Gun Team Logo The Abbey Wood Field Gun Team - Crew Page
"Go beyond your limits"

The 2006 Field Gun Crew and the Support Team

The letter from the Chief of Defence Procurement & Chief Executive, Sir Peter Spencer KCB, that started things off is here.

A Message from Captain Bob:

It has been my honour to be the Commanding Officer of the Abbeywood Field Gun Crew for the last three years, with each year bringing a different group of individuals together, and by the end of the season, seeing them meld into a very cohesive team. As the only truly Tri-Service team, it is a credit to their commitment that they all carry out 'compliment' billet roles in the DLO & DPA, supporting the frontline, while giving up so much time to undertake the strenuous training.

The team at Abbeywood relies on support from a number of external bodies, not least the team sponsors, Ringsights, and also the provision of a training track from Rolls Royce at Filton. It would be wrong to single out any one person from the team, but the team includes a number of civilians who fulfil essential roles, and act as the oil for the machine. Equally the pivotal role of No 1, amongst the rest of the crew is indispensable for any level of participation in the competition.

3 years ago there was still a feeling amongst the more traditional crews that the Abbeywood team was a novelty, and one that would not survive. Not only has it, but it has built a respect from others based on its achievements, and the manner in which they have been accomplished. These are the legacy of each member of the team of which every member should feel duly proud.

I look forward to seeing what success next season brings.

Bob Rusbridger
Captain Royal Navy

A Message from No 1 Trainer:


2006 draws to a close in terms of fieldgun and I think it would be all too easy to look back and ponder "what if?" However that mind set detracts from the fact that with a very inexperienced crew and a 1st time No1 Trainer we actually achieved some great things.

We were, without a shadow of a doubt, an extremely fast crew across the ground - very few crews were able to live with us to the first action.

Our team spirit, not just in the running 18 but also in the excellent support crew, marked us out as a happy crew. I always got the feeling that you were looking out for each other (even Dave F the school bully) and would run as a strong cohesive 18 as one unit. I feel I have made many friends this year and will look forward to reaffirming those acquaintances next year. I am also aware that some of you will not be here next year, whether through job changes or even leaving the service. I sincerely hope that you will all take away many fond memories from your time with the gun and next June spare a thought for Abbeywood as we battle towards the final once again.


