In a ship of any size, some part is almost always in the process of being scraped, rubbed down or painted. But at certain times it is necessary to do this on a larger scale, and the order “hands paint ship” is given so that the whole of the vessel’s sides and masts may be recoated in a single day. This necessitates the assembly beforehand, by the ship’s painter, of an ample supply of brushes and paint-pots. The whole ship’s company is placed “out of routine” while the painting is in hand, so nothing may interfere with the rapid completion of the work. British warships in home waters are painted a dull grey, but in the Mediterranean and further east, grey of a lighter and brighter hue is employed.
Manning Sea Boat in a Destroyer
In destroyers a whaler usually does duty as a sea-boat. It is a double ended boat (i.e. with both ends shaped alike), 25 or 27 feet long, pulling five oars. Disengaging gear permits the boat to be slipped from the falls while the ship is still making way through the water. On a sea boat’s crew being called away, they man their boats instantly and put on their life belts. Sea boat lower ears are told off to each fall. As she nears the water, the officer lowering the boat give the orders “out pins” and then, at the right moment, “slip.” The coxswain of the boat thereupon slips the “fore and after” of the disengaging gear, the boat drops into the water and the crew get their oars out and pull away.
Modern sea fights are waged at far greater ranges than formerly. To. Ensure that guns may hit their targets at the utmost limits of visibility, various mechanical devices are employed. One of these “gadgets” as the Navy calls them, is the range-finder. When using it, two partial images of the target are seen through a telescope, one above the other; by manipulation these are brought into line and the correct range them appears on a scale attached. Big range-finders require two me to manipulate them, one to align the images and read off the range and one to train the instrument. Range-finders vary in size from small portable ones to the enormous fixed instruments in the turrets of the battleships Nelson and Rodney.
Naval Diver about to Descend
The diver has just stepped out of the boat on to the rungs of a ladder from which he will descend into the water. Naval divers are trained at the Diving School at Whale Island, Portsmouth and, when qualified, draw extra pay according to rating. If a ship sustains serious under-water damage, divers are sent down to measure the size of the hole with the aid of plumb lines, so that a wooden patch can be made and affixed by them by means of bolts and nuts. Divers are also employed to locate lost objects under water, such as anchors or torpedoes. During Navy Week at Plymouth in August 1937 a diver recovered a handbag dropped into the dockyard basin by a visitor.
Seaman Gunner Polishing the Breech of 15-Inch Gun
The 15 inch gun is over 52 feet long, weighs 97 tons and fires a projectile weighing nearly 2,000 lb. Gins of this calibre constitute the main armament of the battleships Queen Elizabeth, Barham, Malaya, Valiant, Warspite, Royal Sovereign, Revenge, Resolution, Ramillies and Royal Oak, of the battle cruisers Hood, Repulse and Renown and of the monitors Erebus and Terror. In all these ships the guns are mounted in pairs, inside turrets. Loading of these huge guns is carried out entirely by machinery, operated by the crew of the turret, which numbers 63, including men in the shell room and magazine below.
Anti-Aircraft Gun Practice (HMS Rodney)
Our picture shows the crew of a 4.7 inch high angle gun at practice. It will be noted that the men are all wearing gas masks. This particular model of 4.7 inch gun is a semi-automatic quick firer, nearly 16 feet in length, which is mounted only in HMS Rodney, Nelson, Courageous and Glorious. The crew numbers 11, and the rate of fire is 10 rounds per minute. The projectile weighs nearly 50lb and is discharged with a muzzle velocity exceeding 2500 feet per second. The total weight of the gun, with its mounting is 12 tons.
Gun’s Crew Loading 5.5 inch Gun (HMS Hood)
The only ships in the Royal Navy which mount guns of 5.5 inch calibre are the battle cruiser HMS Hood, the world’s largest warship, in which they form the secondary battery, and the aircraft carriers Furious and Hermes, which carry them as their main armament. This gun, which is nearly 23 feet in length and weighs over six tons, fires shells weighing 85lb. This lighter projectile is more easily handled than the 100lb shell of the 6 inch gun. The crew numbers 9.
The Naval Kite
The naval kite shown in illustration is being flown astern of a destroyer for use as a Lewis gun target. The Lewis is an automatic machine gun weighing 26lb, with a rate of fire of 700 rounds a minute. The magazine holds 47 rounds, and weighs 4lb when full. The gun, which isn used mainly for landing parties and in anti-aircraft work, is worked on an ingenious principle utilising the pressure of the gas generated by the explosion of the charge, assisted by a return spring. The bullets are the same as those of a .303 rifle.
Anti-Aircraft Pom Pom
Here an ordnance artificer and his mate are seen at work adjusting one of the barrels of a multiple Pom-Pom. This is the most formidable weapon yet devised for dealing with aircraft that fly low to attack a warship. Acting somewhat of the principle of a scatter gun, the eight barrels of the multiple Pom-Pom discharge into the air a spray of small projectiles at an incredibly rapid rate, thus putting up a barrage which should prove deadly to any aircraft coming within its radius. An ordnance artificer is a highly skilled chief petty officer who has been through technical courses in the gunnery and torpedo schools. Numbers of these rating proportionate to the size of the armament are borne on all ships of the fleet.
Firing a Broadside (HMS Rodney)
Nine 16 inch guns in three turrets, all of which can be fired on either beam, are mounted in HMS Rodney. A broadside from these nine guns weighs nearly ten tons and can hit a target at a range only bounded by the limits of vision. Sometimes the target is a affair of canvas and wood, towed by another ship. At other times the wireless controlled target ship Centurion is used, but not in the case of big as the 16 inch, since the structural damage would be too extensive to be repaired readily. These are the biggest guns ever mounted afloat with one exception, the 18 inch, an experimental gun used in HMS Furious and certain monitors during the Great War, but since discarded for naval purposes.