Thursday 24 April: Branch Visit

Annual Branch Visit

visit to the Defence Capability Centre at Shrivenham

This year’s branch visit was a guided tour including the Gun Shed, the Tank Shed at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. The tour of the military vehicles and hardware has always been one of the highlights at the prizegiving for our Oxfordshire Schools Web Competition, so we were delighted that branch members have had a chance to see it for themselves.

Small Arms armoury

An added bonus was the visit to the unique collection in the Small Arms Armoury. In a very small space it houses a vast range of small arms from Britain and around the world throughout the ages, mostly in working order and regularly fired.

We started with an introduction to the Brown Bess musket, which was standard equipment in the British army for over 100 years, from the early eighteenth century till it was superseded in the early nineteenth.

We learned why the Brown Bess had a larger bore than the French muskets (so we could use their ammunition but not vice versa), the origins of the phrases "half-cock" and "flash in the pan" and why infantry were not allowed to wear full beards.

Small Arms armoury