Magazine internal layout

My national service was in the army and I have no naval connections to ask about this.

Based since 1959 in Glasgow, I was fortunate in the '60's to learn that ex-ship's timber could be purchased from the ship breaking yard at Rhu (nr Helensburgh). The custodian/watchman was a funny chap who advised my friend and I to always ask for "battens". Doing so led to the opportunity to choose from a stock of teak of various dimensions and shapes, and it is about one of these that I wish to ask. At the time we were told that they were ex-naval magazine racks. Of various sizes up to about 4ft 6 in long x 9 in wide x 2 to 3 in thick. Each "batten" had cutouts near each end, forming what I always supposed were handholds and I imagined that these "battens" were slid into channels carried on uprights to form enclosures in which projectiles or cartridge-cases would stand.

Some of the larger pieces we bought were reportedly from HMS Vanguard and were used to construct a lean-to greenhouse. Others have been used in various guises around the house in other construction projects. All were first-class teak.

Despite reading many books about warship construction and touring HMS Belfast, I have never seen an account of the interior of a magazine (WWII vintage) to know with certainty how these pieces were actually used, and I would be grateful for any enlightenment. I will upload an image of the one remaining example of the largest size.

Among question in my mind are the following:

1. with smaller projectiles were multiple layers formed and how was each upper one floored?
2. were the enclosures generally square with multiple rows of projectiles or rectangular with one row?
3. where were the timbers placed when removed from their slots for access? (Imagine the damage that could be caused by one of the size illustrated in a rolling /pitching vessel!)
4. was mechanical handling equipment available? Presumably essential for larger shells!

This seems unlikely to be classified information, and I will be most grateful to anyone who explains how things were arranged, settling a question that has lingered in my mind for over 50 years.

Thanks in advance.


Bernie, clag on to You Tube, and punch in "Ammunitioning Ship". At 16.25, 17.00 and 18.35 you will see some of the battens you mention. Your batten may have been used to separate layers of shells.
Onions - thank you for that, which shows planks being used as "shelf-stoppers" but they do not have cut-out handholds (or need them) which means that the type of plank I am interested in must be used differently, piled one on top of another to form a walled bin. It is the dimensions/shapes of the bins in relation to the projectile contents that most interest me, as well as what is done with the larger "planks" when projectiles are being served to the guns.

I still cannot visualise the layout within a magazine for e.g. 15 inch shells.

Dhobyitch - thank you for the link; I did not know of that museum, which should be ideal for answering my question, but they have not so far responded to a query posted via their web page's message function.
Apologies to the museum, which has now responded; I was hasty in reporting no response. In fact they were as rapid as is reasonable and I await a substantive answer when the lady concerned has done searching.
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