3rd Field Regiment RAA Association
ISSUE No.5 - 1/2002 FEBRUARY 2002
CO’S HOUR (PRESIDENT’S REPORT)
Welcome to the first edition of Take Post for 2002. I was hoping to commence this letter with a report on the success of our first function for this year, the Cocktail party at Hotel Rendezvous planned for the 23rd of February. Unfortunately this is not the case, as due to a dismal response, for the first time in our short history, we were forced to cancel an event.
We as your committee can only be guided by you the member as to how you want our Association run and what events you will support. If the membership continues to vote with their feet we may end up with only two functions a year and they both include marching.
If you have a view on the above please contact me or any member of the Committee so we can better plan for the future.
On to 2002, firstly welcome to the new Battery appointments, BC Major Scott Sullivan, BK Captain Stewart O'Brien, and SMIG WO2 Matt Sullivan. We look forward to working with you through out the year.
Recently the Government announced the approval of the National Service Medal.
If you had an obligation under the National Service Act 1951-1971 and fulfilled that obligation you may be eligible to receive this medal. We have obtained copies of the application form and they are available from the Secretary.
We have also included in this edition the back ground to the Prince of Wales Awards that was not available when we announced that Captain Paul Sofield, a member of 7 Battery had received this award last year. Once again congratulations Paul.
Anzac Day is fast approaching and I would like to encourage you to consider viewing the day from perhaps a different perspective. The social aspects of the day are important and for many are the highlight, a chance to meet old friends, have a beer or two and tell some old stories and generally enjoy the occasion.
A different view and one held by many thousands is that the dawn service and the march are the highlights and the functions afterwards the cream on the cake. While many march to commemorate their own service and that of their mates, many march to commemorate their grand father, father or relative.
I have included a poem that on this theme, and sincerely urge you to march, to not only support your Association but all the Gunners who have served and left us with the proud heritage and traditions that we now enjoy.
Remember if you have a beret wear it.
FROM THE COLONEL COMMANDANT’S DESK
I was very pleased that I was asked to become COLCOMDT RAA WR on my retirement from the Army on 31 Dec 2000. Although a small group when compared to other corps groups, I was always impressed by the solid way in which the Gunner Fraternity in WA got on with things. This is clearly evidenced in the size, scope and uniqueness of the RAA ‘Museum’ collection maintained by the RAAHSWA at Hobbs Artillery Park, Karrakatta under the guidance of Curator, COL Don Rae AM RFD.
I would like to thank my predecessor MAJ Ray Bird who did an outstanding job as our COLCOMDT RAA WR for six years. Ray is now carrying the mantle of President of the RAAA of WA, a role he has taken to with his customary vigor. He and his committee have made some significant restructuring changes that have streamlined our fraternity greatly. Coming off the end of the ‘Year of The Volunteer’ one can only note that Ray is the very epitome of the volunteer; he is an example we could all afford to follow. Thank you Ray and keep up the good work.
Similarly I wish to commend CAPT Peter Rowles and his committee of the 3 Fd Regt RAA Association for the great deal of work done in building that group into a substantial and active body. Thank you Peter and again, keep up the good work.
There are many challenges ahead for our associations and our unit, 7 Fd Bty RAA. I reiterate my previous comments at our dinners last year, that we all need to work hard to find new members or recruits to ensure our presence into the future. I have already found a potential recruit for the unit: have all of you? If you have, look for another one. Laurels are for wearing; not for sitting on! I urge everyone to get in behind our organizations and make sure we continue to grow.
BRIG R A LAWLER AM (RETD)
COLCOMDT RAA WR
BK’S O GROUP (SECRETARY’S REPORT)
Our membership remains constant at 120
The Presidents report covered the committee’s disappointment at the cancellation of the planned Gunners Sunset Buffet at Rendezvous Observation City Hotel on 23/2/02. The committee wish to thank those who did advise they would attend and apologises for any inconvenience.
As Anzac Day 2002 is on a Thursday and therefore not a long weekend, we look forward to a good attendance on this very special day. Please refer to Anzac Day details in this newsletter. All members are urged to contact Gunner mates and also chase up long lost 3rd Fd Regt mates and get them along to the Dawn Service, the March and to Hobbs Artillery Park for fellowship.
Any change to members personal particulars ie, address or phone number please advise Secretary Tom on 9332 3309 or by mail to Secretary 3rd Fd Regt RAA Association PO Box 881 Claremont WA 6910. If you are on email please establish com’s with Secretary Tom on firstname.lastname@example.org
Prince of Wales Award
The purpose of the Prince of Wales Award is to recognize individual excellence both within the service environment and in the civilian employment of Defence Force Reservists. Up to ten awards are issued each year and are open to reservists of the rank of Sergeant to Major.
