a Steve Johnson Cyberheritage "content over style" web page.

Steve Johnson is a 1997 winner of the Devon Heritage Award for excellence in outreach education.

"Cyberheritage" is the 'net world centre of free historical education for all

The Navy and Army Illustrated was a publicly available periodical published from the late 19th century to early 20th.

Many thanks are due to the Local Studies and Naval History sections of Plymouth Central Library where these fine originals are kept for public inspection. Please enjoy these images that show insights into military life and how in those far off days, the sheer size of the army and navy made their influence into everyday life unavoidable.

Much fun is still locally here in Plymouth poked at sailors - "all the nice girl`s love a sailor etc." - but what have we here!? In those distant days, ship`s crews, and other military types ,could be away from the comfort of home and the company of wives, mothers and girlfriends for anything up to 3 years, so they had a lot of time on their hands. What did our "Jack" get up to? Amateur dramatics were popular, later on in service lore these became known as "SODS" operas - "ship`s own dramatic society" and were arranged by the government body "ENSA" - every night something awful" this is called "fun on board" and we have in 1896 a midshipman playing the part of "TRILBY" and also a sub-lieutenant shows us his "SILENT DANCING" - hhmmm, interesting at least, have a look! The next year in 1897 we have a Grand Vizier and his son and a fellow known as "Pekoe`s Pal" aboard HMS Magnificent. Charming? To me whenever I hear Grand Vizier I think of Pink Floyd and that classic album "Ummagumma." 

There was a romanticism to life on board and the life and loves of Jolly Jack Tar. These photographic studies keep that alive. All are first rate high quality images that you will want to download and keep.


Jack grasping the skirts of circumstance. Things whispered in the single curiosity of the seaman ashore.

Saturday 8th. September 1900, vol. X, no. 188 Tommy Atkins: A SOLDIER RETURNS FROM THE WAR


TWO again!

Surely this Jack with his pipe in the cook house has just got to be every persons idea of what a Jack should look like. What would the Public Health johnies think of smoking in the kitchen today.


What smells must have filled the air in this Saddle-Tree maker`s shop of the 3rd. Dragoon Guards.

Sentry of Guards at the Tower of London "3rd. Grenadier Guards."

Publications such as Navy and Army helped mould young minds to think of King or Queen and Country, and their role in defending it; something that no longer happens.

Or it could be the romance of being "at the manoeuvres.", on board HMS Goliath, or perhaps the art and skill of the command "repel boarders" in 1896. Hope they are sticking to "Regulation Attitudes." Who is Jack signalling to? Can his love see it?

What is Jack dreaming of when he is asleep in his hammock otherwise known as "Jack`s four-poster."

This study of stokers is simply entitled "Spell oh."

Even fishery protection was a heavy weight job!

This Jack is having a quiet time by the searchlight or "Holophote" on HMS Imperieuse, while these Jacks are up to all sorts. This is called "Tars at Play." Here the gunnery crew of HMS Renown pose for a relaxed photo by their Maxim gun. Those at bases ashore had the benefits of home comforts and Cricket to relax with. Here we see the Senior Cricket Eleven of the Royal Naval Ordnance Dept. at Plymouth. This fine photo could have been taken either at The Royal William Yard, or R.N.A.D. Bullpoint, both places no longer functioning as intended, but Bullpoint is still used by the military for disaster relief exercises. In the frame are the "Mercury Cup" prize, a pile of 32lb. shot, two shells for the 111 ton naval gun, a maxim gun, and a 9pr. R.M.L. (rifled muzzle loading) gun.


All these images are 1896-99.

When you were away from home for a long time Christmas could be lonely, so you could send a card, woof, woof, !!! This one is from Wuhu? in Christmas 1898. Xmas was the subject of this study in a 1897 edition , showing a barrack room of the West Yorkshire Regiment.

Very often a service life was all in the family, sons following their fathers to serve into the delights of military life.

Here we see the "sons" of the "2nd. King`s Own" Royal Lancaster Regiment posing for us with Lt. Col. Crofton at the entrance of Tregantle Fort near Plymouth. This shot shows us their youngest and oldest, while this one is their football team. At the same location or possibly not very far away at the close by Scraesdon Fort we have 1st. Battalion of the Welch Regiment also posing for us and at play and generally mucking about as the "Boys of the Village."

