Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company
ENewsletter Edition No 16

August 2015
In This Issue
Anniversary Message
Did You Know?
Gunners Around the Nation
Firepower: History Seminar Series
Meet the Directors
Featured Article
Artillery Badge Rotating 

Meet the Directors
This edition we introduce Brigadier Vince Williams, CSC (Retired) the RAAHC/SHIFT Liaison.
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Dear Gunners (Readers) -

WELCOME TO AIRBURST NO 16 - August 2015,

It has been a quiet period since our last Airburst in May. The first Firepower Seminar was conducted on 13 May at ADFA. The topic was

Command, Control and Communication Challenges at Anzac. The speakers were  Brigadier Chris Roberts, RAINF (retd), Major Darryl Kelly, RAA, Commander David Stevens, RANR, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Moody, RNZRA and  Brigadier Muhammad Asghar, PA. The seminar was hosted by Major General Steve Gower, AO, AO(Mil) the Patron of the RAAHC.



    L to R  Commander Stevens,Major Kelly, s, RANR, Lieutenant Colonel Bob Moody, RNZRA and  Brigadier Muhammad Asghar.


Papers can be accessed on the RAAHC website.


The 18 Pounder ANZAC Centenary Gun was on display in the foyer of the theatre.


The next seminar is to be held in the  Sister Alice Ross-King theatre, ADFA Auditorium from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm 26 August 2015. The title is   Suvla Bay / August Offensive. 


Researcher Doctor Rhys Crawley, Australian National University

Major Paul Harris, Royal Australian Artillery

Associate Professor Mesut Uyar, University of New South Wales

Researcher and former Gunner, Major General Paul Stevens

as your Host and also Presenter

On the 5 June 2015 at the Federal Golf Club about 50 members of the Canberra Gunner Community welcomed the newest officer graduates to the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery. The seven graduates from RMC had received their postings; 1 Regiment, 4 Regiment and 8/12 Regiment with two to 20 Surveillance and Acquisition Regiment and another to to 16 Air Land Regiment. Each graduate was presented with a lanyard and a regimental tie by individual sponsors and each received a Gunner Badge provided by the Australian Artillery Association. Josh Chambers presented with his tie by Frank Colley
Above: Graduate Joss Chambers receives his tie and lanyard from Frank Colley with CAPT Brendon Gledhill the MC in the background   


The autumn edition of the RAA Liaison Letter has been circulaed and can be found on the website. CLICK HERE. 



Ian Ahearn
Deputy Chair
raaanniversarymessageHead of Regiment
RAA Anniversary Message 2015


The Head of Regiment Brigadier P.C. Gates, AM, CSM released an RAA Anniversary Message in late July 2015.


View RAA Anniversary Message for 2015

DidYouKnowDid You Know?


Did You Know:   The Victoria Cross Medals. Victoria Cross medals are manufactured by the British company Hancock's the Jewellers and legend has it that the crosses are produced from metal taken from Russian guns captured by the British, at Sebastopol, during the Crimean War. However, whilst it is probable that the original crosses were made from gun mental, there are no records to substantiate where the metal came from.


The original block of metal was used-up by 1914 and Hancock's then asked the War Office for a replacement source. The Office, to keep the myth of the medals being made from captured Russian guns alive, decided to obtain the needed metal from some British held enemy-captured guns and, as a result, the War Office chose two Chinese guns that had been captured in 1860 at the Taku Forts in China; the guns' cascabels were then removed and sent to Hancock's.


Since 1914 some 840 crosses have been made from the two cascabels and the remaining 16 kilograms of metal is estimated to produce a further 50 to 60 crosses.

AroundTheNationGunners Around the Nation

View the latest Newsletters from various Artillery associations around the nation:

RAA Association of WA & RAA Historical Society of WA - Newsletter
RAA Association Victoria Newsletter - Cascabel

Locating Surveillance and Target Acquisition Association - Newsletter

12th Field Regiment (Vietnam) Association  - Bulletin No 36

131 Locators Association - Newsletter
firepowerFirepower: History Seminar Series
Seminar 1 Debrief                   


The first of eleven Seminars of the Firepower History Seminar Series was held on Wed 15 May at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. 


The seminar went very well, and met all expectations.  It was great to have both the calibre of speakers that we had, as well as the very special contribution provided by Major General Steve Gower as compere and host.


We were very happy with the quality and the diversity of the presentations, and how each explored a very different but equally relevant aspect of the Anzac landing.  The presentations were candid, objective and professional in their calibre, but equally entertaining and informative in their content and presentation.


