The guns of the Second World War Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cavalier will be firing again this weekend for the first time since 1972.
The Heritage Naval Gun Crew (volunteers), will be firing one of Cavalier’s 4.5” Mk IV guns – albeit with blank rounds – at 12pm on August 27.
Numbering Rolls Royce and Royal Naval engineers, restorers, a master painter and a blacksmith among their number, the voluntary group have been working closely with the Historic Dockyard this year, restoring Cavalier’s A and B mountings which were built during the Second World War.
“Both mounts are capable of firing and it is envisaged that a salvo of six rounds will be fired in full action rig,” said crew member Martin Oxley, who is also a driver on the North Yorkshire Steam Railway.
“The B mounting now elevates through its full range with ease and trains fully to port and starboard with the same ease. The breech operates well and all points have been restored to working condition.
“Due to our collective years of experience, we can give safe public demonstrations of these weapons – you should be able to hear Cavalier’s gun being fired from quite a distance.”
The crew, who use their skills, dedication and experience to achieve extraordinary results in a remarkably short time and at minimal cost to museums, have worked on HMS Belfast and on the restoration of the 4.7” MkIX gun at Explosion Museum at Gosport.
HMS Cavalier was launched on April 7 1944 and commissioned on November 22 1944. She served in both the Far East and on convoy duty from Norway before being placed in reserve in Portsmouth in 1946.
After a modernisation she re-entered service in 1957. By the time of her decommissioning in 1972 she was the last surviving destroyer to have served in World War Two.