Dave Godley
Lieutenant Royal Navy

01 Lt E Gray Field Gun Officer. Emma started field gun training on joining Abbeywood and had trials at pin and drag number. She was drawn toward a drag number but had to concede that her speed and lack of bulk were against her. As the Field Gun Officer she has ensures that all ceremonial duties have proceeded correctly and looked after our most excellent sponsor on field gun day. Feeling ill at the start of the week she soon recovered, only to lose her voice later in the week, good job you managed to pick up that tan. Showing off her dancing skills on the Saturday she soon had a heavy end slant and wheel number demonstrating the finer points of the Matelot shuffle. 02 Lt Dave Godley Number One. A legend in the world of Field Gun, his first season as No1 and he equitted himself well. Giving the crew the best drill (world record drill), he has driven us on, rollicking us where needed and praised us (well I am sure he did at least once). What member of the crew will forget the sight of those red Speedo's - set off so well by the white/pale background. A sight that will live with many until they get the correct counselling (maybe a tan next year?). As a footnote can anyone finding a large pile of toys in a Collingwood classroom please return to Abbeywood c/o Dave Godley? If only you were that loud on the track. Keep going Dave, the groundwork is done for next year.
03 Steve Ashmore Limber Wheel. "Sash" has proved to be a fundamental part of the crew, not only the second fastest 'wheelie' but also our 'Field Gunner of the Year'. Always with a happy smile on his face and never short of a morale boosting quip, his assistance to Number 1 and the Crew Captain was very much appreciated, particularly when taking all of the blame during the post run debrief. Often mistaken for a Royal Naval Physical Trainer, his ingenious ground breaking warm up sessions are often mirrored (but not matched) by the other Crews, who can only look on in jealous astonishment at how he gets Abbey Wood to 'the line' in the absolute peak of condition and mentally tuned for another fast and clean run. In short he is both an example and a credit to the national Bruce Forsyth 'look-alike' club, and will be missed next season when he will probably be on the stopwatch or water bottles for HMS Neptune. 04 Lt I Miller Firing Number. Dusty has completed Field Gun before and came well equipped for a season at Abbeywood - he quickly settling in to the number. Realising practise was the secret, he could often be heard banging away with the extractor number during the quieter moments of training. Always ready with a smile he does guest appearances at children parties as Bingo (the gorilla) from the Banana Splits. With his six wheel golfing cart and "la la la" signature tune, he is a firm favourite with the under fives and often finds adult conversation difficult.
05 CPO J Mulvihill Pin Number. "Jim the Pin" as his mates call him, well, on one occasion. Last year's Speedy Bullet, but not quick enough this time round and so wanting to be near a wheel number he went for the pin. Has worked well and although being under pressure in the early part of the season has peaked at the right time and was very reliable during the final week. Jim has no hobbies and devotes his time to his hair washing and pruning until it is at the peak of it natural beauty. Has recently recovered from the shock of finding a grey hair (2 weeks bed ridden) he is try to find a new interest to occupy his time and is now attending nail painting classes. 'I just want to look good' said Jim 'it's not a crime' - well maybe it should be. 06 WO1 D MacLachlan Heavy End. With one season under his belt, Doug came back for more and led from the front as Gun Captain. With his battle cry of "First to the gun" he has shown that speed, strength, amazing facial expressions and a sense of humour will carry you though. Hobbies: Secret England supporter for this years World Cup, a very keen karaoke singer who can be spotted dressed as Cliff Richard singing 'Wired for Sound' on many a dark evening. A great ambassador for the Army he has personally ensured that the special association between the Navy and Army has been maintained. Sorry: a late edit he doesn't dress as Cliff. Honest.
07 Flt Lt Dave Farrell Back of the Box. Dave 'did you call my pint a puff' Farrell - his second time with the Abbeywood crew and he has gone on from strength to strength. Changing sides on the limber box he has proved that he would be pushing for most crews at the back of the box and he is over 50 (officially excused any further fitness testing) Few years left yet. Hobbies: The collection of crew members dinner money 'I would only have wasted mine on food and a drink' as Dave pointed out. He could always be relied upon to giving an understanding answer to crew members struggling with their drill, with well chosen phrases such as 'sort it - your drill's rubbish' endearing him to all. On his quiet evenings he helps out on the Samaritans Helpline - suicides have dropped dramatically in the Bristol area while we were away. 08 Lt R Burrows Slat Number. Back of the Box last year, slats number this year, where will it end - Number 1? Ritchie tried a few numbers at the beginning and soon settled into the slat position where he has enjoyed watching the action around him. Has had a good year and broke two fingernails - 'this number is hell' he was heard to say - the pains you lads are willing to endure for field gun. Had an amazing talent for spotting the camera and grinning at it (despite what was going on around him). Hobbies: Driving around in a flash car (was a slat natural really). His main love is Mr Burns out of the Simpsons, he is currently under going DNA tests to see if he is related. Other cartoon characters he has claimed to be related to include Captain Pugwash, Danger Mouse and Bert from the trap door. Stick to the flash car Ritchie.
09 Lt D Humphery Drag. Another first timer to the world of Field Gun - he soon settled in and just squeezed out Al for this number. Has performed well throughout the season, showing his strength early on at circuits and worked well with Alex in getting the glides working. A black belt in the art of shoe sniffing, he has been known to remove a shoe, sniff and replace, before the owner manages to land the first punch. A keen homing gerbil racer, who has never had one return yet, he lives in hope and can often be seen with six or more gerbils and a map showing off the finer points of navigation. 10 Lt B Stafford Pin Number. Ben again has run in other crews and was identified as a pin from very early on, with the right side of the box team looking very slick from the start. This is a very precise number that he made look easy with his relaxed approach to it. Hobbies: Ben is a cloud watcher and can boast of spotting over a hundred different animal shapes, with video evidence. He is more than happy to show the six hour tapes to any one who shows an interest. Another interest of his midnight phoning, where he phone someone late at night and to see if they want to talk. He's a bit lonely - why not phone him between 11.59 - 0500 hrs?