Having the Kiwi and Indian Army perspectives told were very special treats - they and the Naval Gunfire Support presentations ensured we all considered the wider challenge.  Similarly, understanding how firepower was integrated with manoeuvre was equally critical as a context for understanding its role in the campaign.  Finally, learning about the human face of firepower and the exploits, heroism and service of gunners was a sobering recollection of the depth of sacrifice that is such a fundamental part of our shared history and heritage.


I am confident we are on track to have a really profound and enriching story told about the evolution of firepower during the Great War, as we proceed through the eleven-seminar series.  The lessons on what was important then and what remains important now are already evident, after this first seminar.


For those who missed the event, we will soon be hosting audio and video podcasts of the presentations and the plenary on the RAAHC website, along with copies of the papers and the PowerPoint presentations.  But the next one is not far off - and is scheduled for Wed 26 Aug, again at ADFA.


 To access the papers for this first seminar Seminar 1 Papers





Nick Floyd, Firepower Project Director

meetthedirectorsMeet the Directors

In this edition of Airburst we introduce Brigadier Vince Williams, CSC (Retired) who is the RAAHC/SHIFT Liaison.

Below Vince provides a brief bio and an overview of his involvement in the RAAHC and the projects he is involved in:

"The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) is the custodian of a number of former Army and Navy sites of historical significance around Sydney Harbour.  One of the most important is the North Head site of the former School of Artillery, including the North Fort precinct.   SHFT is consequently an important stakeholder in the RAAHC because the North Fort precinct includes Australia's Memorial Walk (AMW), which we are still developing and maintaining; the Defence of Sydney Museum, including equipment on loan from the Company; the Sir Roden Cutler VC Research Centre and Library and the North Head Visitors Centre, which h includes the Whitelaw Room named by SHFT in honour of that distinguished RAA family. The Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Mr Bob Baldwin MP, formally opened the latter three sites on 21 May 2015.  As further evidence of the strong RAAHC/SHFT relationship our Chairman, Major General Tim Ford, AO (Retired), was invited to address formally the 21 May gathering.


The key role that I have as a member of the RAAHC Board is to facilitate the active interaction between SHFT and the Company on a regular basis.  The Liaison role is one that I have undertaken since joining the RAAHC Board in 2010.  Some of the outcomes of this active facilitation include the Dedication of the AMW in December 2012, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between SHFT and the RAAHC, which provides the RAAHC with rent-free facilities at North Fort, including the new Library building.  It was also in these rent-free facilities where the impressive restoration of the ANZAC Centennial Gun occurred. 


The relationship is certainly a mutually beneficial one and it means that the RAAHC participation is wider than North Fort and includes all SHFT's former artillery sites around the Harbour.  In addition to my liaison role I therefore also sit on SHFT's Community Advisory Committee and a historical sub-committee, which they have established.  More latterly Tim Ford and I also assisted SHFT with an advertising campaign which sort to find tenants to occupy the newly refurbished 1 and 3 St Barbara's Avenue homes Tim occupied when his father was Commanding Officer/Chief Instructor (CO/CI) in the mid1950s and which my family and I lived in when I was CO/CI in 1991/92.


I have taken a particularly active interest in RAA historical matters since retiring in 2007 and settling on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. That should be no surprise because I spent eight years of my military service at North Head, not including courses.  This involved three years as an Instructor in Gunnery (IG) after attending 16 Gunnery Staff Course in the UK; two years as the Senior Instructor Gunnery in Gunnery Wing, after Staff College; a year as the SO1 (Artillery) at the newly relocated Directorate of Artillery; and two years as the CO/CI.  This appointment also included the additional role as the Deputy Chairman of the RAA Historical Society.  The dedication of those early volunteers, determined to protect and maintain the heritage of the RAA, impressed me greatly and I was delighted to become a Life Governor of the Society.  The Regiment and I then parted company for a number of years but I never lost interest in RAA affairs and in 2001 I was privileged to become Head of Regiment, shortly after taking command of the Land Warfare Development Centre, in Puckapunyal.  This was a role I then maintained for just under two years, except for a seven-month break in 2002 when I was fortunate to command the Sector West brigade on operations in East Timor.  When I returned to Australia in 2007, following a three-year tour as Head of the Australian Defence Staff and Defence Adviser to the UK, NATO and the EU, I retired from the Army.  However, I was determined to give something back to the Regiment, which had done so much for me over 33 years of commissioned service.  I consequently accepted an invitation from Tim Ford, as the then Representative Colonel Commandant, to become the Regimental Committee's representative on the RAA Museum's Advisory Committee.  When the museum vacated North Fort it then became only a small step to join the RAAHC Board in 2010 and the rest is history."