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Gib Field Gun crew prepares for competition

Gib Field Gun crew prepares for competition

The Gibraltar Field Gun crew are currently training in preparation for the annual Brickwoods Field Gun competition later this year.

The team of 18 people need to run, dismantle, re-assemble and fire an 850 pound gun in the shortest possible time.

In addition, they need to ensure that all the pieces of the gun, which are very heavy, are disconnected and reconnected in perfect sequence and with precision timing.

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Gibraltar’s team consists of members who have had previous experience and those who are taking part for the first time. They all come from a full range of military background, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, Army Police, Army Personal Trainers, the Royal Air Force and the Navy.

The team is being trained by Petty Officer Physical Trainer Kelly Gooch, the number one trainer for the team. Jimmy Conners is the number two trainer.

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It is their job to ensure the team work in synchronisation to complete the challenge with a gun that weighs 850 pounds but with a total weight of just close to a ton when you take into account the limber and wheels.

The origin of the Brickwoods competition lies in the Second Boer War in South Africa with the siege of the British Garrison in Ladysmith in 1899. The Royal Navy landed guns from HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful to support the British Army.

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The guns were transported by rail as far as possible before being pulled by oxen on makeshift carriages. The final leg of the journey was across complex terrain which left the sailors from the Naval Brigade no alternative but to physically carry them to their besieged comrades.

When the siege finally ended the sailors from the Naval Brigade paraded their guns through London and appeared at the Royal Naval and Military Tournament. Brickwoods Brewery donated a magnificent trophy and the first Brickwoods Field Gun competition was held in 1907 at HMS Collingwood.

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The event attracts around 20,000 spectators and there will be around 20 teams competing for the Trophy Prize.

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Eyleen Gomez
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