British Naval Gunners Drinking Water Keg circa 1800

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is item Number 4 from the 8 piece marine collection IMA purchased in 2011 in England originating from a museum closure in 2003.

Well how good can it get? An iron bound Drinking Keg/Barrel just about 10-inches in length and about 7-inches across at the fattest point being held together by an iron hoop on each end and two around the body of the keg supporting an iron hinged carry handle. To the center an iron mouthpiece that clearly at one time had a wooden or cork stopper now long absent.

One end faintly stamped RAVISE in the wood the other end with a similar even fainter stamping plus what appears to be a BROAD ARROW marking.

On the body of the keg however is a polished silver plaque that reads:-

Gunners drinking water keg from His

Britannic Majesty's Ship TONNANT

That fought in the Great Victory

over the Combined Fleets of France

and Spain at the

BATTLE of TRAFALGAR 21st Oct. 1805

The silver plaque is well polished and the remains of years and years of silver polish is still evident around the plaque and trapped under the keg's iron hoops.


The Tonnant was an 80 gun Ship of the Line of the FRENCH NAVY and lead ship of the Tonnant Class. Admiral Nelson captured her at ABOUKIR BAY on August 1st 1798, later to become popularly known as THE BATTLE OF THE NILE.

The Royal Navy then took her into service as HMS TONNANT and she participated in "THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR during the Napoleonic Wars and was Flagship to Vice Admiral SIR ALEXANDER COCHRANE during most of the Campaign in the Chesapeake Bay during THE WAR OF 1812.

Most interesting of all, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY wrote the American National Anthem, THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER, while on the deck of H.M.S.TONNANT watching the British barrage on Baltimore! Official records tell us that the Ship was broken up, in other words scrapped, in 1821.


The key of course is, is it all TRUE?

Well the History is totally correct and can easily be verified. So is the Gunner's Water Keg original and was it really there?

This came to IMA 18 months ago in a small collection from a closed down English museum. We purchased it from a dealer with whom we have much business for many years most successfully.

Like Christian, IMA’s owner, this deal is English and we all know Englishmen will swear to almost anything. He has sworn to me his tale is 100% correct and has even given me some of the Museum details that were sold off about 2003.

The fact remains everything I purchased appears correct, looks correct and the information has all checked out so as the old saying goes it looks like a duck, maybe it is all true, but we will never know for sure.


The Napoleonic wars were highly treasured by the English of the period and many items of all types have been lovingly preserved, some of them just have to be right and from what we can see this small collection falls into that category. If only things could talk! Now you know as much as we do and can make your own assessment.

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