Neptune crews go for their guns and run and row for charities
Captain Craig Mearns with members of the HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew at the start of the 52-hour challenge.
By Kim Hardie
Faslane-based HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew recently held an endurance event to raise cash for a couple of good causes.
The event, which took 52-hours later on Thursday, April 4, was held in the HMS Neptune Supermess.
The four-part challenge was set up to commemorate the 120th Anniversary of the Siege of Ladysmith and each part represented an element of the transit of HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful to Durban where they helped the British Army who were besieged in the garrison town of Ladysmith in 1899.
To kick-start the event, Captain of the Base, Captain Craig Mearns ran for one-hour – this signified the “Passing of the Order”. On completion of the run, the HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew dead-lifted the weight of six guns, each weighing half a metric tonne each. This was followed by a 19-hour row to replicate the sea transit of HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful to Durban.
Next, the HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew picked up their guns once again before a 20-hour cycle which simulated the train journey from Durban to the outskirts of the garrison town of Ladysmith.
THE guns were lifted one more time before a final 12-hour run to represent the march to the front line and the subsequent relief of Ladysmith.
The event was closed with the Field Gun and Limber being marched by the crew through the Naval Base with a salute to the Captain of the Base.
As well as marking the 120th Anniversary of the Siege of Ladysmith, the event also raised a huge amount of cash for The Royal Navy, Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) and the Defence National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) – over £3, 000 was split between the two charities.
“This was an excellent event that epitomised the ethos of Field Gun and captured the imagination of a swathe of Base personnel, hence the outstanding sum raised for Charity. What a brilliant way to start this Field Gun Season.” said Captain Craig Mearns, Captain of the Base and HMS Neptune Field Gun President.
The DNRC was chosen by the wife of Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Ryan Thomas, who ran for the HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew during the 2017 season and has subsequently suffered a severe illness.
Petty Officer Kev Laing, a trainer with the Field Gun Crew and organiser of the event, said: “The event could not have gone any better, it was great to raise money and awareness for two deserving charities which have been assisting a fellow Field Gunner, Surg Lt Cdr Ryan Thomas and his family in his recovery.
“In addition, it gave us an opportunity to develop the already excellent team spirit of HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew in preparation for the demands of Field Gun track training and marked the 120th Anniversary of the siege of Ladysmith.”
HMS Neptune Field Gun Crew march through the Naval Base with the Field Gun.