Life at Sea, Part 1: The Gunner

    Aboard ship, there were few as important as the gunner in the heat of battle. The gunner commonly had come up through the Haw'see hole (come up from ordinary seaman) to become a gunroom officer (Chief Petty Officer in modern terms). The Gunner was in charge of all guns and armaments on a man o' war. He was required to have the special skill of being able to aim cannon on a pitching and rolling deck in the heat of battle.

    The gunner trained the individual gun crews, and during a battle acted as a kind of supervisor, ensuring that all the guns were functioning properly and were not in danger of harming the ship (rupturing, exploding etc...).

    As the age of sail ended, the post of "Gunner" as a warrant evolved into a commissioned rank, that of gunnery officer, who was in charge of sighting and maintaining the great guns of the Royal Navy's battleships. Today, the role is reprised by Gunnery Chief Warrant Officer's in the Royal Navy, who do much of their work electronically.