Cadet Field Gun
Post 2012 December Military Tournament saw decisions being made that would hugely affect the future structure of Portsmouth Field Gun. Difficulties with recruiting and availability meant our senior crews were struggling for numbers, but more importantly, trying to achieve a satisfactory end result without any opposition. Then, 15,000 spectators shouting support for two cadet crews from Wellington College at Earls Court 2012, resulted in £18,000 being raised in January 2013, cadet guns and limbers being ordered, gaiters, clothing and track gear being purchased, plus presentations to the Public Services courses at Portsmouth college and several local Schools being carried out. Bottom up recruiting had commenced.
The 2013 field gun season then began with a shortened track season from April 1st to July 5th, Wednesday afternoons for cadets, Saturdays for our senior crew, in total only 17 training days. The result was an excellent Reunion Day in July, followed by several summer shows for our travelling flat run South Africa challenge crews, not forgetting two full Sunday visits in November to the enclosed Wellington College track in preparation for the 2013 December British Military Tournament.
An exceptionally tough but satisfactory 5-day British Military Tournament saw our crew competing against the Wellington Crew on the final practice period and also being hugely congratulated on their arena rigging support throughout the show. Following letters to the staff were extremely complimentary from both the Director of the Military Tournament, Christopher Joll and Brigadier Robin Bacon, Army Chief of Staff. Far more exciting was the recent January letter from the Chief of Staff to Mr. Steve Frampton, Principal at Portsmouth College, asking if one or possibly two cadet crews could be trained and prepared to compete at the 2014 December British Military Tournament, once confirmed. A huge breakthrough for the Portsmouth Field Gun crews and staff and now the real opportunity of an exciting competitive future for our field gun crews.
Allow us to return to the last sentence, first paragraph, BOTTOM UP RECRUITING HAD COMMENCED. From the 2013 cadet crew we now have 11 rolling over to the 2014 cadet crew. We also have 6 from the 2013 crew available for the Saturday senior command crew. 2014 will see other schools and colleges joining the structure and another two years should see our senior crews’ recruiting problems solved.
Finally, summer shows and expected new colleges and schools. Our summer shows, 2 in 2013 at Chale, Isle of Wight and at a military show at Wimborne St. Giles, Dorset were very well received and so far this year we have 8 requests country-wide for the summer months of 2014. These shows consist of two competitive flat run crews, either two cadet crews, or a cadet crew versus a senior flat run crew on any dates between mid-July and end September.
Expected participants 2014 regarding command and flat run field gunning are – Portsmouth, South Downs, Highbury, Fareham Colleges. Priory, Portchester Community and Charter Academy Schools plus Southsea Air Cadet Force. New crews, new challenges, new drills, new trainers, it’s looking good. Come and join us.