Navy crews battle it out for cup ahead of field gun contest

IN PREPARATION for this weekend's competition, two navy crews challenged each other in a field gun practice run.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 11:40 pm
Updated Monday, 18th June 2018, 11:52 pm
HMS Collingwood's field gun teams went head to head in the 12 pounder trophy. Picture: Keith Woodland

Crews A and B from HMS Collingwood did their first public run before the annual competition on Saturday.

Field Gun Officer, Lieutenant John Davies said: ‘This has been the first time many of the crews have run publicly and it gives them a good chance before Saturday to get used to the increased pressure.’

Both teams gave it their all in order to win the 12 Pounder Cup with Crew A lifting the trophy for being five seconds quicker than Crew B.

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HMS Collingwood's field gun teams went head to head in the 12 pounder trophy. Picture: Keith Woodland

Commanding Officer, Captain Rob Vitali congratulated both crews and wished them luck for the competition on Saturday which will see 22 teams from the navy, army and RAF run the 85-yard track twice over.

Elona Bythell joined the navy in November last year and has spent the last six weeks training with HMS Collingwood’s B crew for the event.

The 17-year-old said: ‘We have been training morning and evenings for this competition and as one of the only girls on the team I think it shows that girls can do it as well.

‘I would definitely encourage any girl to join up and give it a shot.’

HMS Collingwoods fieldgun teams went head to head in the 12 pounder trophy. This prelude to the actual competion see's HMS Collingwood A & B teams compete against each other in timed runs. Picture: Keith Woodland

Colleague Lauren Alton has been in the navy for 10 years.

The 29-year-old said: ‘All the boys look after me and I love being part of a crew.

‘I think we have what it takes to win.’

The field gun competition is steeped in history simulating the actions taken during the Battle of Ladysmith in 1900.

Field gun contests then started in Portsmouth and was moved to the naval establishment in Fareham in 1974.

Lt Davies said: ‘The field gun contest represents the Royal Navy’s ethos of loyalty as there are fingers and legs on the line and you have to be loyal to your team.’

Sam Weller has been taking part in field gun competition for the last four years.

The 20-year-old said: ‘I got involved through college and I really like taking part as it is all about teamwork and leadership.’

Fellow crew member Dan Appleby, 32, added: ‘We would not be here if we didn’t think we could win on Saturday.’

HMS Collingwood Open Day is on Saturday, June 2 from 9.30am with families able to participate in a variety of activities and watch the field gun crews compete for the Brickwoods Trophy.