Mannequins of men taking a break

Parbuckling involved the use of wooden sledges in conjunction with wooden rails and rollers, planks, ropes and blocks and tackles. A Gyn (tripod) was situated at the top of the hill up which equipment was to be moved. This incorporated a windlass which was used to haul the load up the slope, and, when moved to the gun emplacement, used to lift a gun onto its final position. As the sledge moves up the slope, the rollers are moved from the rear to the front of the sledge. Soldiers of the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers would usually provide the muscle power for this operation, but they were often assisted by the local workforce.

Windlass and Gyn

Windlass and Gyn Securing the ropes FAR LEFT: A windlass and Gyn.

LEFT: How the Windlass pulley ropes would have been secured.

Once a load had been hauled up the slope, the tripod would be used to lift it from the sledge onto a cart or rollers to take it to its destination. There a tripod would lift guns etc. onto their positions. If these fixings, or a rope failed, the results of the failure can be easily imagined. Today, equipment can be lifted up to high places by helicopters, or winched up using modern powered equipment.

The Sledge

Gun barrel on the sledgeA 7-Inch RML Gun barrel on a sledge being hauled up Mount Siloso. The rails and rollers can easily be seen in this photograph.

Packing pieces are inserted between the rails and the ground. These were used to ensure that the rails were kept as straight as possible to ease the work.

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