Fort Nelson will ring to the sound of one of the great guns from the Royal Armouries’ national collection this Sunday (July 27), forming the highlight of a great free day out for all the family.

Uniformed gunners from the Portsdown Artillery Volunteers will fire a 110-pounder, 7-inch rifled breech-loading gun from the ramparts of the 19th century fort, at 11.30am, 1pm and 3pm.

Dated 1862, the mighty 110-pounder was built in the Royal Gun Factory at Woolwich. Its predecessor was the 68-pounder cast iron smoothbore muzzle loader, firing spherical shot and shell.

Keeper of Artillery Nicholas Hall said, “There is a 68-pounder at the North angle of the fort. If Fort Nelson had been armed in the early 1860s, this would have been the original heavy armament.

“By contrast, the 110-pounder is lighter, yet fires a heavier projectile than the old gun. It can do this because the projectile is cylindro-conoidal – meaning it is roughly the shape of a modern shell, and the barrel is stronger. This is a great chance to see the gun in action, against the fabulous backcloth of our fully restored Palmerston fort.”

Sunday’s gun firing takes place in the Haxo Casemate, a type of arched gun emplacement built on the terreplein, or top of the ramparts. At Fort Nelson these were located at the eastern and western corners, to protect those exposed positions and to give flank protection to the adjoining guns in the open. The Casemate is named after the distinguished engineer General Francois Nicolas Benoit Haxo [1774-1838] who fought at the Battle of Waterloo.

As well as free daily gun firings, Royal Armouries at Fort Nelson offers a great day out for all the family. Standing high on Portsdown Hill near Fareham, the Palmerston fort showcases one of the world’s finest collections of artillery and guns, from across the ages and from all corners of the globe. Museum, gun firings and parking are free.

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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