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Royal Naval Field Gun Run

Associated Web Link: Portsmouth Field Gun Run Videos

Transcript Of Narration
The Field Gun display is a tribute to the Royal Navy’s involvement in the relief of the battle of Ladysmith during the Boer War in 1900 when guns from HMS Powerful were taken to Ladysmith by the ships men to defend the town. In 1880 the first Military Tournament took place in an agricultural hall from which the Royal Tournament evolved in 1883. The Royal Navy joined the tournament in 1896 and soon afterwards performed the Field Gun Run.

During the Battle Of Ladysmith Captain Percy Scott landed a number of 4.7 inch guns to have carriages made for them. Two of these together with four 12 pounders were dispatched to the Bluejackets. It was during this campaign that one of the gun wheels collapsed. The Bluejackets manhandled the gun over two miles to the top of a hill and into action.

It is from these feats that we get the Royal Naval Field Gun display. Although it was not until 1919 that the two walls and the 28 foot chasm were introduced into the drill. The popular event of Field Gun came to an end with the last display of Royal Naval Field Gun at the last Royal Tournament in 1999.

On Monday 2nd August 1999 the last Royal Naval Field Gun Run took place between Portsmouth and the Fleet Air Arm. The Field Gun crews all wore black arm bands and at the end both teams gathered in the centre of the arena for a standing ovation. Both teams then unveiled banners, Portsmouth unfolded a banner offering their thanks for the years of support. The yellow banner, unveiled in front of the royal box where Princess Anne watched as guest of honour, simply read "The final chapter goodbye Portsmouth Field Gun".

Although the Royal Naval field gun run displays have ceased organisations such as Portsmouth Action Field Gun still host displays more details of which can be found at www.pafg.co.uk.

It is estimated that 15,000 personnel of the Royal Navy have taken part in the competition. The gun run is divided into three sections. The first represents the guns being unloaded from HMS Powerful at Durban; the second the overnight transport of the guns from Durban to Ladysmith as the Boers surrounded the town and the third is the guns being put into position at Ladysmith to face the Boers.

The average time for the run out is one minute twenty-five seconds; for the run back one minute and for the run home twenty-one seconds. For a list of videos featuring Portsmouth Field Gun Runs have a look at www.portsmouthvideos.co.uk/events/section_pfgr.htm

For more videos related to Portsmouth have a look at www.portsmouthvideos.co.uk or for more information about Portsmouth have a look at www.portsmouth-guide.co.uk