11 Cdr S Kershaw Speed Bullet. Another who decide to try Field Gun before leaving the RN, started of as the Extractor and then lucky was move to number 18 the Speedy Bullet. Has proved to be very able at this sport and, apart from the fact he is leaving the service, could have had many more years of gunning in any crew. Hobbies: Stamp collecting, ice sculpting and skiing. Has recently taken up moon staring and can how stare at the moon for twenty minutes without blinking 'it's a great sport and you meet so many interesting people' he howled when asked. Suffers from double grab syndrome and finds it extremely hard to pick anything up at the first attempt - we all wish Steve well in his recovery. 12 Lt G Collins Back of the Box. Gary, having been a Crew Captain of HMS Sultan, again brought some much-needed experience to the crew. A very able field gunner who was unable to get the hang of the starting time for training but, once there, he gave a hundred percent and ensures the crew drills developed well. Mr Bean's secret twin brother (Mr Bean won't admit to it) he could often be heard practising his Churchillian speeches during the warm ups (the few he was there for). Always up for a laugh, with his best caper being the old "drop the box gag" a right rib tickler - right Dave. Is a big fan of Larry Grayson and his world famous catch phrase ' shut that door ' which he has changed to 'drop that box' - what a guy.
13 Lt J Hyde Gun Wheel. Good looking Jim, the strength of ten, the physique of a Greek God, the pin up of the crew. A very able gun wheel who made one of the most difficult drills look impossible. First time as a wheel number having come second as a heavy end for Dartmouth in a previous year. Has improved throughout the season to a very reliable field gunner. His favourite movie, The Sound of Music, dominates his life, with him often singing songs from the film and watching it three or four times a day dressed as a nun. The other big love in his life (apart from himself) is his big fluffy tom 'Sinbad' who he curls up with on many a lonely nights. 14 Lt S Robinson Slat Number. Robbie, slat from last year and slat this year (but the one that works this time) having built himself up during the off season, he was raring to go. Once he had sorted out the limber drop he never let himself or the crew down - he did pick up some bruising but once told it was normal for field gunners he was happy. With all his gym and hair time he struggles to fit in the two to three hour pose down that makes it all worth while. Having fitted out his house with floor to ceiling mirrors it can take him a full hour to get from the bedroom to the bathroom. Always ready with a hand held mirror, he can be spotted plucking those out of place hairs during most runs (they can be a bit dull otherwise).
15 CPO G Cooper Drive Back. Thought he would give field gun a go before leaving the RN and has enjoyed every moment. Spent most of the season as a slat and then, when the opening appeared, sneaked in for the number 17 berth. Very fit and always out to impress people he was the crew's own Tom Cruise, mastering the steering of the box, even if he couldn't see over it. Hobbies: Using his build to his advantage, half price seats at the cinema or journeys on the bus (never goes near height restricted rides at the fair). Is a keen diver and is often used as bait by his fellow divers when they want to attack large fish. 16 Lt S Lee Extractor. Tansy - one of the legends that "Ran the World Record" - he brings much needed confidence and experience to this junior crew. Was fully committed: travelled up from Pompey for just the training at RR, not even staying for the run ashore. Practised hard with his firing number and help produce some very fast button up times. A professional eyeball roller in his spare time, whom has often be spotted practising during after run debriefs. Collector of scars and has added a couple to his already extensive collection this season. Also a keen Les Dennis fan who has watched every episode of 'Family Fortunes' as he says 'He's brill'.
17 Lt D Poole Heavy End. His first season as a field gunner Dan has taken to the role of heavy end. Very rarely mentioned in debriefs he has shown that he could grunt lift and push with the best of them. Hobbies include poetry writing to Number one, one line from one of the many hundreds he's written 'A flash of red there stood the field gun gladiator he is so godley' A keen member of Greenpeace in his spare time, he also owes his own camper van just out side HMNB Clyde. 18 Lt A Moody Spare Number. A Field Gun virgin who unfortunately just failed to make the cut - a must for next year when the experience of this year will make all the difference. Either a drag or drive back, he performed well - just the times on the clock not going his way. Better luck next year Al. A keen care bear fan, he has over a hundred and fifty and all the films on video. He often acts out scenes from the films wearing his own care bear jump suit. 'Rainbow Bear is the best ' said Al excitedly when asked. The large rainbow tattoo on his stomach testament to his hero. Often busy writing replies to the Care Bear mail he receives as Secretary of the fan club.
19 Lt Cdr N Bennett Gun Wheel. A battler who proved many wrong and would have graced crews with his drill in the end. Though he has trained for field gun before, this is his first time in the final eighteen - well-done Wiggy must have been all that padding. Hobbies: A keen window licker who has licked some famous window planes in his time and is Chief Wizard Window licker of the Bristol branch. Still believes in Santa Claus and can often be seen hiding from the bogeyman around Abbeywood. 20 LtCdr Ian Gould Limber Wheel. The crew captain with his inspirational speeches such a 'come on then' and 'what about it', he ensured this crew never reached the line unprepared. The main stay of this crew whom led from the front and pushed from the back, driving the crew towards its best. Although not the fastest wheel this year, he more than held his own with his secret "get the wheel on from ten yards away" technique. As his male modelling career (bra's don't look sexy on men) comes to an end, he is looking at the after dinner speech circuit and the requirement for each meal to have a fast asleep drunk on the top table. Since starting the intensive training required for this, he has discovered that he is a natural. A keen ballet dancer and member of the Care Bear Fan Club he has recently taken up window plane licking.
