Military Life

Are Cyprus' Field Gun Crew Ready For Collingwood?

The team have been practising ahead of this weekends competition.

Dozens of military field gun teams are preparing to battle it out to win this year's Brickwood Trophy competition at HMS Collingwood in Portsmouth.

Amongst them is a team from British Forces Cyprus, who have only had three weeks to prepare.

They have been undergoing intensive training under the command of Lieutenant Tom Sheehan, a former Royal Navy submariner, who has had years of field gun experience. He said:

"I'm trying to drive them very hard all the time."

BF Cyprus Field Gun Credit BFBS 310519
The team practice for three hours a day under the Cyprus sun.

Lt Sheehan explains that the race begins with the team running towards the cart, known as the "limber", which they have to assemble together before they can move it across the ground:

"This simulates the action that was held during 1899 in the Boer War in Ladysmith, when the Navy turned up with some guns.

"They transported them overland to get to Ladysmith to literally relieve the siege - and we're just reenacting that."

The choreography of field gun is fast and very dangerous; if one person gets it wrong, it can cause an injury.

"There is a risk of people breaking down and also there is a fear as the kit is very heavy," Lt Sheehan said.

The gun barrel alone weighs 900lb.

Cyprus Field Gun British team Credit BFBS 310519
Some of the team members had never even touched a field gun before.

Last year, the team competed for the first time and the response was very positive, according to the field gun Captain, Sergeant Daniel Keegan.

"People were shouting 'come on, Cyprus'," Sgt Keegan said.

"This year I'm hoping that level of support is there again."

On Saturday, they are hoping to beat last year's efforts and make it to the top ten.