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Raleigh field gunners prepare for battle

1 June 2017
HMS Raleigh’s Field Gun crew will head off to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) Field Gun competition this Saturday, 3rd June, with the cheers of their home supporters ringing in their ears.

The crew took part in their final practise session ahead of the competition, watched by the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, Captain Ellie Ablett, staff and trainees.

First Time Field Gunner Leading Seaman (Above Water Warfare)(LS) Jenna Dickinson, an instructor at HMS Raleigh’s Military Training Unit, said:  “Being in front of a crowd gives that extra buzz and pushes everyone on especially when people are cheering. 

“I’ll be nervous at the weekend, but with all the adrenalin pumping through it’ll be good, plus my family and my daughter are coming to watch.   It’ll be all good fun and I’m looking forward to it.”

We’re a fairly inexperienced crew compared to the rest of them, but we’ll just go out there and have a good time.

AB Luke Boddington

LS Dickinson took up Field Gun as a way of improving her fitness on her return from maternity leave. 

She said:  “It’s all about endurance, fitness and stamina when powering off in certain drills.   I’m going to do it again next year and I’d completely recommend to anyone to give Field Gun a try.”

The Field Gun competition, held annually at HMS Collingwood, is one of the highlights of the Royal Navy sporting calendars. 

This year 24 crews will be running with the aim of winning the coveted Brickwoods Trophy. 

Each crew of 18 has to run, dismantle, reassemble and fire the gun in the shortest time, in heats of six crews at a time.  With penalties added for incorrect drill, strength, stamina and team-work are essential.

Among the other new members of the crew are Seaman Specialists Able Rates (AB) Dean Davidson and Luke Boddington.

Both have just completed their specialist training and were spotted during their initial naval training as potential Field Gunners. 

AB Davidson said:  “I’m loving Field Gun.  It’s out of my comfort zone that’s why I like it. 

“We’ve got a good team and we’ll all get on really well.”

AB Boddington said:  “I enjoy physical stuff and being part of the Field Gun team is a bit like being in a rugby team. 

"The team have bonded well and work well together.  We’re a fairly inexperienced crew compared to the rest of them, but we’ll just go out there and have a good time.”

This year’s Field Gun Officer is Warrant Officer 2 (WO2) Tony Buckley.  This is the fifth year he has been part of the Raleigh Field Gun Crew over a 13-year Field Gun career. 

Petty Officer Physical Trainer Taff Kern has stepped up to the position of Number One trainer having been relieved as Crew Captain by Petty Officer Ricky Abram-Giles.  Leading Physical Trainer Ethan Yates is the crew physical trainer.

Summing up WO2 Buckley said:  “Training has gone really well.  We always struggle in Raleigh with crew numbers because of the busy training commitment. 


"Field Gun is a fantastic reinforcement of the Naval core values. 

“There’s a lot of team-work here and camaraderie.  This year I think we are aiming for the plate two final because we have a lot of newbies. 

“The dedication and determination shown by our people has been exceptional and the guys have worked really hard. 

“No matter how they do I know they are going to give 100% and do their very best.”

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