Fierce field gun crews thrill the crowds as navy opens its doors

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BENEATH blazing sunshine, field gun runners pounded the concrete before cheering crowds.

Teams took part in the annual field gun tournament at an action packed open day at HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth Field Gun Crew ''Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (150606-0062)

The HMS Queen Elizabeth Field Gun Crew ''Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150606-0062)

Men and women from the Royal Navy, army and RAF put months of intense training into practice in a bid to win a prestigious prize – and bragging rights.

And after a tense and thrilling final it was HMS Heron which broke the record during the timed run to cross the line with no penalties to regain the coveted Brickwoods trophy, which they last won in 2013.

Collingwood’s commanding officer, Captain Andy Jordan, said: ‘It’s a naval tradition going back over a hundred years but we had 22 teams competing from across the different services which is great to see.’

The day marked the first time the ship’s company from HMS Queen Elizabeth, the navy’s new aircraft carrier, put up a crew.

Fun at the show

Fun at the show

Warrant Officer Mick Ellison put the team through their paces before the tournament.

He said: ‘I am very proud of them, it was a proud moment to see all hard work put into practice.’

Other attractions on the day included a classic car show, performances from the Solent Dog Display Team, a diving tank simulation and a warship simulator.

Capt Jordan added: ‘It was a wonderful day. It’s good for us to show off what we do here and to support local and naval charities.’

fun at the show

fun at the show

Visitors also got to tour a building storing weapons and look inside a Merlin helicopter.

Phil Beacham, the commanding officer of 829 Naval Air Squadron enjoyed the day with his wife Sophie and two daughters Olivia and Matilda.

He said: ‘The girls absolutely enjoyed the day, they had a fascination with everything – including the 
helicopter.’

Commanding Officer of 829 NAS based at RNAS Culdrose, Lt Cdr Philip Beacham, 44, with his daughter Matilda, one, in his arms and his wife Lt Sophie Beacham, 34, with daughter Olivia, three  ''Picture:  Malcolm Wells (150606-2690)

Commanding Officer of 829 NAS based at RNAS Culdrose, Lt Cdr Philip Beacham, 44, with his daughter Matilda, one, in his arms and his wife Lt Sophie Beacham, 34, with daughter Olivia, three ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (150606-2690)