Sultan Field Gun Crews compete in Burgess Trophy

Roaring crowds enjoyed a display of grit, determination and camaraderie recently as the HMS Sultan Field Gun Crews went all out in the Burgess Trophy at HMS Sultan.

Two 18-man crews put on a fast and furious display in timed runs which included dismantling, reassembling and firing a Field Gun in front of the personnel from across the Establishment.

Both teams, who had been in training since March, performed admirably on the day, but it was Sultan 'A' Crew who took the run with a well drilled display.

With the runs complete, Captain John Voyce, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan presented ‘A’ Crew with the Burgess Trophy.

It’s a fantastic feeling to walk out in the finals.

CPO Laurence Kerr

Next week, both crews will head to HMS Collingwood to compete in the Tri-Service Brickwoods Field Gun Competition, with the finals of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) held as part of the HMS Collingwood Open Day on 1 June.

The Field Gun Competition will feature crews from across the UK and as far afield as Gibraltar competing for the coveted Brickwoods Trophy.

The HMS Sultan field gun crews are made up of personnel from right across the Establishment and from the first-time novice to the experienced Field Gun veteran the team has worked hard to pull together.

First-time field gunner, Petty Officer Laura Cheetham said: “I haven’t done Field Gun in my time with the Navy, so I thought this time at Sultan would give me an opportunity to give it a try.

“The amount of phys that’s involved is tough, but I’m part of a fantastic team and being part of the competition brings with it an enormous amount of pride.

"The crowds will be around us on the day, but we’re well drilled to do our job and we’ll be giving our best and hopefully we will come back with a trophy.”

57-year-old CPO Laurence Kerr first ran the Competition in 1980 and has participated wherever possible since. After recovering from a recent hip replacement, he is preparing to run for Sultan ‘B’ Crew.

A one-time winner of the Brickwoods Trophy (HMS Dolphin in 1993), for Laurence the competition still has a special attraction. He said: “It’s the best game on the planet.

“It’s the only game where guys of my generation can run with guys who are 19 or 20 and still perform on the same platform.

"When I first did it, I just did it for the Phys, but when we got hold of the equipment it felt like I was born for the stuff. I had my hip replaced in September and for me the target was to try and get back out on the track.

"It’s been hard, but from the first timers to the old timers it’s been a good year, and everyone has helped each other out.

"I don’t care how many times you’ve done it. It’s a fantastic feeling to walk out in the finals.”

The HMS Collingwood Open Day is open to the public, with the gates open at 0930.

A FREE BUS SERVICE will run twice per hour from Fareham and Gosport and back. Once the entrance fee is paid, all entertainment and attractions are free of charge.

For tickets visit www.ticketzone.co.uk