This film is part of Free

Bluejackets' Field Gun Drill at Durban

Boer war sailors fire, dismantle, move and reassemble a pair of heavy guns in a contest of skill and dexterity.

Non-Fiction 1900 3 mins Silent


Filmed during the Second Boer War at Durban, South Africa, this film records a Royal Navy training session in which two groups of sailors compete to disassemble, reassemble and fire two 12-pounder field guns. This film showcases the remarkable speed and skill in which the troops take these machines apart, carry their various pieces, and reassemble them again for firing. These guns and the skills demonstrated here played an important role in the Second Boer War, particularly during the relief of the besieged town of Ladysmith.

Originating at this time, this competition became known as the Naval Field Gun Run and inspired a famous naval contest that became an integral part of the Royal Tournament, born a few years later in 1907.