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Devonport Field Gunners in power demonstration

31 May 2018
The Devonport Royal Navy Field Gun crew is reaching peak perfection at the right time, demonstrating a thrilling run in front of an audience ahead of the annual competition at HMS Collingwood this Saturday (2 June).

Devonport Field Gunners in power demonstrationStaff applauded the show of controlled power, grit and determination as the sailors and Royal Marines hauled a heavy gun, carriage and ammunition along a course in Devonport Naval Base, in Plymouth, assembling and taking it apart at speed along the way.

The demonstration is part of the training for the annual Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Field Gun Competition at HMS Collingwood in Fareham on Saturday 2 June.

Crews from as far as Gibraltar will compete for the coveted Brickwoods Trophy. Fast and furious, the contest requires 18-man teams to run, dismantle and reassemble and fire the wheeled-cannon in the shortest time possible over a set course. Strength, stamina and team work are essential in this challenge.

Managing and training the Devonport team are Warrant Officer Spike Way, Warrant Officer Tash Pulley and Petty Officer Danny Card.  All of the Devonport crew are based within the dockyard as well being supported by ships, submarines and Royal Marines from 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

As the heavy gun and limber is moving quickly across the ground, each team member is required to put their body on the line in order to start, stop and lift the kit during the run

Petty Officer Danny Card, Field Gun training team

Staged in honour of a Royal Naval crew who carried and fired guns during the Boer war, the event plays to the military ethos including courage, discipline, teamwork, integrity, loyalty and commitment.

Danny said, “As the heavy gun and limber is moving quickly across the ground, each team member is required to put their body on the line in order to start, stop and lift the kit during the run. A moment of self-doubt can lead to serious injury so being brave and sticking with what you have been taught is extremely important to the run.

“The team is made up of all ranks, rates and experiences. It is for this reason that everybody respects each other’s opinion and experience for the benefit of the team regardless of rank.

“The type of person that would normally be attracted to field gun is someone who thrives in a team environment, physically fit, has a competitive nature and is able to apply lessons learned through coaching quickly from the trainer.’’

HMNB Devonport is proud to be supported by Babcock, Keyham Vaults, St Austell Brewery, Ivor Dewdney Pasties, Michael Spiers Jewellery and the RNRMC. Adam Spiers, of Michael Spiers, said, “We like to support fantastic events like this and to keep alive tradition and history.’’

Phil Abbott, of Ivor Dewdney, said, “This was an amazing display. We have supported Devonport Field Gun for many years and only stopped when the main events, the Royal Tournament and Devonport Command Competition, ended. In years gone by the team trained on our pasties and stopped off at our shop for refreshment. But happily we have been fuelling their training again in recent years, after all it is part of our history.’’

Gavin Leckie, Babcock Submarines Director, said: “This perfect demonstration of teamwork epitomises what we expect our armed forces to be good at. We are always keen to support our Armed Forces, especially the Royal Navy as we are the major industrial partner here in Devonport.’’

The Collingwood tournament attracts up to 5,000 supporters. Danny said: “The atmosphere is electric on the day and as you walk through the archway into the arena full of people it is a fantastic opportunity to test yourself in a high pressure situation. A chance to put in to practice and trust everything you have learned up until that point.

"It is the seven timed competition runs that helps each field gunner understand who they really are and what they are really made of. High speed, high pressure and pure adrenaline are what keep each field gunner coming back year on year.’’

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