Submariners on target at annual shooting competition

Four submariners from HMS Trenchant were among the hot shots at this year’s Plymouth and Scotland Skill At Arms shooting competition held at HMS Raleigh.

The team, consisting of Leading Engineering Technician (LET) ‘Tanzy’ Lee and Engineering Technicians (ET) Kenny Trubshaw, Damien Harris and Lewis Morgan, were all presented with their marksmanship badges in recognition of their performance during the week-long competition.

Competing against teams representing the Royal Marines, the submariners were runners-up in two of the categories and third in another, despite rarely using weapons in their day jobs on the submarine.

LET Lee said:  “We all specialise in marine engineering and in our jobs we don’t really touch weapons at all, so when we got the opportunity to come across to Raleigh we all jumped at the chance.

The weather held good and we had some novices come through who shot very well.

Major Martyn Heenan RM

He continued, “It was a really good week and overall we did alright. We thoroughly enjoyed getting some rounds down the range and to qualify on the pistol as well was fantastic.

“I’d never heard of the competition before this, but with the submarine in dock at the moment it was nice to have the chance to compete and do something completely different.”

The Plymouth and Scotland Skill At Arms event is held over five days with each competitor having to complete their annual combat marksmanship test at the start of the competition.

Shooting in teams of four and individually, competitors are tested at firing from various distances, in different firing positions, with time also to allow them to develop their skills.

Many of the shoots start with a run down the range prior to engaging the targets. 

With eight team trophies up for grabs and five individual, the Commando Training Centre (CTC) virtually swept the board winning 10 trophies.

Their fellow Royal Marines of 42 Commando won two of the trophies while a team consisting of HMS Raleigh’s Commander Rich Marratt and Colour Sergeant Kevin McBain won the Commanding Officers’ pistol shoot.

The CTC team, consisting of Corporals (Cpl) Nick Atkinson, Paul Abbs, Ash Nickless, Pete Vincent and Alastair Kendrick, are part of Lympstone’s Combat Markmanship Team, responsible for developing the skill amongst the Royal Marine recruits. 

Cpl Kendrick said:  “My trophy was for the combined score throughout the week of all the rifle shoots and the pistol shoot.

“It was my first competition for six years, so to come back and do well, I was quite happy. The team overall put in a really good effort throughout the week.

“The other four were all new to competition. It was enjoyable week and a good way to promote marksmanship.”

Six teams took part this year representing HMS Trenchant, HMS Sutherland, the Commando Training Centre Lympstone, 42 Commando, 1 Assault Group Royal Marines and HMS Raleigh’s Military Training Unit (MTU). 

Major Martyn Heenan, the Officer in Charge MTU, said:  “It was a good week of shooting.

“The weather held good and we had some novices come through who shot very well.

“We also had some top teams like the one from Lympstone who really brought on some of the youngsters and helped out.

“The coaches went across all of the teams helping everyone to improve and overall there were some really high scores this year.”

The annual Skill-At-Arms meeting is a pre-cursor to the Inter-Service competition at Bisley and allows the Royal Navy to select a team of 15 to compete at what is the pinnacle of the Armed Forces competition shooting calendar. 

The MTU at HMS Raleigh provides cutting edge weapons training for Naval Service personnel at all levels, ensuring that they are fully prepared to protect themselves or their units on operations at sea and ashore.

The unit has the most up-to-date facilities available to the Royal Navy, including computer simulators, outside ranges and multimedia classrooms.