Taking On A Navy Tradition: Akrotiri Team Set For Field Gun Competition

The field gun competition is usually regarded as the preserve of the Royal Navy.

The annual Brickwoods Field Gun Competition is usually regarded as the preserve of the Royal Navy but this year a team of airmen and soldiers from RAF Akrotiri are preparing to take it on.

The competition is fast and furious and requires a crew of 18 gunners to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire an antique field gun in the shortest possible time.

Held annually at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, the tournament has its roots in the Boer War, when naval guns were transported cross country for more than a hundred miles to end the siege of Ladysmith in 1899.

Field Gun Challenge

Tom Sheehan, who spent 38 years as a Naval submariner and is now a reservist, has been passing on his decades of field gun experience:

"I got the bug early on and it's one of those sports you either like or you don't, but everyone I know who's ever taken part in it wants to do it again.

"It needs a very precise technique and training to do it well - and safely."

One of the biggest challenges for the Akrotiri team was finding a gun and transporting it to Cyprus. 

Arriving in pieces, it required some heavy lifting to assemble, with the whole carriage weighing more than a tonne.

Field Gun Challenge

Wing Commander Chris Brown, the team's organiser says:

"An 18 man team and what I love about it is everyone's got their job, more than football or rugby where one outstanding player can carry a team.

"No, anyone gets it wrong, the whole thing grinds to a halt and you lose momentum."

The team now have some last minute training before traveling to HMS Collingwood for year's Brickwood Field Gun competition on 2 June.