The Gibraltar Field Gun Crew have been putting the finishing touches to months of training, ahead of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity Field Gun Competition held at HMS Collingwood in Hampshire.
Forces Radio BFBS Reporter Emily Loxton paid them a visit to find out how they’re getting on. You can hear from the crew in the clip below.
The competition will take place on June 1 and will feature crews from across the UK and beyond, all of them competing for the coveted Brickwoods Trophy.
Fast and furious, a field gun race requires crews of 18 gunners to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire an antique field gun in the shortest possible time. Strength, stamina and teamwork are essential for the challenge.
Emily Loxton joined the crew for a track training session held next to the Tower at Gibraltar’s HM Naval Base.
She spoke to AB Tinker, who works at Windy Hill Signal Station and runs one of the pins for the crew and sometimes fills in for the “Speedy Bullet” number.
“Some sessions can be quite gruelling especially with the heat, but overall it’s a really good atmosphere, morale’s really high all the time and everyone just enjoys getting stuck in together.”
“I’ve always wanted to take part in it since being in the Navy.”
Despite being injured in the lead up to last year’s event, Chief Petty Officer Harry O’Callaghan is back representing Gibraltar again this year.
“I got hit in the leg by the gun as it unlimbered and it took me out and then the gun wheel ran over my ankle. That put me out of action for the rest of the competition … I’ve decided it’s something I’ve got to finish."
One extra logistical problem the Gibraltar Crew have to deal with is the fact that they have to send the gun back to the UK two weeks before they leave themselves. This year the gun was flown back by an RAF aircraft.
Gibraltar's No.1 Field Gun Trainer POPT Kelly Gooch thinks her crew are ready to compete:
“We’re getting there … they’re putting in the effort and hopefully no severe injuries yet, hopefully not any.”
The crew have also been busy raising funds for the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and hosted a charity breakfast morning at The Tower.
Forces Radio BFBS will have all the latest from the RNRMC Field Gun Competition held at the HMS Collingwood Open Day on Saturday June 1.