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Junior field gunners prepare for unique challenge

8 July 2016
A driven team of trainee engineering technicians from HMS Sultan have been pushing all boundaries, as they prepare for the challenge that awaits them in the Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition.

This year’s Junior Leaders Field Gun crew is made up of hopeful trainees from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE).

After spending 3 days training on the Parade Ground at HMS Sultan, the crew are now heading over to take part in further training and the competition at HMS Collingwood.

Hot on the heels of the Seniors Challenge which took place on Saturday 4 June, HMS Collingwood will host the annual Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition on Friday 8 July. 

The competition is very similar to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Field Gun, but is predominantly for youths aged 16-24, who have either only recently joined the Armed Forces or have just begun apprenticeships with major commercial organisations. 

This year in addition to the Armed Forces crews, teams will compete from the Princes Trust, local Colleges, Sea Cadet units and University Technical Colleges across the country.   

Building on The Team Works and emphasising the training theme, the teams are currently training for the competition, and after just one week the finals will take place on Friday in front of friends and family and personnel across the base.

The Field Gun competition requires commitment courage and discipline and it’s also a lot of fun

Lieutenant Gavin Lumsden, No 1 Trainer for HMS Sultan

The Junior Leaders Challenge is the only competition open specifically for new recruits and youths, offering them a chance to work as a team and challenge themselves in a unique setting.  

It is hoped that the enthusiasm and professionalism on display by the teams will encourage them to take part in the main Royal Navy Field Gun Competition in future years.  

Number 1 Trainer for HMS Sultan, Lieutenant Gavin Lumsden said: “The Field Gun competition requires commitment courage and discipline and it’s also a lot of fun.” 

“The Sultan Crew has a mix of guys running, from those starting out to those nearing the end of their technical training at Sultan. The Field Gun training has seen them all come together as one.” 

“As a Crew we’re aiming to make the top five, so we can make the final, and hopefully challenge to go on and bring some silverware home.” 

Amongst the Crew members is Fareham sailor Engineering Technician Marine Engineering Owen Harris, who at 33 has been given a special concession to take part. A late starter in the Royal Navy, Owen decided to join after a life changing holiday in Turkey and he was thrilled to be taking part in the competition. 

He said: “A few years ago I returned to work after a really good holiday. I was doing some basic admin on a spread sheet and thought, do I really want to be doing this in twenty years? I decided from that moment that I wanted a change and went on to join the Navy.”

“I loved training at Raleigh and, although I was a little older, I didn’t really notice the difference between myself and the other trainees. Now I’m getting a proper thrill from taking apart diesel engines and putting them together again and I really do feel like I’m living the dream every day.”

“Fareham is a great place and my mum and my grandparents will be at the Junior Leaders Competition at HMS Collingwood. I’m really chuffed to be involved, there’s something special about taking part and making people proud.”

Around 140 trainees from DSMarE and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival School will travel to watch the Competition. Along with the families of those involved, they will be hoping they can roar Sultan to success.

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