HMS Collingwood will be opening its gates to the public on Saturday, 1 June, for an annual open day – including the popular Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) Field Gun Competition.
The fast and furious contest will feature more than 20 crews from across the UK and as far afield as Gibraltar, all competing for the coveted Brickwoods Trophy.
Teams of 18 have to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire an antique field gun in the shortest possible time; strength, stamina and teamwork are essential, and selected crew members start training for the challenge in March.
HMS Collingwood, in Newgate Lane, Fareham, is the Royal Navy's largest training establishment and also the headquarters of the Maritime Warfare School and Surface Stream.
The original HMS Collingwood was an 80-gun wooden man-o-war which was launched at Pembroke in 1841 with a crew of 750.
The present HMS Collingwood was built as a training establishment for 'hostilities only' ratings of the Seaman Branch. The land was bought in 1939 and, on 10 January, 1940, it was commissioned as HMS Collingwood under the command of a Commodore; training began a week later with batches of about 1,000 trainees joining every three weeks for a ten-week course.
During the open day, there will be the chance to see behind the scenes and find out more about its heritage and its current function: parts of the base will be open to visitors, allowing them to see the Royal Navy’s training equipment and experience training first-hand, navigating a ship into harbour on the Warship Bridge Simulator.
There will be plenty to keep the whole family entertained, with an Interactive Zone which includes hands-on activities, a high rope challenge and a display from The Rockets Children’s Motorcycle Display Team, a talented troupe of young boys and girls who astound audiences with their airborne stunts and formation riding.
Attractions for younger guests can be found in the Toddler Zone, while the older children can enjoy the free fun fair.
The highlight of the day, however, is sure to be the field gun contest, where crews will represent units of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines as well as the British Army and Royal Air Force.
They will be aiming to smash the present record held by HMS Collingwood of 1 minute and 18.88 seconds, which was set in 2001.
Gates will open at 9.30am and a free bus service will run twice an hour from Fareham and Gosport and back.
For more information, see HMS Collingwood
Tickets can be purchased online at www.ticketzone.co.uk