was developed to support rapidly advancing forces in later stages of World War Two. The gun will be fired at at 1pm and 3pm today. The Royal Artillery experimented with a number of designs in their attempted to improve the mobility of artillery. Self-propelled guns on tracked mountings gaveRead more