Field Gun Fest at the British Military Tournament


The streaming cold that I've manfully endured all week and which has felt like a heavy dose of the Ebola Virus, will be swept aside with contemptible disdain this evening as I stroll into Earls Court for the opening performance of this years British Military Tournament

The successor to the 100 year old Royal Tournament, (which was stopped in 1999 by Tony Blair and his verminous Labour government), was launched to great success last year by, and in aid of, the Army Benevolent Fund. 

All the traditional acts are back this year and include the White Helmets Motor Bike Display Team, The Kings Troop with the Musical Drive, the US Army Drill Team chucking their rifles around with carefree abandon and the de rigeur Afghan reenactment shoot-up among others. 

Obviously, all these warm-up acts are to give the audience an enjoyable run in to the centre piece turn; the Command Field Gun Run. Described as the hardest team race in the world, boys from Wellington College will again be running in place of the teams of Naval gorilla's from Portsmouth, Devonport and the Fleet Air Arm who ran up until 1999 when HMG stabbed them squarely between the shoulder blades. Grown men could have cried to see a hundred years of fine tradition go down the pan.......... and they did. 

The Wellington boys, aged between 14 and 18, run with half sized guns. Nonetheless, with 200 lbs of gun barrel landing on your leg there is only going to be one outcome and they do seem to pick up the kind of injuries that make your eyes water. 

Not that I'm a proud father or anything, but one of the Crumble Kids is running. I asked him what the appeal of the Field Gun is. He said, "It's the hardest but most enjoyable thing I've done. Everything depends on the team, there are no stars. It only takes one person to slip up and everything comes unglued and bad things happen. You have to do your own job but rely on and trust everyone around you to do theirs."

Oddly, I'll be back tomorrow and Sunday...... perhaps I am a proud, if nervous, Dad ....