McLean, Denny, Fields, Milton Tucker (Barbados) and Hugh Tomlinson (Jamaica) are first inductees
Like the words of the famous Tradewinds song, Where are your Hero’s! The West Indies Fullbore Shooting Council (WIFBSC) at their final presentation of the recently held championships made one of its boldest steps yet when the entity launched its Hall of Fame (HoF), inducting five (5) of its stalwarts from Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica as it seeks to preserve its history and contributions of outstanding individuals.
The occasion formed part of the Guyana National Rifle Association (GuyanaNRA) 150th Anniversary celebrations and took place at the gala presentation ceremony at the Princess Ramada Hotel, Providence and was attended by marksmen and women from Bermuda, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Canada, Falkland Islands, Ireland and England.
In introductory remarks, WIFBSC and GuyanaNRA Vice President Paul Slowe, who was chairman of the HoF Committee, informed the gathering, which included two of the three Guyanese inductees, Neville Denny (former GuyanaNRA VP & WIFBSC President) and Major General (rtd) Norman McLean as well as the Wife of the late Richard ‘Dickie’ Fields (former Vice President & Team Captain), that the accomplishment of the HoF was a dream come true.
Slowe noted that there would have been talk of the initiative for many years but it has finally taken flight in Guyana.
President of the WIFBSC Major General Retired John Nelson was also high in praise for the efforts of the council in finally making the initiative, reality. Nelson also received the plaque on behalf of Jamaican inductee Hugh Tomlinson, while Barbadian Rifle Association Executive Richard Arthur collected on behalf of Bajan Milton Tucker.
Following are the citations on four of the five inductees:
Ret Major General Norman Gordon Mc Lean, MSS
Retired Major General Norman Gordon Mc Lean was the third Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force. He was appointed President of the Guyana National Rifle Association in 1979 and served in this capacity for eleven years.
Mc Lean started his shooting career at the venerable Thomas Lands range in Georgetown. The same range that was responsible for providing the foundation for some of Guyana’s finest marksmen in the 1950s, 60s and beyond. As a member of the British Guiana Volunteer Force, Norman Mc Lean benefitted from expert and enthusiastic mentorship from his uncle and another accomplished target shooter Mohamed Alli.
He was however not destined to make his mark as a sharpshooter with a target rifle but rather as an astute administrator who recognised the limiting factors ascending to the next level of achievement for the GNRA and leading the V bull charge to remedy those deficiencies.
Coincidently another Caribbean sport benefitted tremendously from the administrative qualities of General Mc Lean. That sport is cricket and they may yet need his skills to regain the glory that we were all once accustomed to.
In the early 1980s Mc Lean managed the GNRA’s team to the West Indies Fullbore championships hosted by Jamaica. The result even after some sterling individual performances by team members was that Guyana was soundly trounced in the long range team match. This circumstance so galled General Mc Lean that he convened a soul-searching meeting of the team to uncover the root cause of the result.
The undisputed culprit was identified as the absence of a 1000 yards shooting range for the team to hone their skills at practice. The existing situation in the Caribbean was that only Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had 1000 yards ranges.
They therefore were always better prepared to compete at the longer ranges hence their dominance. General Mc Lean then took the decision to have the range at Timehri extended to accommodate the 1000 yards shooting bank.
This was no easy feat. General Mc Lean in his no-nonsense leadership style brought his considerable administrative skills to bear and assigned the task of constructing the 1000 yards bank to the Commanding Officer of the Engineer Battalion of the Guyana Defence Force.
With close supervision the task was completed. The General not only provided guidance and administrative support, but he was physically present during each phrase of the work from the surveying, to the clearing, the building of the banks and the final landscaping.
The result of his efforts is the beautiful and sometimes mercurial Timehri Rifle Ranges which has won the admiration of many a visitor for its challenging weather.
This facility owes its existence to the singular vision and considerable effort of Retired Major General Norman Mc Lean. The team and individual achievements of the Guyana National Rifle Association both in the Caribbean and further afield can be undisputedly credited to the excellent but challenging conditions of the Timehri Ranges, that once mastered guarantees success elsewhere.
The Timehri Rifle Ranges therefore stands as testimony that not only good shooters make rifle shooting great but excellent administrators with considerable foresight and administrative skills are a requirement to create lasting infrastructure that would stand the test of time for the continued acknowledgement of future champions.
Neville Stanislaus Denny
Uncle Neville was born on August 5, 1933 in Bishop Street, Georgetown, Guyana. He was the second of six children. Because his father was a police officer who was transferred to many parts of Guyana, Mr. Denny attended several Primary Schools in districts where his father worked. He later attended the St. Stanislaus College, and the Government Technical Institute.
After school, Mr. Denny first worked at the Mackenzie Bauxite Company as a Store keeper. In March of 1956 he joined the British Guiana Police Force, where he spent 10 years, mainly at the Police Communications Branch. He resigned from the force in 1964 with the rank of Inspector.
