Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company
ENewsletter Edition No 10

April 2014
In This Issue
Did You Know?
Gunners Around the Nation
Colonel Commandants
A Gunner's Poem
Information Sought
Directors' Update - Honorary Secretary
Book - Battle Winners
RAA Association ACT - Welcome
Featured Article
Artillery Badge Rotating 
Written by Murray Quinlan who was a Bombardier with 161 Divisional Locating Battery during the period 1977 - 1983....
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Dear Gunners (Readers) -

We strive to bring you information about the activities of the RAAHC, Gunner associations around the nation and today's Gunners but a newsletter is only as good as the information provided.  Please feel free to contact the Webmaster with any item or event you wish to have published and we will do our best to include it. 

The ANZAC Centenary 18 Pounder Project continues to progress and although we have received some very generous donations from a number of Gunner associations we still struggle to attract individual donations from RAAHC members and the Gunner community at large.  A conservative estimate would put the number of Gunners, retired and serving, at at least 5,000. Ten dollars from each would certainly give the project a kick along! So pass the word instead of the ammunition!

We have sourced three horses for the project and have four"recruits" interested in volunteering as detachment members. The gun restoration at North Fort is continuing with the latest development the purchase and fitting of new wheels .

This edition of Airburst contains a report by our Honorary Secretary, Peter Lawrence. This is the first article in a series that will provide information on the RAAHC Directors and their activities. I hope we will also be able to get some stories from the volunteers who continue to do a great  job at North Head in our library, as guides and as workers on continuing equipment projects. You can get an idea of what is happening about the latter by reading Peter Lawrence's article below.

Feedback on this publication and the website is vital to us. Please provide any comments, criticisms brickbats and bouquets that you have. 

Ian Ahearn
Deputy Chair
DidYouKnowDid You Know?


Did You Know:   Right of Line:   In the Australian Army the Artillery is not accorded the privilege of Right of the Line; the Australian Corps that has this honour is the Corps of Staff Cadets, followed by the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and then the Gunners. Within the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery regiments take precedence according to numerical order, however, the exception to this rule is A Field Battery, which, if listed on the Order of Battle as an independent unit, has precedence over all other Artillery units.
GunnersAroundTheNationGunners Around the Nation
Newsletters from Other Associations                   
131 Locators Association - Eyes & Ears Newsletter
12 Field Regiment (Vietnam) Association - Info Bulletin No 23
A Field Battery Association - February Newsletter
104 Field Battery Association - Germ Journal Newsletter March 2014
RAA Association SA - Newsletter March 2014
GunnersAroundTheNationRepresentative Colonel  Commandants & Colonel Commandants 

The Representative Colonel Commandant and Colonel Commandant section of the website has now been established and we have added as many past incumbents as we have been able to identify from past editions of the Liaison Letter.
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated to help us identify as many past Representative Colonel Commandants or Colonel Commandants.  If you have any information please contact the Webmaster direct.
Thank you!
PoemA Gunner's Poem
Always a Gunner by Murray Quinlan

Murray Quinlan was a Bombardier with 161 Divisional Locating Battery RAA between 1977 and 1983. He regarded his time as a Gunner a special experience and as an expresion of Esprit de Corps he has dedicated the following poem to the RAA.

The FO on the spurline, glasses to his eye
Our guns a thousand yards behind, barrels to the sky
"Fire Mission Battery" the call we've waited for
Once a start to practice, now a call to war

Gunners bred of every rank, race to ready guns
Art sigs and plotters, hats on number one's
Elevation 38, traverse to 319
Range set at 5500, as we bring the six in line

Bubble line bubble, level on ready,our drill has made us keen
The charge is set, the bearing checked, the round is punched home clean
"At my command" the one's  all hear, bush hats o the spike
One round, adjust fire, crackles loudly on the mike

"Fire over ", "Fire out" the voices work as one
"Shot over", "Shot out" is echoed by the guns
FO calls, hats back on, six rounds fire for 
Cordite clouds, lanyard foul, two gun won't eject

The gunners aim is deadly and the rounds all find their mark
The target more than neutralised, a silence now like dark
"good shooting" calls the FO so we clean and prep the gun
When next were called from stand down by the Fire Mission Run

A gunner then, a gunner now and always shall I be
Proud of the white lanyard, and the Corp of Artillery
The Badge's gallant motto, the gunner's lifelong creed
"Whrever in right and glory", I know that "I shall lead"

Information Sought


We have received a request for information regarding the German V2 rocket that was mounted near the Guard Room at Holsworthy - see below:


I believe the Royal Australian Artillery would have had members that were stationed at Holsworthy in the 1960's early 70's period.

