Figure of the Serjeant Major
Figure of a man carrying a Shell

A Figure of a man taking a shell to the No.2 Hoist. In reality, the shells would have been on a trolley.

Figures of men working at the hoists
Figures of Men of the Singapore Volunteer Artillery

The Hoists which once served the the guns above, were of two types, Ladder Hoists and Band Hoists. The Ladder Hoist, which was for shells, was angled, rather like a ladder leaning against the wall. This took shells to a hatch on the rear of the gun platform. The Band Hoist, which was for Cartridges, was vertical and carried Propellant Cartridges to a hatch to the side of the emplacement wall. Both were operated manually by means of a rotating handle which turned gears. In the days before electric power, operating the hoists was hard work, more so in the Singapore climate.

The displays you see in the Magazine are incorrect. Where figures in the Magazine are seen loading Shells, in reality they would be loading Cartridges. Where figures are seen loading Cartridges, they would have been loading Shells.


The No.1 Shell Hoist before restoration.


After restoration. The Hoist is operated by a handle attached to the metal casing on the wall.
The handle is connected to a cog connected to a larger reduction cog, which is attached to a drum which drives a belt of thick links rather like a bicycle chain. The whole assembly drives a continuous belt, similar to a hand rail on an escalator. One man turns the handle, and another places Shells on the belt for transport to the emplacement.


After the War, this building became a REME Workshop where Harold Dursley worked. He was working in the building when this photo was taken.


The No.2 Shell Hoist before restoration.


The No.2 Cartridge Hoist before restoration.


The figure of a man operating the restored No.2 Cartridge Hoist. Around the base of the shell in the hoist are copper bands, raised slightly above the surface. These are ‘Driving Bands’, and engage in the gun barrel’s rifling which imparts a spin to the shell on firing. This stabilises it in flight, increasing accuracy.

Although the displayss in the Magazine are incorrect, they do convey the work done by men in the Magazine. As can be seen, there is not a lot of working room. Neither was there a great deal of light. Shells weighed in the region of 45Kg, so both carrying shells and operating a hoist would be hard work. Unseen men would be working in the Cartridge Store, passing Cartridges out through a hatch at floor level in the wall of the Store.

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