Sheer hell, but to win for Portsmouth was the ‘conquest of paradise’

The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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Today’s piece is all about these photographs... and a film.

Readers might recall a recent selection of pictures of Portsmouth field gunners in action.

Another limber through the wall

Another limber through the wall

They were among about 20 sent to me by Patricia Byng, of Milton, Portsmouth, who discovered them in the back of a cupboard. They come with no details about the year(s) or the names of any of the men. Today I’m publishing more in the hope someone can help.

Meanwhile, after my first piece Bob Ralph got in touch and pointed me in the direction of a marvellously stirring film of the Portsmouth field gun crew in action in 1969.

One minute and four seconds into the footage you see his late father Reg who was the crew’s trainer.

Bob says his father, who died last year, ran in the 1949, 1954, 1957 and 1960 races and was trainer in 1968, 1969, 1972 and 1973.

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140710-142811001

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140710-142811001

Have a look at the film at and as Bob says: ‘The combination of the black and white film with Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis says it all...’