" PORTSMOUTH NAVY NEWS Ju, D54
AIR TRAINERS LIMITED
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Field-Gun Display by Lieut. Michael Man.se
1954 Portsmouth Field-Gun Officer
THE ROYAL Why Royal Tournament?
Oneis apt to regard the spectacle at Earl's Courtonly asatattoo or military show.It
Is important to mote that the emphasis was originally on skill-at-arms. The word "tornolemeut," or the act of
taking it in turns, wasarst applied to military jousting matcheshaving no serious war-like purpose. The players fought over carefully timed rounds, using blunted or padded lances, and the whole display wasessentiallyagame enjoyedby participants andspectators alike
THE FIRST forerunner ofour present-
day Royal Tournament was held at Islington on June II, 1880. It was advertised in The Times as a Grand
Military Tournament and Assault-al- Arms. The competitions, which were 53 in number, included Foil v. Foil.
Bayonet v. Sword. Sword v. Sword mounted, Slicing the Lemon, Tilting
at the Ring, Tent-pegging, and a game with the gruesome title of Annihilating the Turkish Forces. The latter took
the form of mounted Hussars jumping and at the same time cutting at life- size turbanned figures.
amassed £500. which was given to the funds of the Royal Cambridge Asylum for the Soldiers and Widows. It is
interesting to note that the sum raised in 1952 was £50.00%
Considerable sums are handed over
annually to the Secretary of Slate for War for donations to the various
organisations existing to protect Ser- vice men and their dependants in war,
peace or retirement. In this way money finds its way to the credits of the
naval hospitals, schools, orphanages, charitable institutions and benevolent
societies directed through the War Office, the Admiralty and the Air Ministry.
The committee of the 1880 Tourna- ment is the introduction to the civil ment was surprised to find it had
Another purpose of the Tourna-
population of the military forces of the nation at work and play. Seeing them on horseback, on motor-bicycles and at other activities, so full of ex-
perience and poise, the spectators remember that these men were once
civilians themselves, and will be so
again. They are not circus artists; they are, first and last, soldiers, sailors and
airmen serving upon a normal engage- ment. The tempo of modern Service life
is such that there is little enough spare time, and it is a major wonder that so
ticipants have arrived at Earl's Court, their home and paradeground through-
out the Tournament. It
everyone concerned which has made is the obvious enthusiasm of
the Royal Tournament, now in the sixth reign, one of the traditional ex- cellences of the London season.
precise a performance can be put on only a week after the majority of par-
PORTSMOUTH FIELD-GUN CREW, 1954 l'his year, for the tint tIme, practice i
WHEN. IN 1869, the Royal Navy first entered an item of its own in the
Royal Tournament, the Admiralty decided on displays of cutlass drill and
gun drill. Forty ratings took part, and 'ioth displays were popular with the 'ublic.
The gun drill in those early days onsistcd of nothing more arduous
than a short march round the arena.
'iring one round, shifting both gun wheels and a few manouvrcs round
ALL SUCCESS To "NAVY NEWS" ki"
Phons fl 4
J-PA. LI LL CO Am Naval Tailors and
lfl & 182 QUEEN STREET, PORTSMOUTH (Me~.gau.r.P,wg N.r.J Tr,s'~do~Ltd.)
Outfitters FIRST IN THE FLELD
NAVAL ALLOTMENTS ARRANGED PRICE LIST ON REQUEST
FOREMOST EVER SINCE ablbcd
a narrow bridge as well, and in 1906 two walls and two bridges formed the obstacles over which guns and limbers had to be carried.
the arena at the double. This gradually built up over the years. In 1903 a four-foot wall was introduced, in 1903
and six teams, each of 18 men, were entered-two from Portsmouth, two from Devonport and two from Chat- ham. The obstacles at this time con-
fore reassembling the gun and firing In 1907 the competition commenced,
sided of planks fixed 18 inches from the ground and a four-foot wall, which the team had to surmount be-
have bees, made I the Royal Naval Barracks to which She public have bee, admitted
one round at the far end of the arena. As the years passed and the com-
petition beCame more fierce and more
popular, a chasm and ramps appeared in the arena, and in 1913 the present course was decided on. This consists
of two identical tracks side by side with a five-foot-high wall at each end of the arena and two ramps 30 foot
The complete run has been divided into three phases which are timed
Run Out, started with the "Charge" on the bugle, consists of taking all men and gear across the "home" wall and.
separately, the three times being added to give the total running time. The
by means of sheerlegs and a wire jack-
stay, over the so-called bottomless chasm to a breach in the "enemy" wall, through which everything has to be passed. Wheels are put on when
with the third round being fired. After a few seconds' respite, the bugler sounds the 'Rstire" and both crews
through and the first action of three rounds is fired. The Run Out finishes
start on the Run Back-this time over
the "enemy" wall, back across the chasm by jackstay, to turn and fight an action in retirement just before they reach the "home" wall. The time
(the distance across the chasm) apart in the centre.
the bugle, when all gear goes through the hole in the "home" wall, gun and
to this point is again carefully noted. The final phase, known as the Run Home. starts with the "Cease Fire" on
limber are reassembled, limbered up, and the crew gallop past the finishing
line of the "enemy' ramps at full speed. The total time for this run may now take as little as 3 minutes 20
seconds, which necessitates precise and accurate drill and team work of the
any branch from Portsmouth, Chat-
highest order. In January each year, 50 ratings of
ham, Lec-on-Solent and Devonport are selected to start concentrated
spirit of comradeship and wonderful team work which this display instil.
in those taking part makes that four months very well worth while,
training on February 1. With the Royal Tournament being held every year in
early June, the crews have four months of hard and back-breaking labour. The
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