Naval Aviator is Clay Pigeon Top Shot!
Lieutenant Ed Holland, a helicopter warfare instructor from 824 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has won the team gold medal in a recent international clay pigeon shooting competition.
The 50th European Championships for FITASC (extreme sporting clay pigeon discipline), took place at Lulworth Castle in Dorset over four windy days from 8 -11 June. For this event, the International Committee inaugurated an annual “Government Service” team competition. With entries from across UK, Hungary, Czech Republic and Austria, the Royal Navy took all three podium places.
Over the four days of competition, the participants had to fire 50 shots each day from different locations around the estate. The rules governing this type of clay pigeon shooting mean that they must hold the shot gun below chest height and only bring it to eye level once the clay is visible.
The European Championships saw competitors of all ages ranging from 16 to 84, men and women and a diverse range of nationalities. Some of the competitors were ex Olympians and World Champions. It gave the competitors an ideal chance to meet and mix with other military personnel from all over Europe and Ed hopes that their paths will cross again in an operational setting soon.
Ed has enjoyed clay pigeon shooting for many years. Before joining the Royal Navy he shot at county level. He is one of the organisers of the Culdrose Clay Pigeon Shooting club which has around twenty five members who shoot at Predannack airfield. They also run grass roots sessions where anyone can have a go for a small payment to cover the costs of the clays and cartridges.
Next up for the Navy team is a series of inter – services competitions. The prison service host the next event in July in Staffordshire.
Ed says taking part in clay pigeon shooting “engenders great team spirit, you get to meet people from all over Europe and other parts of the UK, as well as forge friendships that may prove useful in future operations”.