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Remembering and Honouring the Fallen at Fort Nelson

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Royal Armouries will fire an 18-pounder First World War gun at Fort Nelson on Remembrance Sunday, 12 November, as part of the commemorations to those killed in two world wars and all conflicts since.

Museum visitors will be able to join the nation in remembering the servicemen and women who laid down their lives. A uniformed detachment from Ubique Right of the Line will fire the British 18-pounder field gun on the parade to mark the beginning and end of the two minutes’ silence at 11am.

The Royal Armouries 18-pounder field gun dates from 1917. During the First World War the 18-pounders formed the backbone of the British field artillery. Over 8,000 of these guns were built in Britain and during the course of the war fired nearly 100 million rounds, causing huge numbers of casualties.

Armistice Day, Saturday 11 November

Royal Armouries museum at Fort Nelson will also pay tribute on Armistice Day, Saturday 11 November, when staff will fire the 18-pounder on the parade at 11am, to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, followed by two minutes’ silence. The 25-pounder Field Howitzer will be fired at 1pm for the daily salute. The 25-pounder Field Howitzer will be fired at 1pm for the daily salute.

Fort Nelson is a large Victorian fortification (one of the famous Palmerston Follies), which was built between 1860 and 1870 to deter an enemy attack on Portsmouth from inland, although it never saw action against the French. Portsmouth played a critical role as an embarkation point during the First World War for the millions of soldiers deployed to Europe. Soldiers stationed in Portsmouth during this period used Fort Nelson as a barrack and training centre. It is believed that the soldiers stationed at the fort practiced trench digging between Fort Nelson and Fort Southwick prior to being deployed to mainland Europe.

Barrack accommodation in and around Portsmouth was at a premium because the war time garrison at times numbered as many as 25,000 men. The fort was also used as an anti-aircraft ammunition depot and played a crucial part in supporting the defence of the Solent during 1940 and 1941.

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

The Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson is home to a remarkable collection of First World War artillery, including the British 18-inch Railway Howitzer in the Artillery Hall. The museum is open daily 10 am — 5 pm (April — October) and 10 am — 4 pm (November — March). Museum admission and parking at Fort Nelson are 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.