Sailors in Portsmouth

These Royal Navy sailors are on HMS Excellent but it’s not a ship. In the early 1800s, a gunnery training school was established on board HMS Excellent moored near Portsmouth. The Navy then purchased nearby Whaley Island and, in the 1890s, moved the facility ashore. The training school is there today and is still called HMS Excellent, even though it is land-based. These sailors have, I suspect, been told to pose for the photographer and are playing dominoes, resting and chatting. At the time, the Royal Navy was active all over the world, protecting our Empire both from those who wanted to take it from us and our subjects who weren’t too keen to be British, and respite such as this would, I suspect, have been most welcome.

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