Russell Crowe and his merry men made a spectacular display of medieval warfare as filming for the Robin Hood blockbuster gathers pace.

The Oscar-winning Australian actor Crowe cut a fiercesome figure astride a white stallion, as he led an army of men on Freshwater West beach.

A cast of hundreds took part in the big budget battle scene, including many local men who auditioned at Pembroke Dock’s Technium Centre last month.

Also contracted to work as extras were members of local rowing clubs, to take charge of the numerous longboats which play a crucial role in the scenes as the soldiers reach land.

However, catastrophe struck when two of the purpose-built landing crafts ran aground on the sand at Freshwater West, last Wednesday.

Although the huge craft were being rowed to shore along with the longboats, they were also powered by large Verado engines. On approaching the shoreline, the bottom of one vessel struck the beach and badly damaged its engines.

Luckily, help was at hand when a team from Neyland boat maintenance firm Quadra Boats, was tasked to the scene.

“We are one of only two firms in south Wales qualified to deal with that sort of engine,” said technician Jonathan Dudley, who was called to the set with his colleague Alex Jones.

“It was a massive setback for the crew and it could have really held up filming. We went flat out to help them and we had to get new engines down. Considering the size of the engines they needed it was quite amazing that they were in stock in Britain.”

Jonathan and Alex were called to the set on Wednesday and got to work refitting the new engines at the Port of Pembroke on Thursday.

“We had a chat with the boys who worked on set over dinner on the Thursday and they’ve been back two or three times since for bits and bobs,” said Jonathan.

“When I see the film now, we’ll be able to say that we helped to make that scene go ahead,” he added.

Meanwhile, heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones took the opportunity to visit the set during a visit to Pembrokeshire last week.

During his visit, he met with the producer, Charlie Schlissel, along with Rhiannon Tate, an up-and-coming talent who had secured a job on set after winning a Visit Wales film competition.

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