RAF Wittering win the Countess Of Wessex Cup for the second consecutive year
The annual Countess Of Wessex Cup is held between HMS Daring, 5 Battalion the Rifles (5 Rifles) and RAF Wittering; 2014 marks the first occasion upon which the trophy has been won without the home advantage.
Her Royal Highness, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, is Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Wittering, Royal Colonel-in-Chief of 5 Rifles and Ship’s Sponsor of HMS Daring.
The RAF Wittering Team – predominantly from 3 Squadron RAF Regiment – journeyed to the Royal Navy base at HMS Collingwood in Portsmouth, where they faced the notorious Cliff and Chasm obstacle course. HMS Collingwood’s Cliff and Chasm course is infamous throughout the three services for its cruel difficulty and comprises a 10ft wall, massive climbing net and a host of other brutal challenges.
Each Service fielded two eight-man teams. The teams had to negotiate the course while carrying a 10ft telegraph pole, a barrel filled with concrete and a horse cart (without the horse) while incurring the fewest possible time penalties. Penalties were awarded for dropping equipment, veering from the established course and the use of foul language. The RAF Wittering Team proved that they had enough stamina and drive to clinch the trophy from HMS Daring and 5 Rifles, coming in more than a minute ahead of the nearest opponents.
RAF Wittering Station Commander, Group Captain Damian Alexander, said: “For once, I was happy just to be a spectator. The Cliff and Chasm course requires extraordinary fitness and stamina just to compete it, let alone compete between the Services to achieve the fastest possible time.”
“The Services depend on one another on operations, so inter-Service competitions such as this are great for building a closer bond during peacetime, which is beneficial in times of conflict. I’m obviously delighted that RAF Wittering has won, especially as the RN had home advantage. Most importantly, it was great to see such camaraderie between us, the Royal Navy and the Army teams; all had evidently trained hard for the honour of winning the Countess of Wessex Cup.”