With some of the marksmen from the Company’s previous winning teams unavailable, the Master selected an eager but untested team to represent the Company at the Shooting event in Canterbury on 25th June. The Worshipful Company of Paviors and the Knightly Order Valiant of St. George were also present.

The team:

Gary Hopkins Master On his day capable of anything. But which day?
Chris Nunn Liveryman All round good egg. If he can see the target it will be a bonus.
Mike Rigby Liveryman Last shot in the Boer War where he maimed a goat.
David Moore Liveryman Unknown quantity (that’s usually beer consumed).
Joe Sowton Liveryman Expected to be our one dead-eyed dick, so no pressure.
Adrian Hopkins Son of Master Better do well or will be walking back to Lincolnshire.
Robert Hopkins Son of Master Better do well or will be walking back to Lincolnshire.
Tom Sowton Son of Joe Hoping that having just got back from University will be sober enough to hold a rifle.
Gill Moore Court Assistant Persuaded (successfully) to shoot (successfully) in the Ladies Team.

 

The team assembled at the Barracks in Canterbury at 7.15am for tea and instructions from

our hosts the 3rd Battalion, The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment and we were driven to Hythe Range for a Skill at Arms Meeting. There on a slightly chilly misty grey morning we were given weapons handling training. Rifles – particularly the telescopic sights – had changed since the Boer War! The two main weapons we used were the SA80 A2 Rifle, which is the standard weapon used in the British Army, and the Light Support Weapon LSW), which is used at section (8 men) level to provide accurate fire.

We gravitated from lying prone and shooting to achieve the closest groupings, at 100, 200 and 300 metres, to a falling man (the enemy!) shoot where the silhouetted soldier popped up for 5 seconds at 100, 200 and 300 metres and disappeared if you didn’t shoot him down. At each step we were coached by patient experts to improve our aim, and encouraged by Regimental Sergeant Major Tony Benton asking “Happy Days?” to confirm we had understood his instructions and “Happy Days!” when we confirmed we had. By early afternoon the grey skies had cleared and the sun beat down with a surprising intensity.

Finally, for the very fit (i.e. excluding those who’d shot goats with a Lee Enfield in the Boer War), there was a competition which involved racing around the block, then shooting to knock all the targets down. Although we didn’t win the team prize, there were some respectable scores and no one walked home to Lincolnshire! As a member of The Wives Team, Court Assistant Gill Moore received a team medal for endeavour. Tom Sowton, our dark horse, won the award for the highest individual score of the day. See you next year Tom!

A stunning display of drumming by four bandsmen in red coats and white helmets in the  hot sun back at the barracks was followed by prizes for the winners. The Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Geoff Minton MBE thanked us for the Livery Company’s ongoing support and the Master responded. A fine curry concluded a memorable day. Happy Days!