The raising of the Siege of Ladysmith in 1899 by Royal Navy guns landed by HMS Terrible and HMS Powerful was an example of the Royal Navy’s ‘can do attitude’ that has manifested itself on many occasions through the Senior Service’s long and distinguished history. The achievement captured the hearts and competitive instincts on matelots and was the origin of the Navy Field Gun competition. Two forms of competition were started in 1907 – Brickwood’s and Command. The Command competitions was first and was made famous by its starring role in the annual Royal Tournament. The competition between the Commands of Plymouth, Portsmouth and the Fleet Air Arm was fierce. The run of ‘Out, Back and Home’ negotiating the Chasm and the Walls was spectacular, dangerous and compelling. Its demise in 1999 is still morned.
The Brickwood’s competition is competed between units and is held at HMS Collingwood. Now sponsored by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity it also has evolved to include teams from the British Army and the Royal Air Force.