After deciding to make a career change, Mr. Denny trained at American Motor Company and was employed as a Manager at Sanbach Parker. As one who constantly seeks new challenges Mr. Denny moved to the Bank of Guyana in 1966, there he held the position of Security and Maintenance Officer. He retired from the Bank of Guyana in 1993 as the Director of Maintenance and Security.
Mr. Denny was always fascinated with shooting. He started shooting Smallbore in 1957, and was introduced to Fullbore shooting in 1957 by Superintendent of Police Freddie Cannon. His first instructor was the legendary Mohammed Ali.
At that time technical training for young shooters was done at British Guyana Volunteer Forces Headquarters, which was located in Eve Leary where we now have the Police Sports Club. Fullbore shooting was done on Saturdays at Thomas land, which is now the Army Headquarters (Camp Ayangana).
Mr. Denny fondly tells of his first rifle, which he got in the 1960s from C.C. Allen, himself an outstanding shooter, and which was bought from Fulton at Bisley. Uncle Neville recalls winning his first major trophy in 1960; that trophy was presented to him by Governor Ralph Grey.
Mr. Denny was a regular fixture in the Guyana shooting team. He was also a member of the first West Indies Fullbore shooting team, which went to Bisley in 1985. Throughout his illustrious career, Mr. Denny won all the challenge trophies that were on offer. At one meeting he managed to capture all the first prizes. He was also an excellent shot with the .38 and .357 revolvers, which were the handguns of choice during that time.
Apart from his considerable shooting skills, he was also an outstanding administrator. He was for a number of years a Vice President of the GuyanaNRA, and was one of the earliest Presidents of the West Indies Fullbore Shooting Council. He was also a long serving member of the Guyana Amateur Athletics Association.
Neville is also responsible for unearthing, many local shooters the likes of Paul Slowe, Ransford Goodluck, Lennox Braithwaite and Ryan Sampson, among many others. Neville is regarded as the godfather and grandfather of many of the current crop of rifle shooters.
Despite his advancing age, Mr. Denny has maintained an interest in the sport, and would frequently make contact with members to be updated on what is happening on and off the range.
Richard Berkeley Fields aka ‘Dickie’
Richard Berkeley Fields better known as ‘Dickie’ Fields was born in the then British Guiana in May, 1938. He attended Queen’s College where he later became a member of the QC Cadet Corps.
It was here that he was introduced to fullbore Target Rifle shooting. The ranges then, were located at Thomas Lands, the same location on which stands the present Guyana Defence Force Headquarters. I remember him talking about cleaning the ammunition as a member of that cadet corps and the guys having fun just being around the shooters.
The shooting bug had bitten him and subsequently on his return from the United Kingdom where he went to study law he became a member of the Guyana National Rifle Association. As a shooter he gained prominence through dedication, sacrifice and hard work. As captain and vice president of the Guyana NRA, he gained the respect of all with his determination, analytical mind and softly spoken words of advice.
While being a long standing vice president of the GuyanaNRA, Richard Fields was also a Life member of the Surrey Rifle Club at Bisley and a vice president of the British Commonwealth Rifle Club. Two of the oldest and most highly respected Shooting Clubs in the United Kingdom.
Shooting was not just a hobby for my dad; it became an integral part of his life. He introduced and encouraged shooters, including myself (Dylan Fields), to try shooting at Bisley which tests your skills to the maximum, and he is one of only a few Guyanese to have made the Queens Final.
He was a very good shooter, one that you can certainly rely on in a team match. If he dropped a point early on in the shoot, he was very capable of ensuring that he lost no other. If he thought that he was not on form or not shooting as he should, and would be a hindrance to the team, he would ask not to be selected, that was the type of team player he was.
Richard Fields is one of only TWO Caribbean shooters and the only Guyanese to have shot a 150 out of 150 in the West Indies Short Range team match. This feat he achieved at the tricky Timehri range.
It was the hope of members of the Guyana NRA that Richard Fields would have been here that night to be inducted into the WIFBSC Hall of Fame; sadly he fired his final VEE BULL on earth and was called to higher service just over a month ago.
MILTON G. Tucker
Milton Tucker of Barbados was one of the truly outstanding shooters that came out of the West Indies. Not only was he a great shooter, he was also an outstanding individual and administrator.
Milton was the person responsible for the formation of the West Indies Fullbore Shooting Council.
In his prime, Tucker made annual trips to Bisley and regularly featured in the prize list. Indeed Milton was responsible for organizing the first fully represented West Indies Team to Bisley in 1985.
Many of the shooters present here tonight, such as John Nelson, Norris Gomes, Paul Slowe and Ransford Goodluck were part of that ground breaking team.For many years the winner of the 600 yards shoot during the WIFBSC meeting was awarded the Milton Tucker Trophy.
It was the unanimous decision of the WIFBSC Hall of Fame Committee that Milton Tucker must be one of the first inductees to the West Indies Fullbore Shooting Council Hall of Fame.
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