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32-pounder smooth bore breech loading gun fired at Fort Nelson

Monday, 20 November 2017

Fort Nelson will ring to the sound of one of the big guns from the Royal Armouries’ National collection on Sunday 26 November, forming the highlight of a free day out for all the family.

Visitors will be guided through the dimly lit underground main tunnel to the North Caponier to experience the ground shake as the immense power of the 32-pounder gun is released in an explosion of sound and smoke by uniformed detachment Portsdown Artillery Volunteers. Firings will take place at 11am, 11:30 am, 2 pm, 2:30 pm, 3 pm and 3:30 pm in addition to the daily 1 pm firing of the 25-pounder Howitzer on the parade.

There will be an opportunity for visitors to inspect the guns following the firings and the uniformed detachments will be available to answer questions about the guns.

The 32-pounder smooth bore breech loading guns had a range shot of up to 500 yards. They were specifically used as caponier guns for defending the ditches of land forts.

Nigel Hosier, Operations Manager at the Fort said, “The 32-pounder smooth bore breech loading gun is a spectacularly powerful gun which releases smoke and flames when fired. This is a great opportunity to witness the gun in action and to talk to the skilled volunteers about the characteristics and physical challenges involved in firing this type of gun”.

As well as daily 1 pm gun firings, the Royal Armouries’ museum at Fort Nelson offers a great day out for all the family. Standing high on Portsdown Hill (Fareham), the Victorian fort is home to one of the largest collections of artillery in the UK. There is so much to see and explore including the ramparts, parade, tunnels and Cafe 1871. The Fort is open from 10 am —4 pm daily (November to March) and admission is free.

For more details about the Royal Armouries and the national collection housed at Fort Nelson, visit

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Notes to editors

– Royal Armouries has two other sites at HM Tower of London and in Leeds.
– Fort Nelson in Hampshire houses the national collection of big guns and artillery. It underwent a major refurbishment in 2011, with new galleries and a state-of-the-art education centre. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
– In 2014, it was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
– The Royal Armouries Museum should not be confused with Royal Armouries International plc, the private sector corporate hospitality business based on the same site in Leeds.
– For further media enquiries and photo opportunities at Fort Nelson, please contact Caroline Chapman, Communications Officer:

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.