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Victorian Naval Forces Muster

for the Colony of Victoria. (muster range 1853-1910)*


Last Name:Blair
First Name:John Erskine
Rank:Chief Gunner
Birth Date: 15-11-1854
Branch:Victorian Navy


 John Erskine Blair

Chief Gunner


 photographed in 1900


Gunner Blair served on HMVS Cerberus.


died: 29-8-1936


Listed in the Victorian Defence Forces List, Naval Branch, 1 January 1890.

Men of the Victorian Naval Forces at the Wedding of Commander Heath and Elizabeth (Bessie) Catherine Simson on 21 January 1891.
Gunner John Blair standing on the far left with Gunner Cardigan Dann standing second from the left & Lieut. Heath seated third from left.
In the centre of the middle row, marked with an X is Chief Engine Room Artificer Charles Allard.

Photo courtesy of John Perryman, Senior Naval Historical Officer at the Sea Power Centre - Australia.
Click image for hi-res version




Yesterday morning lorries were engaged at the Williamstown Torpedo Depot transferring between 300 and 400 shells, obsolete ammunition of H.M. Cerberus, to a Melbourne foundry to be "melted down." The ancient Cerberus is now out of commission, and will probably shortly go to the "scrap heap." Chief Gunner Blair pointed out that there were several different types of shells in tlie consignment. A steel shell was one. Its total weight full charged would be 400 lb. Its propelling agent represented 46¾ lb. of gunpowder. Its special use was for bombardment purposes. Other types were the "Paliser" and shrapnel. The latter was mainly used against boats. Filled with leaden shot, and having a small bursting charge to allow of the emission of its contents, this shell would wreak havoc where crowds of men were gathered.

The Argus, 10 November 1909



Brother of Chief Petty Officer Samuel James Blair (Victorian Navy).

* 1853 is given as the commencement date for the Victorian Navy as this is the year that Commander Lockyer (RN) went to Britain to superintend the building of HMCS Victoria.
Although the Victorian Navy ended in 1901 the career of Cerbeus etc continued. In 1910 the new ships started arriving & manning levels increased.

Information & photographs of men who served in the Victorian Naval Forces is eagerly sought. Please contact the webmaster.