A Drill Sergeant will put children through their paces at the Royal Armouries Museum, Fort Nelson, during the Easter school holidays (Monday, April 7 to Thursday, April 17) as they learn to follow an authentic 19th century gun drill.

Youngsters will work in teams to charge, ram and load a bronze three-pounder Mountain Gun, designed in 1807 and specially adapted by Fort Nelson technicians.

The Royal Armouries’ education team devised the have-a-go gun drill activity to bring history to life for the museum’s younger visitors. The muzzle-loading gun drill allows participants to learn the different aspects of a gun drill, both during a practice loading session and then working against the clock.

Participants begin by cleaning the gun piece, using a process known as worming and sponging. They then “ram” the charge and the shot to make it ready to fire, before simulating firing the gun.

Each session will last 45 minutes, and is suitable for children, aged 5 to 12. Sessions run daily at 11am, 12 noon, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm, priced £3 per child. Children must be accompanied by an adult – no need to book.

This particular gun was adapted to allow children to practise traditional gun drills, safely. The first reinforcement is engraved with the monogram of King George III and dates to 1807. The chase bears the cipher of Francis, 2nd Earl of Moira, Master General of the Ordnance 1806-7.

Free daily gun firings – Fort Nelson visitors can experience the power and might of a second type of mountain gun every day throughout the holiday period, at 1pm on The Parade. A compact weapon suitable for difficult terrain, this mountain gun is of a type used in British colonial wars during the early 20th century. Not many were manufactured as they proved unpopular, due to their violent recoil.

Guided Tours – Learn how and why Fort Nelson was built – and the measures taken to defend it.

Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, the Palmerston fort showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery and cannon, from across the ages and from all corners of the globe.

In 2011, this unique heritage attraction underwent a major redevelopment to create a museum for the 21st century, supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, complete with new galleries, state-of-the-art education centre and visitor facilities, including a café with views over Portsmouth Harbour.

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Notes to editors

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