Pulled by the Navy.

Back in the 1990s, I visited HMS Excellent originally Whale Island in Portsmouth Harbour.

While there I saw the Royal field gun carriage. On the carriage is a brass plaque which reads.


THIS
FIELD GUN CARRIAGE
PRESENTED TO H.M.S. EXCELLENT BY
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
WAS USED
ON 2ND FEBRUARY 1901 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HER MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA
MANNED IN EMERGENCY BY SEAMEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY
UNDER THE COMMAND OF LT. THE HON. A.D.E.H. BOYLE R.N. & S/LT P.L.H. NOBLE
 
ALSO ON 20TH MAY 1910 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING EDWARD VII
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.G. TUPPER A.D.C. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 28TH JANUARY 1936 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE V
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN A.J. POWER R.N.
 
ALSO ON 15TH FEBRUARY 1952 AT THE FUNERAL OF
HIS MAJESTY KING GEORGE VI
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.F. ELKINS O.B.E. A.D.C. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 30TH JANUARY 1965 AT THE FUNERAL OF
SIR WINSTON LEONARD SPENCER CHURCHILL K.G. O.M. C.H.
MANNED BY SEAMEN OF H.M.S. EXCELLENT
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN A.M. POWER M.B.E. R.N.
 
ALSO ON 5TH SEPTEMBER 1979 AT THE FUNERAL OF
ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET LORD LOUIS MOUNTBATTEN
K.G. G.C.B. O.M. G.C.S.I. G.C.I.E. G.C.V.O. D.S.O.
MANNED BY MEN OF THE ROYAL NAVY
UNDER THE COMMAND OF CAPTAIN R.K.S. BETHELL O.B.E. R.N.

Royal Horse Artillery in January 1901 were tasked with the final phase of the funeral of Queen Victoria. This was to move her coffin from the railway station at Windsor to Windsor Castle. As the coffin was placed on the gun carriage the horses who had been waiting for some time on the snow-covered ground and with the noise of the train panicked and reared up. It looked as though the coffin would be toppled off the carriage. Naval ratings were ordered to take the lead, the sailors grounded arms and formed fours at the head of the cortege. Improvised drag ropes were brought in and pulled Queen Victoria to her destination. The horses were unharnessed and moved safely out of the way. Another story tells how the Naval ratings took over when a pin broke and the horses could not pull the carriage.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has made me think of my visit to Whale Island and seeing the Royal field gun carriage all those years ago. I understand it will be used on Monday for the Queen’s funeral pulled by Royal Naval Ratings as they have done for all State funerals since Queen Victoria’s.

8 thoughts on “Pulled by the Navy.

    • No although there will be some fired I am sure. Historically the Navy held field gun tournaments where they pulled field guns and limbers over obstacles dismantled put back together are fired 1st to fire one the race. Goes back to Victorian Navy raiding parties.

      Liked by 1 person

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