21 Chief Tech G Hall Spare Number. Gary trained hard in pre-season and was established as the Heavy End before his hamstrings start to give him problems. Once sidelined he has supported the running eighteen and offered advice to his replacement. An important member of the back ground support staff BZ, he was also the mini bus driver and although his route to Collingwood was suppose to be scenic we will never know - at least the Rowner chavs (kids) can now play in peace. A keen Rainbow fan he has modelled his physique on Bungle and can often be seen wearing dungarees with flowers on them when not in uniform. 22 CPO A Turbitt Spare Number. Just failed to get in the last eighteen but has stuck with the crew supporting well in the background and filling in where needed. Has run in previous crews and is one of the few who has broken the 1.20 barrier. Member of the support staff he has helped ensure the running eighteen were able to concentrate on the runs to improve there times, BZ. Ned is a big BB fan and can spend twenty to twenty-four hours a day watching it. "Their lives on TV are so much more exciting than real life," added Ned the WE. Not sure BB isn't its other title '3 months in the life of Collingwood Senior Rates Mess'.
23 Dave Bell Civvy Background Support Staff. Would easily have made most last eighteen with his fitness levels and determination - unfortunately, not being man enough to join up, he could not be considered. Part of the background support, big BZ, he was always ready with the gels after each run (you can tell he never tasted them). A keen military wannabe he could often be spotted practising his marching, saluting and Naval slang. So Dinger up at call of hands for some s**t on a raft using the old port and starboard scran spanners, plenty of slide on the rafts, don't forget to ditch your gash. Sorry mate - many hear the calling but only a chosen few make the grade, which is writing your own name down correctly spelt on the Recruiter's papers (a tough one I known). 28 LtCdr A Banham Drag. Alex. First time to Field Gun - started as a wheel number, but soon moved to drag number where his knowledge of statistics was to prove very useful. Performed well at this number and worked well as a team with the other drag number for the glides. A big Star Trek fan, who owns an extensive DVD library of all the different series that the original spawned, as well as the films. His pride and joy being the home made episode that he appeared in with other trekkies (he was Spock - he still has the ears). When not attending trekkie conventions, he likes to star gaze, counting over a thousand on most nights.
24 Tom Bridgeman Physio. A member of the background support staff, he excelled in keeping the crew running and getting us fit for the field gun competition, another big BZ. What crewmember will be able to forget Tom with his big balls, jumping over the little hurdles and tense stretching circuits? He certainly gave us food for thought. When he finally turned up at Collingwood, he came prepared with a bench to lie on, lots of baby oil and a friendly manner. He soon had many a crewmember squealing under his gentle but firm touch or was that just me? Best of luck in joining up Tom and keep those magic hands safe. 25 Chris Clark Buffer. The Buffer looks after all of us during the weeks of training, sweeping over a quarter of the world during this time. Very important member of the crew he ensures all the kit is where we need it, offers advice on drill and makes us all feel young. The time, effort and enthusiasm he brings to the crew cannot be under-stated, very big BZ; he is the fuel to our engine. Chris still appears at Christmas parties doing David Bellamy impressions, which involves saying "flora" in a weird way. PS. Think we could do with a new broom if there is some spare cash in the kitty.
26 Steph Hewitt Time Keeper. An experience timekeeper who soon spotted the crew number with the flash car. She has been committed to the crew ensuring we have always got a true reflection of where we are. Usually a couple of seconds behind the other crews. As part of the support staff she deserving a big BZ even if she seems to have deflected to the Gib crew on the last night. Way to go Steph! 27 Kate Beecher Time Keeper. With exams during this season (hope they went well Kate) she has had limited time with the crew. Appearing every now and again to remind us she is far fitter than any of us (even me). Another big member of the support staff who deserve a big BZ, as you don't drink may I take this opportunity to apologise for the crew on the Saturday night - I was of course the perfect gentleman. Kate has a collection of stopwatches and can often be see around Abbey wood timing activities, she is so dedicated.
26 Captain Bob Senior Leadership. One of the unsung members of the crew who, by the time the crew starts training, was able to sit back and relax. Author of the letters to RR and all IPT Leaders he ensures we have support, or at least a voice, at the highest level within Abbeywood during the preseason build up. A keen supporter of Abbeywood Field Gun Crew and Field Gun as a whole, who if fit would be an asset on the track. A Butterfly trainer in his spare time he can often be seen getting them to sit on his shirt collar with their wings spread. A star from the start he was milk monitor 3 weeks running at primary one, a fact that served him well at his AIB. 26 Tim Bailey. "The Judge" has been known to produce yellow/red cards at dinnertime with the family (in case you thought the World Cup was bad). Another member of the crew whose activities aren't always noticed but are required for a successful track season. Not always the most popular job, The Judge take it all in his stride and deliveries a service second to none. Always ready with his rallying call of 'well there were penalties' at the end of debriefs he has endeared himself to all. Maybe we should have listened! Tim whose hero is Blakey off 'On the buses' referees rugby games during the weekend (Well - so he tells me). Was the only Judge who didn't give us any penalties - a big BZ.
26 Major T Mouat Photos and Website. Tom has been snapping away all season and has produced one of the best web sites ever for a Field Gun Crew. Hopefully his cameras were tucked away for the Saturday night, they were weren't they Tom? His prices for deleting a picture or two can be very reasonable as well. Helping Number One by letting him use the camera shots to break down the runs and give clear indication as to who wasn't carrying out their drill correctly. Yeah cheers Tom. He has proved that he is a valued member of the crew even enhancing Steph in at least one photo. Is there any picture of him? (There is now...).

