- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- Naval technology
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1982 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
NOW THAT THE SOCIETY is compiling a record of naval relics around Australia it might be an idea to pass on a few tips that may help positive identification of relics.
When checking over a muzzle loading gun there are a few points to examine for distinctive markings. First, the trunnions.These are the bearings at right angles to the barrel, which support the gun in its carriage. On the left trunnion, one will usually find the register number, the maker’s initials, and the year of manufacture. On the barrel there can be a few markings, and these usually include the weight of the gun in Tons-cwts-qrs and lbs. Sometimes the tons are left off and the weight is marked in hundredweights. Sometimes the year of manufacture is stamped on the barrel.
There will normally be a broad arrow and/or a Royal Monogram. On a muzzle loader there will normally be a number stamped on the top of the barrel, but this is the maker’s number, not the register number. On the cascable, the rounded section of the breech end, there are usually a set of markings that denote the type of vent fitted on the gun. You will probably find a set such as this:-
|CV ) N ) C )||This marking indicates a copper vent, new gun, cone.|
|CV ) C )||This marking indicates a cone vent, but not a new gun.|
|CV means a ‘through’ vent, and IV means ‘iron vent’.|
|Some older guns were marked:|
|CV ) N ) LC )||Which meant a copper vent, new long cone and a ‘through’ vent.|
If you are listing such relics, it is a good idea to record all these markings, and if possible make a pencil rubbing, and include this with your notes.
The calibre of the gun is usually shown on the left trunnion, and this can be either in inches, i.e. ‘6.3 in’, or with the weight of the shot, e.g. ‘32 P’, which would indicate a 32 pounder.
The above markings are to be found on a 10 inch RML, Mark 1 gun, ex-HMVS Cerberus, presently located in the Botanical Gardens, Ballarat. They indicate that the gun was built at the Royal Gun Factory in 1869, that it is a Mark 1 gun, that it weighs 18 tons, 1 cwt, no quarters, no pounds, and that its register number is 17. It is interesting to note that only 18 Mark 1 guns were built, this one being the second last in the series.