The last Royal Navy field gun run at Earls Court in 1999 saw the end of an era…
…Or so some thought…
In 2001 the ‘field gun run’ was resurrected by a crew and staff comprising ex-field gunners and civilians who wanted to prove that a civilian field gun crew had the ability to perform competitive field gun runs using the same drill and equipment over the same course as the former Royal Naval gunners did for a hundred years.
From 2001 the field gun crews and staff of Portsmouth Action Field Gun (PAFG) were committed to achieving competitive field gun runs by 2005, which they did at The International Festival of the Sea (IFOS) in Portsmouth in June 2005. Six full competitive field gun runs were completed with a fastest time recorded of 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
2010 saw the crew train at Mill Rythe Holiday Centre on Hayling Island, which achieved the target of having 2 running crews by the end of 2010 to coincide with the re-introduced British Military Tournament (BMT) at Earls Court. Portsmouth Action Field Gun have attended this tournament as volunteers annually since 2010, ready to assist the BMT Directors, IMG Events team and the Army Benevolent Fund in any way they can.
From January 2011, a contractual agreement to use their facilities for five years had been agreed with the Portsmouth College, Tangier Road, Portsmouth.
2013 marked the beginning of a ground-breaking approach for PAFG. A shorter, more intense programme enabled us to realise our visions for the future – the continuation of senior command field gun; the continuation of our own flat field gun run as an event which can be performed at shows around the country; and the development of cadet command field gun.
In 2016 crew training moved to Thorney Island, Emsworth.
Running field gun is hard work: it is said to be the toughest team event in the world. It takes dedication, discipline and commitment to complete a field gun season, but the rewards as far as personal achievement is concerned are phenomenal.
Once again field gun is being run in its purest form. A wonderful spectacle to behold.
For those that remember those immortal words…