Farewell to a Shoot­ing MAN of kent

Shooting Times & Country Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

Ben Gaskin, born in 1932 in Whitstable, has sadly passed away af­ter hav­ing spent 66 years pur­su­ing shoot­ing sports. He started his shoot­ing life in the Royal Navy (1952-1963) with ri­fle shoot­ing and clearly had some en­thu­si­asm for it. As the Chief Petty Of­fi­cer (ERA 1) on HMS Vi­dal, he or­gan­ised shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tions against the lo­cal en­thu­si­asts in the West Indies, where the ves­sel was largely em­ployed.

By 1963 he was mar­ried and his sec­ond born was on the way, so he left the navy and joined St Au­gus­tine’s Home Guard Ri­fle Club (Na­tional Small-bore Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion) in Herne Bay, where he was a mem­ber un­til the end. This led to meet­ing like-minded sport­ing gents and join­ing the Thorn­den Wood shoot, a DIY shoot with more than 30 mem­bers shoot­ing over 1,500 acres of mixed wood­land. At this time the first of a con­tin­ual line of Labradors — plus one errant Jack Rus­sell — joined the fam­ily.

Thorn­den Wood changed sta­tus to a ver­min shoot in the 1980s and led to the be­gin­ning of a series of pheas­ant and wild­fowl syn­di­cates around Can­ter­bury and Dover. He took up stalk­ing, prin­ci­pally in Dorset as a syn­di­cate mem­ber as well as a rov­ing Gun, tak­ing roe and sika. He was hap­pi­est walk­ing the for­est lines with gun and dog, watching the wildlife and hop­ing for a chance.

As a re­sult of stalk­ing he joined two full-bore ri­fle clubs and reg­u­larly shot at Hythe Ranges for ze­ro­ing in or sim­ply the joy of a 300-yard shot, some­thing still achieved over open sites even last year. His last day out was at the range in Fe­bru­ary with his sons and a grand­son.

He was al­ways a mem­ber of BASC, as well as an avid reader of Shoot­ing Times since the 1960s, and shoot­ing was his main­stay for re­lax­ation. A coun­try­man at heart, he was never one for big bags nor chas­ing medals. He owned sev­eral guns but each for only one pur­pose. He could butcher, pre­pare and cook every­thing he shot — even squir­rel that “found its way” into the rab­bit casse­role for a din­ner party. His veni­son medal­lions were most ex­cel­lent. m. Gaskin, by email

Ben Gaskin en­joyed shoot­ing sports for 66 years Yxyxf choice: ian’s se­lec­tion

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