Young boys, often orphans would work at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Here we see them packing small arms ammunition, sorting types and sizes, the final packing area, or stacking larger shells, making a "pattern" model...a real one of definitive design Gatling Gun, showing display sectioned ammunition in an Ammunition Room or making a huge Elswick disappearing mounting at the Royal Carriage Factory, the gun hides down low after firing to make it harder for the enemy to see where the incoming fire is originating.

Dressed in gleaming white these men are doing Hotchkiss gun drill on the spar deck battery on HMS Camperdown in 1896. Or there was always the hope of "teaching the young idea." It ain`t half hot mum! If the heat was too much , Jack could always report to the sick bay of HMS Warspite. Perhaps this diver of 1896 on HMS Camperdown can cool off. This soldier of the Sea Forth Highlanders with his 2 good conduct badges was probably feeling a little hot under the collar as well, as he waited for his kit inspection, or these men had to sweat too so as to get their barrack room this tidy. Does this new recruit for the Foot Guards really know what he is in for? Here we see some electrical artificers at work while this deck scene is more informal and relaxed with two dogs. Very posed and I expect technically very accurate from the drill book is this fine photo entitled "Sponge and Load." It shows a 9.2 inch B.L. (breech-loading ) gun of 22 tons that fires a 380lb. shell, with 170lb. of powder, at a muzzle velocity of 2,065 feet a second...being able to penetrate 19in. of simple armour. Also very accurate is this study of the drill in a gun turret when the guns are fired simultaneously remotely by electricity. This is known as "converged firing."

Life on board could be very luxurious...if you were an officer, or better still a Captain! Here we see a 1897 Captain`s cabin on HMS Theseus and Surprise. Mind you, being a Lieutenant on HMS Anson did not mean that you would have to slum it. The Ward Room was rather nice too. Both these two photos are on board HMS Bruiser. This Captain`s cabin has more plants in it than a good hotel foyer, or Kew Gardens even! However compared to an Admiral`s cabin, on HMS Renown, they are a little ordinary!

Are you a Scout? Yes, then you will have heard of Baden-Powell. He was a Major General at the time of the relief of Mafeking in the Boer war. When news of this victory a large firework display was held in London at the Crystal Palace. I bet you did not know however that a hobby of his was the design of table clothes, here are two, the lancer pattern and the polo pattern. Perhaps Baden-Powell would have seen sights such as this from Ladysmith.

By and large there are generally a lot of guns involved with a life in the services. Not all are this big! This is a High Angle gun of 1897.

It is a 9.2inch piece, needing a powder charge of 270lb. giving it a range of 12 miles with a maximum ceiling of the projectile of 16,000 feet and a flight time of one minute with a 382lb. Pallaiser projectile ( armour piercing with a cooled hardened tip).

High angle fire would give "plunging fire" designed to smash through the less well armour plated upper decks of ships, coming in at a steep angle from a great height above. This gun, a sort of very large machine gun is called a Nordenfelt gun and would be used against boarding parties, even though these were few and far between in these "modern times." These Long Lee Enfield .303 rifles and all the tools to go with them in an armourer`s shop of the King`s Shropshire Light Infantry, would be valuable antiques these days, yet then they would have been common place. Even more collectible are these naval signal lamps. At Bisley, the world famous rifle range, we see here the very young Master Hyde, the smallest boy to ever shoot full-bore there at 4 foot. He shot for Rugby. This naval person is getting quite comfortable as he settles down behind his brand new Maxim gun for a photo and a spot of target practice. This Maxim gun is fixed to the very latest Dunonald Gun carriage. Away from weapons, many of these tools in this chippies shop afloat are still in use today and many of the skills still alive.

Not a gun, but most certainly a weapon, and at this time it was one of the very latest, is the WHITEHEAD TORPEDO.

Ashore, artillery, field artillery was still the name of the game. It would be drill, drill, drill. Here it is the1st. Shropshire and Staffordshire Volunteer Artillery in 1897. This looks like a 16pr. R.M.L. field gun??

This looks like the Royal Horse Artillery, at the Royal Tournament, while this is a 9pr. R.M.L. field gun in a naval landing party, from HMS Camperdown; note the "iron sights." The gun seen here is a 12pr. field artillery piece of an unknown regiment. Horses too had to be trained, that is to lay down in the line of fire and act as cover for a dismounted Calvary man to shoot over it !! Seen here is just that with a Martini-Henry Carbine.

There is a lot of detail to see in this view looking to stern from the afterbridge of HMS Renown.