SAILORS have started a 56-mile forest march with a field gun to replicate the famous ‘yomp’ carried out during the Falklands War.
The Royal Navy team, from HMS Sultan in Gosport, is commemorating the journey Royal Marines made in 1982 from San Carlos to Port Stanley.
Yomping through the roads and lanes of the New Forest with a field gun will take the team around two and a half days.
The sailors are doing the march to raise money for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).
They set off from Lepe Beach in the New Forest yesterday.
Leading Air Engineering Technician Steve Church, of 764 Initial Training Squadron at HMS Sultan, is one of the organisers of the charity march.
He said: ‘Lots of personnel had to drop out at the last minute because of operational commitments, so the team dwindled rapidly.
‘However, we are confident we will be able to cover ground quickly on the longer open stretches of road.
‘It’s bound to take its toll massively on the guys’ legs and feet.’
The sailors travelled yesterday afternoon by landing craft to Lepe Beach.
There they heaved the heavy field gun up the sand and shingle to the road to begin the challenge.
The first stages of the march will see them pull the field gun through National Park land and the roads and lanes of the New Forest.
The challenge will finish at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu on Sunday.
Chief Petty Officer Dan McCormack, a senior instructor at HMS Sultan, said: ‘Being part of the Royal Navy these guys know how to pull together as a team and have shown great team spirit and dedication in training.
‘The team are very fit and robust so I’m sure they’ll smash the 56 miles.
‘They’ll be spurred on by the fact they will be raising money for the RNRMC, a charity close to all our hearts.’
Yomping is a Royal Marines term meaning a long trek carrying full kit.
It came into common use following the Falklands War, where Royal Marines from 40 Commando yomped with their equipment across the islands. They covered the 56 miles in three days.
The HMS Sultan field gun team will be carrying out displays in various Diamond Jubilee events later in the year to continue to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Falklands.