Instructions for the Inspector of Target Practice

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Instructions for the Inspector of Target Practice at the Admiralty.


Instructions for the Inspector of Target Practice.

Their Lordships have decided to appoint an officer whose sole duty will be to advise them in respect of all aiming and target practice, and the use of instructional appliances leading up to target practice. His functions will be advisory and consultative, and not executive.

2. He is to have under his consideration all questions relating to aiming and target practice, and the use of instructional plant supplied for the purpose of teaching officers and men to load and fire guns, both as they affect the service afloat and naval and marine gunnery establishment on shore; and he is to submit any proposals or observations he may wish to make to the Secretary of the Admiralty through the local Commanders-in-Chief, the various fleets and squadrons as he may be directed, for the purpose of observing the gunnery practices and firings carried out by them, and when possible he is to be present at the annual gun-layers’ competitions and battle firings.

3. After witnessing the practice of each fleet or squadron he is to draw up his report thereon, suggesting improvements where he can, especially in connection with the utilization of the present fittings to the best advantage and with due regard to economy. This report he is to submit to the Commander-in-Chief concerned, who will forward it to the Admiralty with his observations.

4. It is to be distinctly understood that the appointment of this officer will in no respect whatever relieve the Commanders-in-Chief from their responsibility as to the gunnery efficiency of their fleets or squadrons. The Inspector of Target Practice is to be regarded in the light of an expert adviser, who necessarily have very great experience through witnessing the practice of the different fleets. His visits to training establishments and seagoing ships are in no way to be regarded in the light of inspections; they will be paid with the main object of ensuring similarity of methods of instruction as regards the loading and firing of guns, and of giving one fleet or squadron the benefit of the experience or contrivances of another at the earliest possible moment.

5. At the end of each year the Inspector of Target Practice will compile a confidential return of all gun-layers’ competitions and battle firings carried out by the fleet, and forward them to the Admiralty with his remarks attached separately. He will also compile and forward a return in a convenient form for publication, omitting such details as it is not for the interest of the public service should pass into the hands of foreign navies.

6. As regards reserve and coastguard training and firing practices, he is to submit through the Admiral Commanding Coastguard and Reserves any proposals he may wish to make.

7. In regard to the Royal Marine Establishments, he is to bear in mind the importance of marine gunnery training being kept on exactly the same lines as naval gunnery training, and he is to arrange with the Deputy Adjutant-General to visit the different establishments and, in consultation with the Colonels Commandant, advise how this homogeneity can be best maintained.

8. Annual proposals for additions or to alteration of existing gunnery drill plant in training establishments for inclusion in the Annual Estimates are to be referred to the Inspector of Target Practice for he remarks before submission to the Admiralty.

9. The headquarters of the Inspector of Target Practice will be at Portsmouth, where an office will be appropriated for his use.

10. The efficient performance of these important duties will call for great care and tact. The main object of the officer appointed should be to co-operate with the senior officers concerned in endeavouring to make individual improvements become general improvements, to assist their Lordships, from personal observation, in regulating the expenditure of practice ammunition to the best advantage and in arriving at and maintaining such a systematic form of training and practice in shooting as will ensure gunnery efficiency being kept at the highest possible standard and the best value being obtained for the money annually expended for this purpose.

By command of their Lordships.

Evan MacGregor.

Admiralty, March 1905.[1]


  1. The National Archives. ADM 144/20. f. 11.