Boy's Manual Of Seamanship And Gunnery


This Manual of Seamanship and Gunnery has been written for the use of Boys under training for Her Majesty's Navy.

It is arranged so as to meet the various instructions laid down in the Training Regulations, and contains full information in all matters which boys are required to learn. I trust it will prove interesting and useful to them. 

My principal object has been to explain everything simply and clearly, so that a boy may the more readily understand the practical teaching he receives daily in the course of his training, and so enable him to pass with greater facility from one thing to another, and prevent his becoming a "backward boy." 

With proper attention to his Instructors, and reading this book carefully at leisure times, he may prepare himself thoroughly for the Quarterly Examinations, on which the credit of the boys and of the ship to which they belong, must depend. I have included everything that a First Class Boy ought to learn; and I also intend it as a connecting link to another book called "The Young Seaman's Manual," which I have also compiled for the use of the young seamen of the Navy, and which treats more fully of a seaman's duties.

Such portions of the Training Regulations printed by Authority, considered useful for the guidance of boys, have been added, so that a boy can easily ascertain all the advantages therein held out to him by continuous good conduct; he will learn what are the qualifications for good conduct badges, and their advantages; also the qualifications for the rating of First Class Boys-in short, everything connected with the Training Regulations with which it is necessary that a boy should be acquainted.

I wish to add here a few words by way of advice to the boys

I would impress upon a boy's mind who has selected the Navy for his future career in life, that he has chosen one of the most honourable professions, that of defender of his country, one in whose hands very often its honour and standing with other nations is entrusted. He should ever keep in mind that the Navy has always been considered the right arm of England; most highly esteemed by his countrymen, and of which every Englishman is naturally proud. 

This being an acknowledged fact, two things are required of every boy, and these should never be lost sight of by him-viz., honesty of character, and a determination to become master of his profession. The latter he has every opportunity of accomplishing. He is received into the Navy at an early age, and at a great expense to the country ; he is trained to fill with credit to himself the highest position it is possible for him to attain; always provided his conduct will justify it, for all the training in the world will avail nothing if good conduct is not added to good qualifications.

It is to this, therefore, that I would specially call the attention of every boy joining a training ship; it will not take him long to distinguish between the good and bad boys; then let him avoid the latter in every possible way. Boys of good character are allowed to land from the ship twice a week for a walk, or to see their friends if they reside in the neighbourhood ; my advice therefore is, prize this privilege without infringing upon it, as any deviation from the rules often leads a boy into loose habits, and the first step down the ladder of destruction is commenced.

A mean, or cowardly boy, will sometimes rather run the risk of incurring the displeasure of his superiors; by wilfully breaking the regulations laid down for his guidance, than stand the scorn and derision of the bad boys, who will in every way induce him to do wrong, and laugh at him for being afraid if he refuses. But the brave, honest boy, who fears nothing but the displeasure of his commanding Officer for direct disobedience of orders, his great aim is to conquer all difficulties and go forth into the service maintaining a good character, continuing in the path he has marked out for himself, which is to lead to the top of his profession. These are the boys who eventually are promoted to one of the most valuable classes of Officers in the Navy - viz., Warrant Officers.

I would therefore ask each boy on first joining a Training Ship to consider these remarks, which are offered for his future good, and to remember that rules must be strictly obeyed, and that leave is a privilege granted him for recreation, to use and not to abuse, When on shore avoid all intoxicating drinks and the use of tobacco in every shape. Never enter a publichouse. Make this, on joining the Navy, the fixed principle of your life-allow no inducement to cause you to turn aside from the path you have marked out. When on board pay strict attention to your instructions; be cleanly in your habits; careful of your kit; always ready to obey orders, remembering that implicit obedience is one of the chief ingredients required in making a good sailor. A boy that does this, will finish life as he has commenced it-a credit to himself and the Service.

If you commence life in a Training Ship with dirty habits, in. attention to your drills, and a disregard to good order when on shore, you will leave it with an indifferent character; if you start badly, you may be sure you will end your course badly; perhaps be dismissed the service with disgrace, or discharged from your first ship on paying off as an objectionable character, being ever after shunned by your old shipmates as a man unworthy of being known, thus becoming a burden to yourself; and die at an early age, unregretted and uncared for.

C. B.

^ back to top ^