Tam the Gun. (Part 1 of 3)

Edinburgh’s one o’clock gun has been a part of everyday life (except Sunday’s) since 1861. Late in the 90’s I asked Staff Sergeant Thomas McKay if I could photograph him firing the one o’clock gun, he kindly agreed. ‘Tam’ was the District Gunner ¬†with the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery from 1979 until 2005. During that time he was responsible for the daily firing of the one o’clock gun and was the longest-serving holder of the post.

Here he is cleaning the breech mechanism, you only get one chance a day so everything has to be right.

At that time the gun used was the 25 pounder howitzer, brought into service in 1940 it was probably the most outstanding field artillery piece used by the British and Commonwealth forces in the Second World War.

Servicing the weapon was part of Tam’s duties.

Keeping the gun in working order and looking good wasn’t the only thing Tam had to work on, got to ‘bull’ those boots to get a good shine!

Using the speaking clock to make sure he has the correct time, to the second.

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