I am searching for accounts and particularly photographic evidence of the German V2 rocket that was mounted near the guard house.

I would be keen to hear if any members were involved in handling the rocket.

I suspect it may have been painted by servicemen and its road trailer sold off during the 1960's.

It would seem it was painted some time after receiving it and again before being sent to RAAF Point Cook.


Point Cook museum inform me they received it in 1972.   I am particularly interested to know about the removal of its internal workings and its Vidalwagen road trailer and their fate.


Anyone able to assist Dan Druzynski with his quest for information should contact him direct via email.






DirectorsUpdateDirectors' Update - Honorary Secretary

Sadly the role of the RAAHC Secretary is fairly dull and pretty much the same as other organisations' secretaries. So, as I also volunteer at North Fort, North Head-Manly, I will summarise some of the refurbishment projects being undertaken and perhaps entice members to join our teams.


There are two workshops at North Head: the Armco and North Head. The Armco team recently refurbished a 25 Pounder for Manly Council (see sep arate report) and I'll let them report on their projects separately. Both workshops are under the management, and are located in facilities, of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT). The intention is to co-locate both workshops at the Armco in the future. Our refurbishment work directly supports the SHFT as the equipment will be displayed in a Defence of Sydney Museum to be established at North Fort by SHFT.


The North Head Team is currently refurbishing a Bar and Stroud 30 foot Box Range Finder, originally off the HMAS Sydney and subsequently used for coastal ranging finding. It was recovered from Katoomba in the Blue Mountains where it was a tourist attraction. The project has involved the complete stripping down of the equipment and refurbishment of the optic s.




An other, project nearing completion is the Twin 6 Pdr Anti Motor Torpedo Gun, originally located at Fort Lytton but identical to a gun sited to defend Middle Head, Sydney during World War 2.




As many of the guns' and range finder's parts are missing, the team (significantly our retired toolmaker, Ray Franklin) has had to reproduce a number of replacement components.




Our carpenters are presently building a gun carriage from the original drawing for a short 12 pounder smoothbore gun


This is a brief glimpse of the activities of one of the teams at North Head. Mechanical skills are welcome but not necessary, as evidenced by a few retired officers who volunteer. More importantly volunteers only need enthusiasm and an interest preserving our artillery heritage. If you are interested and have a few free hours a week or just wish to visit the workshops please drop in (Wed - North Fort and Thu - Armco). Alternatively, click here to make an enquiry.


Peter Lawrence


Book - Battle Winners
Authored by Alan H. Smith


A book by Alan Smith who joined the Royal Australian Artillery in 1951.   He was commissioned in 1954 and his service includes time with the British and Canadian Artillery.   Alan retired in 1969.


Alan Smith has written extensively on Australian Artillery history and was the assistant then editor of Cannonball the Journal of the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company from 1993 to 2013.




Battle Winners  is a vibrant and detailed account of the extraordinary battles of the Australian 6th and 9th Division six field artillery regiments against the Italian Army and Afrika Korps in the unforgiving terrain of the Western Desert from 1940 to 1942.

It traces the 6th Division's advance to Benghazi, the legendary Siege of Tobruk and their 'bush artillery' of the 9th Division, closing with the bloody finale that was Second El Alamein against a battle-hardened foe.



raaassociationactRAA Association ACT - Welcome


Dear fellow Gunners,


For those Gunners first posted or returning to the ACT region, welcome.  The RAA Association (ACT) seeks to provide a means through which all Gunners - serving and ex-serving, full or part time - may establish new links, stay in touch with colleagues, and act in unison to remember those who depart.  In particular, the Association acts on behalf of the wider Gunner community to welcome new Graduands from the Royal Military College - Duntroon to the Royal Regiment, and to coordinate the annual RAA Anzac Day Service at the RAA National Memorial on the summit of Mt Pleasant.  It also acts as a means to provide news of current Gunner affairs and mater of historical significance.  The Association also extends a sincere welcome to families of Gunners, as well as Gunners from other nations who may be serving in the area.


This first missive for 2014 sets out the planned activities and events for the RAA Association (ACT) for 2014 (including the first event - being Autumn Drinks on Wed 9 Apr), and introduces the current appointment holders of the RAA Association (ACT) Committee.  Finally, the latest RAAHC Newsletter Airburst, is attached.