Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company
ENewsletter Edition No 15

May 2015
In This Issue
131 Div Loc Bty Commemorative Plaque
History Seminar Series
Did You Know?
Gunners Around the Nation
Professional Online Photo Gallery
Meet the Directors
4th Regiment 55th Anniversary
Featured Article
Artillery Badge Rotating 

History Seminar Series
The RAAHC is conducting a history seminar series entitled: Firepower: Lessons from the Great War
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Dear Gunners (Readers) -


Welcome to Airburst No 15. We have achieved the initial step for the 18 Pounder Project!  On a beautiful Canberra morning the gun and limber led the National ANZAC Day march onto the Australian War Memorial parade ground. The Canberra Times photograph below shows the moment.


A sight to move any gunner.


Thanks must go to all the volunteers who worked so hard to make the vision a reality. The Restoration Team and the Horse Team are to be congratulated for a mighty effort that has seen the vision realised. 


On the way to ANZAC Day we were fortunate to have the Governor General welcome the gun and horse team to Canberra. The welcome was conducted at Fairbairn on the 15 March. WE are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Canberra Airport management and staff through Mr Terry Snow. Our particular thanks go to Stephen Byron, CEO Canberra Airport Precinct, Mathew Brown, Head of Aviation, Richard Phillips. Manager Aviation Projects , Jo Lomas, Manager Commhearnercial Properties and all the willing staff who provided such outstanding efforts. 



Ian Ahearn, Kevin Browning, Jim Frecklington and the Governor General

Canberra Times


  The Team preparing to meet and greet Sir Peter and Lady Cosgove
Paul Sadler

The gun is now on display in the arrivals lounge of Canberra Airport while the horse team is resting at Burra and in a paddock at Fairbairn.

The next appearance of the gun only will be at the RAAHC History Seminar to be held at the Australian Defence Force Academy on 13 May 2015. Click here to learn more about tis History Seminar Series.

Thanks to a massive effort from the project staff and the financial support from individuals, Gunner groups and companies we have completed the first major milestone. We will continue to  proide the Team to support ANZAC Centennial events until 2018 provided that we continue to receive  donations. Any donations gratefully accepted-spread the word and let's build on success.

The next events are planned for Bowral and the Hunter Valley in September/October. If you know of any events that may want to display the gun with or without the Horse Team let us know. The only cost to an organiser will be the cost of transport and horse maintenance.

Ian Ahearn
Deputy Chair
divisionallocatingbattery131 Divisional Locating Battery Association
Commemorative Plaque Dedication Ceremony

The 131st Divisional Locating Battery Association  will hold a Commemorative Plaque Dedication Ceremony on Monday 4th May 2015 commencing at 1100 hours at the Vietnam Veterans Commemoration Walk in High Street, Seymour, Victoria.

Those attending are requested to wear medals and ribbons. 

Below is an image of the Commemorative Plaque.

historyseminarseriesHistory Seminar Series
Firepower: Lessons from the Great War                   


The RAAHC is conducting a history seminar series entitled: Firepower: Lessons from the Great WarFirepower aims to reignite passion and interest in the profession of Artillery, and is designed to coincide with and complement the Centenary of Anzac commemorative activities scheduled from 2015-2018.


The Series' central theme is Firepower, and how it was generated during the Great War.   Firepower's sub-themes explore the relevant technology, the evolution of all-arms cooperation, the birth of joint fires coordination, and the human stories of soldiers and commanders.


The RAAHC is seeking contribution from professional and amateur historians alike in support of the Series theme and topics. More information may be found here on the RAAHC website. 

DidYouKnowDid You Know?


Did You Know:   The White Lanyard.   

The lanyard was originally a piece of cord, approximately a metre in length, used to secure a jack-knife which was issued to both the artillery and the cavalry. The knife had a number of uses: the blade was for cutting-loose horses which became entangled in the head and heel ropes of the picket lines, and the spike of the knife was used as a hoof pick for the removal of stones from horses' hooves. A fuze key was also attached to the lanyard.

Hanging loose, the lanyard soon became dirty and for the day-to-day barrack routine it looked out of place on an otherwise smart uniform. So, for peacetime purposes, the lanyard was plaited and blenched white, to match both the white bandolier and the white waist belt worn by the gunners of the day. In 1920 the lanyard was moved from the left to the right shoulder, simply to solve the problem of trying to remove the knife from the pocket behind the bandolier (as a tradition, A Battery continued to wear the lanyard on the left shoulder).

There is another item of dress which is often confused with the lanyard, the aiguillette. The aiguillette was originally a piece of cord worn by the cavalry, for the sole purpose of tying-up bundles of forage.

