Broadside - Blasts From
I was on my run-down-period before leaving the Navy for that strange outside world called Civilian Street, with just another week to go. I was in the Portsmouth area so I decided to go and take a tour of Nelson's old flagship, HMS Victory, the 100-gun ship-of-the-line. It had been there for ever of course, but like all famous attractions right on your doorstep you usually don't bother with them. So deciding to put that right I sauntered down to the dockyard where she is permanently on display to the public.
I had decided to go out of uniform just to be incognito and blend in with the crowd. I am glad I did because the young Royal Marine conducting the tour kept calling me "Sir" when answering any questions I put to him whilst walking around the ship LOL. I have to say he was a credit to the Corps, in his immaculate dress blues and looking just like a recruiting poster; he had his interesting spiel down to a T and never missed a beat in answering the many questions from tourists.
Towards the end of the tour we were standing on the upper gun-deck where a group of French tourists were closely examining the cannonballs placed in their little piles on their brass monkeys. Three of them approached the Marine and one of them asked him, “Are zeez the actual cannonballs used at zee Battle of Trafalgar?" The young Marine drew himself up to his full height, towering over the Frenchman, and while giving him his best one-thousand-yard-stare calmly replied," No, Sir, they are not. I think you will find that your Navy has all of the originals." That young guy’s response to the Froggies made me very proud to be British that day LOL.
Hit the link below for a clip of HMS Victory firing a rolling broadside only last year. Need your sound on but not too loud okay? It is reported that the total amount of gunpowder used in this exercise was less than was actually needed to fire one of the 32-pound cannon back in those days of wooden ships and iron men. Isn't technology great? No ear defenders or anti-flash gear back then of course. Just imagine being on the receiving end of that lot.