Army Team makes history beating the Navy at their own game


Mi General
MI.Net Member
Feb 29, 2004
A team of Army engineers from Wattisham airfield, near Ipswich, Suffolk, made history at HMS Collingwood on Saturday 18 June 2005 when they became the first non-Navy team ever to win the prestigious Royal Navy Field Gun Competition in its 98-year history.

The 18-man crew plus trainers from 7 Air Assault Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (7 Air Asslt Bn REME) was "euphoric" after outgunning its hosts and beating 17 other teams to win this prestigious Navy competition.

In a intense final, which saw the favourites from the earlier heats, Devonport Naval Base, finish last, the 7th Air Assault Battalion REME team romped home, with the Navy's Collingwood A team coming second.
They completed the final in one minute and twenty-two point three seconds taking the Brickwood Trophy, a solid silver reproduction of a 12-pound field gun and its crew of 7 sailors.

With typical inter-service rivalry, the Army team was particularly pleased to have achieved victory in the same year the Navy celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Field Gun Officer Major Julian Pemberton-Pigott led the challenge. He said the whole crew were "euphoric" after its success and paid tribute to the team members.

The 7 Air Asslt Bn crew, part of Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade, was the first Army team ever to be invited to participate in the competition when it took part in 2002. Since then they've learnt quickly and were leading the field going into the final race in the 2004 competiton, only to finish sixth.
The competition was once part of the Royal Tournament with the objective to haul a 2,000lb field gun and limber (ammunition case) along an 85-yard course, fire 6 rounds and return in the shortest possible.

The first competition was held on 28 August 1907. In 2001 HMS Collingwood set the present record of 1 minute 18.88 seconds.
The competition originated from an action during the Boer War in 1899 which prevented the British garrison town of Ladysmith falling to the Boers. As Boer troops advanced an urgent message was sent requesting that Naval field guns be rushed to Ladysmith from HMS Powerful which was moored more than 100 miles away at Durban.

The guns were transported by train where a Naval Brigade of 280 men unloaded and manhandled them to the front just in time to check the advancing Boers. The town was besieged for four months but held out until its relief in February 1900. The feat caught the public imagination and the tournament was established.

The final results of the Feild Gun Competition were as follows:

1st - 7th Air Assault Battalion REME
2nd - HMS Collingwood A crew
3rd - HMS Heron
4th - HMS Caledonia
5th - HM Naval Base Portsmouth
6th - HM Naval Base Devonport

Direct from MoD Site

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