AroundTheNationGunners Around the Nation

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

Locating Surveillance and Target Acquisition Association - Newsletter

12th Field Regiment (Vietnam) Association  - Bulletin No 34

131 Locators Association - Newsletter
photogalleryRAAHC Professional Online Photo Gallery

The RAAHC has now launched a new service by way of a professional online Photo Gallery.   The Photo Gallery has the capability of delivering Photo Galleries then Photo Albums within the Gallery and onto sub Photo Albums within the Albums should the need arise thereby enabling Galleries to be dedicated to a Regiment then over time within a specific Regiments Photo Gallery there would be many topic specific sub photo albums.


The RAAHC Photo Gallery has an unlimited capacity for both photographs and video.  There is however limits on the size of each which are:


Photographs - cannot exceed 50 mb per photograph/image (that is right 50 mb each)


Video - a maximum of 10 minutes viewing time per video is permitted


The RAAHC Photo Gallery will enable the RAAHC to display a wide range of images and videos from the current serving in addition to displaying many items from within the Library which have not seen the light of day for many years.


Should an individual have a significant number of photographs on their person computer then the simplest way to upload the photos is to contact the Webmaster who will forward you a short term password and instructions on how to log into the specific Photo Album then you will be able to upload those photos direct from your computer.


The RAAHC also offers everyone the opportunity to have their very own personal Photo Album, free of any charges, where you can deposit a copy of all you photos taken throughout your service for display for all to enjoy.  To request a personal photo album please contact the Webmaster for further details.   So now is the time to rummage through those cupboards and draws and put together your personal photo album.


View the Photo Gallery or to access the Photo Gallery via the website click on the "What We Offer" navigation tab then select Photo Gallery. 


We hope you enjoy the Photo Gallery service.

MeettheDirectorsMeet the Directors

In this edition of Airburst we introduce Brigadier John Cox, AM (Retired) who is the Chairman of the RAAHC Historical Committee.  

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

John Cox, AM
The History Committee aims to meet the Company's Objective of preserving the history and heritage of Australian artillery and be 'First for information on Australian Artillery'. We work closely with the RAA Regimental Committee and its History Sub Committee (HSC)


The History Committee receives and responds to several hundred inquiries for historical information each year, relying on a network of knowledgeable volunteers and a specialist library of artillery information to answer inquiries.  We aim to be highly responsive; most inquiries are responded to in less than two weeks. Beyond specific requests, hundreds more visit the Company website to obtain direct access to historical information.


The Committee employs and continually improves website content to provide basic historical information, and improve ease of access to information for any visitor.  The digitisation of all past Cannonball historical journals so they can be searched is a major improvement under development. Additionally Obituaries, Memorials, Artillery Register, Honours and Awards, and Abbreviations and Acronym resources provide examples of the increased availability of historical information directly available to anyone interested in artillery heritage and history.


My interest in supporting artillery history activities developed later in my military career.  I began to recognise the importance of the availability of historical information for three broad groups.  First - retired gunners.  Their lives can be defined in large part by their training, gunner camaraderie and experiences. They seek to broaden their understanding of an important part of their lives, and enjoy contributing to the Regiment. Second - relatives of former gunners.  Family genealogists mostly seek to understand what a relative did and what they experienced during their service as a gunner.  Third - serving Members of the Regiment.  Serving gunners are at times inspired to understand the lineage of the unit in which they are a member, or wish to know more about key individuals who are 'legends' in the oral lore of the Regiment.


From a personal perspective, my namesake, great uncle Roby Marchant MM served with 18 Battery AFA on 18 Pounder guns on the Western Front.  The family connection no doubt had an influence on my commitment to recording and making available the history of The Regiment.


I served in the Permanent Army from 1968 to 2003, and again in 2007/2008; and continue to serve as a Reserve Member specialising in implementing improved governance and management of Defence's total workforce. I Commanded 8th/12th Medium Regiment at Holsworthy in 1991-1992, and was Director of Artillery at North Head 1993-1995. While Director, I was Chairman of the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society. After being asked by The Honourable Tony Abbott MP, Federal Member for Warringah, about options for a 1995 'Australia Remembers' project, I conceived of and lead the building of the 'Defence of Sydney Monument' at North Head. The experience taught me much about the importance of heritage and history to the community, and about working with volunteers. I became a Life Governor of the RAAHS/RAAHC in 1993, and Chairman of the History Sub Committee of the RAA Regimental Committee in 2008.

regiment44th Regiment 55th Anniversary

On Saturday the 2 May 2015 the 4th Regiment celebrated its 55th Anniversary with a mounted parade followed by a performance of the 1812 with 4 guns on the parade ground providing the cannon fire.  The music was performed by the band of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.

Earlier in the day the Regiment opened its doors with an Open Day with their equipment proudly on display for guest, family and friends to view.

Overall the entire weekend was a huge success enjoyed by everyone in attendance and a hearty congratulations must to the Commanding Officer, Officer, Men and Women of the 4th Regiment.

To view pictures of the entire weekend along with a number of small videos of the mounted parade and the 1813 visit the newly created RAAHC Photo Gallery within which an album has been dedicated to the 4th Regiment's 55th Anniversary.