The Results:


Crew Time Overall Aggregate
Collingwood A 1.20.59 9.33.80
Heron 1.21.45 9.51.47
HMNB Devonport 1.25.14 10.01.68
Seahawk 1.25.26 9.52.19
7 Bn REME 1.26.23 9.52.19
HMNB Portsmouth 1.32.29 10.17.73
Plate 1
JF Harrier 1.24.22 10.17.73
Abbey Wood 1.26.00 10.27.74
Caledonia 1.27.06 10.19.98
Sultan A 1.29.22 10.21.62
Raleigh 1.28.42 10.22.68
BRNC 1.29.29 10.32.80
Plate 2
Neptune 1.28.62 10.48.53
Sultan B 1.29.88 11.09.64
UKNS Naples 1.31.34 10.45.41
Gibraltar 1.40.03 11.16.04
DMSTC 1.43.56 11.50.20
Collingwood B 1.46.85 10.52.35

Brickwoods Winners Collingwood A
Microsoft Trainers Trophy WO Shaw (Collingwood A)
Brickwoods Runners Up Cup Heron
Bronze Medals HMNB Devonport
Fourth Place Seahawk
Fifth Place 7 Bn REME
Sixth Place HMNB Portsmouth
Powerful Trophy Collingwood A
Spirit of the Fleet Air Arm Heron
HMS Powerful Cup Collingwood A
Powersport International Cup Collingwood A
Simon Price Endeavour POPT Edwards (UKNS Naples)
Roaring Meg Trophy Collingwood B
City of Portsmouth Jubilee Cup JF Harrier
Sports Lottery Cup Neptune
Portsmouth Command Trophy Collingwood A
Plymouth Command Trophy HMNB Devonport
Scotland Command Trophy Caledonia
Defence Trophy 7 Bn REME


Click here to E-Mail me any comments