SCRAMBLING over a field gun course requires plenty of strength and muscle.
And these new recruits showed crowds they have it all at the annual Junior Leaders Field Gun competition.
Similar to the Royal Navy Field Gun competition, the junior event saw young people aged between 18-25 racing for the best score at HMS Collingwood, in Fareham, yesterday.
All of the competitors are either new recruits to the armed forces or apprentices at companies including Network Rail and BAE Systems.
Other crews came from colleges including Portsmouth College, Highbury College and Fareham College.
Liam Dalton, 17, who is studying uniformed services at Fareham College, said: ‘It went really well for us.
‘It was hard work but we all had a good time and it was worth the effort.
‘We only had five days to practise but you can pick it up quite quickly.
‘It was really good fun and I’m glad I did it.’
The trainees were competing to carry a field gun and its equipment twice across an 85-yard course in the shortest time.
They had to stop and fire three shots from the gun at halfway.
The young crews got their first chance to handle the field guns at the start of a five-day intensive training programme where they learned the skills needed to race up and down the course.
Paige Osborne, 16, from Fareham College, said: ‘It’s great because it really gets the adrenaline pumping and you feel like you’ve achieved something afterwards.
‘It was quite tough but we’re pleased with how we did.
‘It was a good experience and I can’t recommend it enough for other schools and colleges to take part in.’
Family, friends and teachers cheered the crews on as they took part in a number of heats before the final race.
Gill Sommers, director of applied studies at Fareham College, said: ‘I’ve really got the bit between my teeth now and hopefully we could enter two teams next year.
‘It’s the first time we have taken part in this event.
‘It’s just fantastic for the students to be involved in something like this.’
Two crews from Network Rail won the main final in first and second place with a team from RAF Cosford, in Shropshire, coming third.
Runners from BAE Systems, Gosport’s HMS Sultan and a third Network Rail crew came fourth, fifth and sixth.
The field gun competition is a tribute to the Royal Navy’s involvement in the relief of Ladysmith during the Boer War in 1900.
Guns from HMS Powerful were hauled to Ladysmith by the ship’s Naval Brigade to defend the town against the Boer attack.