British Firing Keys
A Firing Key is an electrical trigger, often in the form of pistol grip hand-held or affixed to a gun which fires the gun, a charge or a torpedo.
The British used a variety of firing keys during the war. The following data is taken from the sources in the bibliography section.
This was in use by 1905, and was to be superseded by the Pattern 2333 from 1908 on. It is, however, still mentioned in 1912. It was used for firing torpedoes and creeping.
It was fitted on a wooden base, 6 inches square and a half inch thick. It is not clear that it was a pistol grip and the key may have been a push lever.
This was a pistol grip key that would be fixed to a weapon, generally used on the main firing circuit for a gun, and also on the auxiliary firing circuits of guns larger than 6-in. When used on both main and aux, the handle of the aux firing key would be roughened to distinguish it. By 1912, the newest mountings had triggers built directly into their elevating wheel. This may have been what is described as a "modified Pattern 1547".[Inference]
This was a hand-held pistol grip key, generally used on auxiliary firing circuits of guns 6-in and smaller.
A hand-held pistol grip key for torpedoes and some auxiliary gun circuits. It may have, around 1912, been a replacement in the second role, for the Pattern 1548. In 1912, it was being used as the aux firing key for
- 6-in guns on P. II, II, and IV mountings
- 12-pdr guns IV and IV*
It featured a safety bolt which ensure it could not be worked unless this were moved. A means of locking the bolt when the key was hung on a wall caddy was also provided.
In 1912, there are allusions made to "special patterns" of firing key for
- 6-in B.L. Mark XI on P. VI mountings
- 4-in guns on P. II and P. II* mountings
- 12-pdr guns on P. I mountings
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1905 (Corrected to December, 1904). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1908 (Corrected to December, 1907). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London Torpedo Drill Book, 1912 (Corrected to April, 1912). Copy in Tony Lovell's library.
- H.M.S.O., London (1914). Torpedo Drill Book, 1914 (Corrected to May 15) Copy in Tony Lovell's library.