Culdrose Field Gunners ready to run
HMS Seahawk Field Gun Crew are back stronger than ever ready to challenge for the Trophy at this years Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charities Field Gun Championships at HMS Collingwood, near Portsmouth.
They started training back in February at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose with over thirty potential crew members turning up to try out. They were put through their paces twice daily with punishing training sessions devised by, Leading Physical Training Instructor James “Besty” Best, the Crew PTI. A few dropped by the wayside but most made it and this year the No. 1 Trainer, CPO John "Jumper" Collins was in the enviable position of having 28 of the finest sailors and airmen at the West Cornwall Air Base from which to pick his strongest crew of 18.
Consisting of approximately a 50/50 mix of veterans and new blood the crew commenced their track training with gun and limber in April. They very quickly got to grips with the drill and in no time were stringing together complete runs. Their fastest time to date is 1 minute 23 seconds clean with most runs averaging around the 1 min 24 secs - 1 min 25 secs mark. They expect this will improve by at least one to two seconds when they get to the track at HMS Collingwood and can train without distractions from their day jobs.
“There is a real feeling of quiet confidence about the crew this year,” said Crew Captain, Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Turner, who has run Eight times for Seahawk and refuses to run for any other crew. “This is the most confident he has ever felt about a Field Gun Competition”.
The Field Gun Officer, Lieutenant Commander Dave Quaite who is in his third year as Seahawk's boss said, "I expect big things from the crew this year, they have trained hard and well. Whilst I don't want to speculate too much about their chances I think that they will be marching out at 1445 on the Saturday afternoon ready to run in the final."
HMS Seahawk’s Field Gun Crew is raring to get to Collingwood and have the bit between their teeth. They have picked themselves up from the disappointment of last year's final and are ready to put themselves at the pinnacle of the finest body of men and women in the RN; the Royal Navy Field Gunners!