Ready… Watch & Shoot!
The RAF Small Arms Meeting (RAFSAM) is an event held at the end of June each year at Bisley in Surrey and is attended by members of the RAF, RAF Regiment and their Auxiliary counterparts, which culminates in the Queens Medal Final.
The ‘Queens Medal for Champion shot of the Royal Air Force’ and its respective Army and Navy counterparts are the only medals awarded for competition which may be worn on uniform alongside other medals.
It is a test of marksmanship with the service rifle and pistol from 10m to 500yds, involving fire with movement, wearing body armour, helmet and carrying webbing, firing on a variety of different targets. This year RAF Marham was represented by a team of four consisting of FS Martin (Team Captain), L/Cpl Bachelor and SAC Nicholson from 2620 (Aux) Sqn and Chf Tech Lilley from the Tornado CAMO.
The various shoots, which all come from the PAM 20 & 21, the Infantry Shooting Manuals, include the long and short Rural Contact matches, the Urban Contact Match and the Pistol Match, as well as shoots such as the Falling Plates (Rifle) and Pistol Tiles Matches.
The Rural Contact Matches involve shooting from various positions (Prone/Sit/Stand) at ranges from 100 to 500yds, which in windy conditions often requires you to aim off target to score a hit! Firers are required to run between exposures and be ready for the next target to appear. Not as easy as it sounds weighed down by your body armour and equipment!
The Urban Contact Match (previously known as the FIBUA Match) is a fast-paced shoot using your rifle from 100m down to 25m, shooting around cover, with uncommanded magazine changes when required and the added challenge of switching to your pistol at 25m and continuing to move and fire down to 10m.
FS Martin did extremely well, achieving 1st Place in the Rapid Match and was awarded the Forester Cup. This was awarded for attaining the highest score (48/50) whilst sitting at 200m and firing ten rounds on two targets within 25 seconds.
The Marham Team won the Trenchard Cup for 1st place in the Inter-Station Rifle Match (an aggregate of all rifle matches) and the 2620 Sqn shooters won the Inter-Sqn Match, receiving the Brooke-Popham Cup.
FS Martin and CT Lilley were selected to shoot for 1Gp in the Inter-Group rifle match, in which 1Gp came 1st and subsequently went on to shoot against the Army and RN/Marines in the Inter-Command and Inter Services Competitions. The RAF triumphed over the other services in the Rifle and Urban Contact Match and came a very close 2nd in the pistol.
The turnout this year was not as high as in previous years, possibly due to Olympic and other operational commitments, however as usual; it was a close-fought competition with QM Final being won by just a few points. The Competition always needs new blood as the ‘old hats’ leave the service giving new competitors an opportunity to perform well. The facilities at Bisley are quite basic, but there is a Clubhouse with a bar and adequate sleeping/washing facilities. There is a good social atmosphere at the event (The bar is not expensive!) and there are plenty of local facilities in the nearby towns.
To qualify for RAFSAM, you must have first competed at either the GpSAM or RegtSAM competitions held earlier in the year.
If any Marham personnel (Including Lodger Units and MPGS*) are interested in competing for the Station (and/or their Sqn) in next year’s GpSAM/RAFSAM, please contact either FS Martin on 2620 (Aux) Sqn or Chf Tech Lilley in the Tornado CAMO.
*Non-RAF Lodger Units & MPGS can shoot as individuals for ‘Honours Only’ but can represent Marham as part of the Station Team.