Devonport’s field gun competition team put on an impressive display of their skills to delight a crowd of supporters in the Naval Base.
The team gave their all in a full-bloodied physical effort for the public run rehearsal prior to the tri-service Brickwoods Field Gun Competition this Saturday (June 6) at the shore base HMS Collingwood, at Gosport, Fareham, Hampshire.
Continuing Devonport’s immensely proud field gun competition tradition which dates back to 1889, the public run provided the team with the opportunity for a full ‘dress rehearsal’ before departing for the hard-fought competition.
Flag Officer Sea Training, Rear Admiral Chris Snow, and the Naval Base Commander, Commodore Ian Jess joined naval base, dockyard staff and members of the public, including local school pupils, to cheer the team on and wish them the best of luck in the competition for the coveted trophy.
This year the Devonport crew consists of Royal Navy and Royal Marines, men and women, with a good mix of both veterans and new blood. The team are all volunteers, drawn from Devonport-based units and have been fitness training since March. Drilling in earnest with the gun began in mid-April and the culmination of all this hard training during the season is the competition itself.
Commander Steve Ward, Field Gun Officer, said: “The Field Gun crew very much appreciate the ongoing support of Naval Base personnel. They are also grateful to their sponsors, particularly Babacock, and are very much looking forward to the competition proper against the other 22 crews from all three armed services – the Army, RAF and Royal Navy – and teams from Naples and Gibraltar”
Commodore Jess said: “I, along with Rear Admiral Chris Snow and a healthy naval base crowd, very much enjoyed the field gun public run. I am looking forward to the 6 June competition and wish our crew all the very best of luck.”
Responding positively to the considerable noise generated by 120 children invited to watch the public run from Drake, Keyham Barton, Weston Mill and Ford Primary schools , the crew conducted a slow time demonstration followed by two full-speed runs.
Guided by the experienced hands of No one Trainer Chief Petty Officer Dave Cavill from Flag Officer Sea Training, Crew Captain Chief Petty Officer Jakie Foran from SMQ and Track Judge Warrant Officer 1 Dennis Collin from SMQ, the crew achieved both runs in 1:29; their best times yet and dipping under the psychological 1:30 barrier.