Yeovilton Brickwoods Field Gun team
A gritty public run of HMS Heron Field Gun Crew at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton sees a supremely fit and driven team ready to face 20 crews from across the Military Services in the annual Field Gun Run at HMS Collingwood on Saturday 1 June 2013.
Lining their route a cheering crowd vocalising plenty of encouragement watched as a crew of 18 Running Members demonstrated that their hard work has paid off. Under the watchful eye of the first trainer Petty Officer Gavin ‘Dolly’ Parton the crew have been training for 3 hours a day over 6 weeks to produced an outstanding entry for this years historical competition.
Lieutenant (Lt) Mike Harris, the Field Gun Officer said “this is an extreme demonstration of fitness, commitment and above all courage. My team have displayed the utmost dedication in their application of the drills to give them an excellent chance of bringing the silver wear back to HMS Heron. Support from the families and Crew is imperative to help them achieve their best time ever. We won in 2000, 2002 and 2011 coming runners up in 2006 and 2012. Last year there was just a finger nail in it!”
The origins of the field gun competition in the Royal Navy stems from the gallant action fought during the Boer War when guns from HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful were despatched from Durban to assist in the relief of the 119-day siege of Ladysmith. 280 Bluejackets of the naval brigade manhandled the guns across rugged terrain under arduous conditions to the front line in time to check the Boer advance. The siege was finally lifted on the 28th February 1900.
To commemorate this action the Brickwoods (a former Brewery in Portsmouth) Trophy was first competed for on 28th August 1907 involving 17 men moving the gun across a 75 yard course negotiating a 5 foot high obstacle. Today the 18 strong crew compete over 85 yards, designed to simulate the drill at Ladysmith.
This trophy is still fiercely fought for today and this year 21 crews will compete in the Royal Navy Field Gun Competition at HMS Collingwood on Sat 01 June.
Lt Mike Harris said “HMS Heron has a rich pedigree in the Field Gun Competition which draws upon the finest traditions of the Royal Navy which requires a mixture of discipline strength, skill and courage. This season the crew will be manned by a mixture of seasoned veterans and newcomers whose sights are set on first.”