For drama, history and a fun family day out, don’t miss the HMS Collingwood Open Day
What requires near superhuman strength, ferocious speed and is rooted in military folklore? The answer to that particular question will take you all the way back to 1899.
The sailors of a Royal Navy brigade rowed ashore, dismantled and carried 12-pounder canons, or so the tale goes, over rugged terrain to help relieve the siege of Ladysmith during the Boer War. The heroic actions of these men ultimately helped saved the town’s garrison - and their phenomenal feat is now re-enacted every year.
This year, the Field Gun Competition is the centrepiece of HMS Collingwood’s annual Open Day in June. Crews from across the UK and as far afield as Gibraltar will be competing in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) for the chance to life the coveted Brickwoods Trophy – a magnificent award dating back more than 100 years.
The competition is a sight to behold, with 18-man teams ferociously battling it out to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire the 12-pounder gun in the shortest possible time.
Given the strength and stamina needed to compete, those lucky enough to be selected for their teams begin intensive training for the gruelling test in March.
Aside from the friendly competition on the field, the HMS Collingwood Open Day is all about fun and interaction, with exciting attractions and entertainment lined up. The Interactive Zone, for instance, will include getting up close to Royal Navy helicopters. There will also be a range of hands-on activities as well as a free fun fair for older children and age-appropriate activities and attractions for infants at the Toddler Zone.
Above all, the Open Day is a great opportunity to get to see behind the scenes at the Royal Navy.
If its ships aren’t administering humanitarian aid or helping to prevent conflicts, they are providing security at sea and promoting international partnerships with foreign countries. Many of the finest sailors and marines pass through the gates of HMS Collingwood, the largest training facility in the Royal Navy.
Visitors will get to experience this world-class training first-hand when parts of the base open up to visitors. Guests can even test their captain’s mettle by navigating a Navy ship into harbour on the Warship Bridge simulator.
Gates to the base will be open from 9.30am on Saturday, 2 June with a free bus shuttle operating twice per hour from Fareham and Gosport and back. For more information, visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/collingwood-openday
You can also buy your tickets in advance now at www.ticketzone.co.uk