Tomorrow’s open day at HMS Collingwood is sure to go off with a bang – many times over!
A fast and furious field gun contest will be a highlight of the festival, which takes place at the Royal Navy’s training base in Fareham.
Teams of 18 men and women are coming from as far away as Gibraltar to take part in the competition, in which they have to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire field guns in the shortest possible time.
Petty Officer Shaun Gibbs, 35, says: ‘Field gun teaches you all the things the navy is good for – discipline, camaraderie and team spirit.
‘It’s challenging but it is good fun.’
Heats will start at 9.30am and run through the day, building up to the final – for the Brickwood Trophy – at 2.45pm.
It’s challenging but it is good fun.Shaun Gibbs
There will plenty of other things to see and do at the open day, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Hampshire-based re-enactment group Deeds of Arms will bring to life famous battles from the past.
This year, they will dress as 19th century Royal Navy sailors and put on a re-enactment the Battle of Trafalgar for the first time.
The navy’s only and official parachute display team, the Raiders, plan to drop in around 3pm.
The Solent District Dog Training Club will be showing off their canines’ agility intelligence and obedience skills.
Other highlights will include falconry displays, dancing, a Big Noise Samba Band, the Military Wives Choir and Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Concert Band.
A ‘village fayre’ will be set up near the main entrance where visitors can buy everything from rum cakes to crafts.
There will also be plenty of rides and games to keep the whole family busy, from bouncy castles to a challenging high ropes course.
Gates open at 9.30am and there is free parking and free buses running to and from the field from Gosport and Fareham bus and train stations.
Tickets on the gate are £10 for adults, £5 for children and OAPs and £25 for families, and there is a discount if you book in advance.
Visit royalnavy.mod.uk/Collingwood-Openday for more information.