Field gun crews off with a bang racing in heat

HARD GRAFT Collingwood Cadets who won the Cadet Field Gun competition. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131483-7)
HARD GRAFT Collingwood Cadets who won the Cadet Field Gun competition. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131483-7)
The new commanding officer of HMS Collingwood, Captain Rob Vitali. Picture: Keith Woodland/MoD

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THOUSANDS of people poured through the gates of HMS Collingwood to enjoy family fun and see the final day of a field gun competition.

The open day on Saturday saw people enjoy a free funfair, a countless number of stalls – and the major event of the day.

The 21 crews, 18 men apiece, raced in heats, with HMS Excellent and the reigning champions from HM Naval Base Portsmouth coming in second and third, both recording times just over 1min 22seconds.

RNAS Yeovilton – known as HMS Heron – won first place, taking just over a minute and 19 seconds to complete the course.

LPT Robert Sanderson – or Sandy to his sailor friends – was on the HMNB crew.

He was on the winning team last year and broke the record back in 2011.

He said: ‘We had a shaky day to start with on Friday but we got faster and faster – the same happened this morning.

‘On Friday you got more of a crowd and it ramps up because it’s the open day as well.

‘It is a good feeling, especially when you go out for the final, which will be the fourth time for me now.’

He said he would not be able to take part next year as he is moving to a new post.

Susie Templeton, 29 and Bobby Tait, 41, work at HMS Sultan, in Gosport, and were with civil servant Gemma Smith, 41, who is on a course there.

They were there cheering the establishment’s two teams with Bobby’s children, Emily, seven and Cameron, nine.

n More pictures from the Open Day are on page 27