Firing Tube

Mark VII 8-Inch BL Gun

The 8-Inch BL Guns were manufactured at Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne in England, at the famous Armstrong Works.

8-Inch Shell

The emplacent on Mount Serapong
A Visualisation of the Mount Serapong 8-Inch Battery

Four Mark VII 8-Inch BL Guns were mounted at Singapore. Two were on Singapore Island at Fort Tanjong Katong, where they replaced the dated 7-Inch RML Guns there. The other two formed a new coast defence battery atop of Mount Serapong on Pulau Blakang Mati. Previously only an infantry redoubt had been there.

After an incident at Fort Tanjong Katong, where a gun blew its muzzle off during a practice shoot, all four of the guns were returned to Elswick to be strengthened. However, they were all replaced by the Mark VIIa model, which differed in some respects the the Mark VII.

Some sources state that the Tampion was left on the gun that blew its muzzle.

The Handbook for the gun stated:-

470. All ordnance will, as far as possible, be examined after firing (either with powder or cordite) the number of rounds detailed below, and practice from such ordnance should cease until such examination shall have been carried out. In cases, however, where the examination would happen within a series of rounds allowed for practice, and thus cause inconvenience, the guns will be examined before practice commences, irrespective of the number being completed.

480. In computing the number of rounds for examination purpose, four rounds of blank charges may be be regarded as equal to one round with projectile, but in recording the rounds on the Memorandum of Examination, “blank” rounds should be shown as such. Ordnance used for saluting purposes, or for time guns, should, however, be examined at least once a year, or oftener if necessary.

481. The following are the numbers of rounds after which each nature of ordnance must be examined:-

A table from the Handbook

The gun barrel had sights on each side of it. These were drop and tangent sights (see 7-Inch RML Gun).

Drawing of an 8-Inch BL Gun on Barbette Mounting.

Drawing of an 8-Inch BL Gun on Barbette Mounting.

The Construction of the Barrel.

8-Inch Gun Barrel showing a Shell and two Propellant Cartridges.

The Breech Mechanism.

8-Inch Chilled Shell.

The Guns of Singapore