Winners of the awards may choose to travel to the United Kingdom, the United States of America or Canada on a two week service attachment, followed by involvement with their trade or profession for a further two weeks.
The Prince of Wales endorses the awards, which acknowledge the importance of the Reserves, who comprise about 42 per cent of the Australian Defence.
The National Defence Reserve Support Council (DRSC) meeting and presentation of the Prince of Wales Award were held in Perth last October. FSGT Mick Coombe from 25 SQN, RAAF Pearce and CAPT Paul Sofield were two of the six Reservists to receive the award from a field of 15 national finalists.
The rewards are an initiative of the DRSC and the Citizens in Support of Reserve Forces Trust, and are sponsored by Qantas. DEFCOM and the RSL.
CAPT Paul Sofield has served in the Army Reserve for the past 11 years and is currently employed as a Course Manager for Continuation Training for Staff Cadets in their First Appointment Course at the Western Australian University Regiment. Paul will become a student on the Intermediate Staff Course at Regional Training Centre - Western Australia in January 2002.
In his civilian employment, Paul is a Detective Senior Constable presently stationed at the Wembley Detectives Office. He has had ten years operational experience as both a uniformed and plain-clothes investigator.
Paul proposes to attend the US Army School of Artillery - Fort Sill Oklahoma. His intention is to observe their Combined Arms Warfare operations/doctrine. For his civilian employment Paul will attend the FBI Academy - Quantico Marine Base, Virginia. There he will participate in a basic negotiator course and he believes that the skills learnt will be transferred to other detectives within his district.
I saw a kid a marchin, with medals on his chest.
He marched alongside diggers, marchin six abreast.
He knew it was Anzac Day, he walked along with pride.
He did his best to keep in step, with the Diggers by his side.
And when the march was over, this kid was rather tired.
A Digger said "Whose medals son?" to which the kid replied,
"They belong to me Dad, He did not come back He died up in New Guinea, on a lonely jungle track."
The kid looked rather sad, and then a tear came to his eye,
The Digger said "don't cy son, I'll tell you why."
"Your dad marched with us today, all the bloomin way.
We Diggers knew that he was there, it's like that on Anzac Day.".
The kid looked rather puzzled, He didn't understand,
But the Digger went on talking and started to wave his hand.
"For this great land we live in, there's a price we have to pay,
For we all have fun and merriment, in this country where we live and play.
The price was that some soldier, his precious life must give,
So that boys and girls he left behind still have the right to live.
For you to go to school, my lad, and worship God at will,
Someone had to pay the price, so Diggers paid the bill.
Your dad died for us my son, for all things good and true,
I wonder if you can understand, the things I've said to you."
The kid looked up at the Digger for just a little while,
And with a changed expression said with a lovely smile,
"I know my Dad marched here today; this is our Anzac Day.
I know he did, I know he did, all the bloomin way."
Words by an Author Unknown
7 FD BTY 3 FD REGT 1941
Little has been recorded of the 7th Fd Battery 3 Field Regiment around the middle of October 1941. I like all the other just turned 18 were all called up for military training. We had to report to Claremont and quickly found ourselves on the troop train to Narrogin. We were only just settling in when the Japanese entered the war and our pay books were marked FTD (full time duty). Most had hoped to do the 3 months training and go back to complete their apprenticeships. The only alternative was to volunteer for the AIF, which most did.
The Regiment under Col Clough moved to Northam and then Red Hill. Leave followed. At this stage 3 Field Regiment joined the 1st Armoured Division wearing the green beret and under Red Robbie.
Japanese submarines were heard charging batteries at Wedge Island and an invasion was expected somewhere in this region. 1st Armoured Division supported by 3 Fd Regt were kept in the Moora Geraldton area. The book “The Forgotten Army” records accurately all Divisional and Regimental movements. The invasion never took place as we all now know.
As the war got worse in the islands the 9th Division was brought back to Australia from the Middle East and the 1st Armoured Division was disbanded. Ex members of 3 Fd Regt were sent to Greta Staging Camp in NSW. Canungra jungle training followed and those of us who were lucky enough to go back to artillery, I had been a sig in 3 Fd Regt, joined 2/7th Fd Regt in the Atherton Tablelands as reinforcements.
Next move was to Moriti Islands then Larakan. Finally Victory in the Pacific.
Whilst myself, and the rest of the 18 year olds of 1941, had nearly five years service but less than 6 months overseas. The Pacific Star was awarded to us but not the 39/45 Star. This caused a lot of dissent and finally the Government gave in and issued it to us for just under 6 months service.
All of the old 7Bty 3 Fd Regt performed well with the war seasoned 2/7th Fd Regt and we were all proud to do so. This closed group from 7 Bty have met only once a year, at Christmas for a luncheon. This year appears likely to be the last as time is taking its toll.
Lest We Forget.
(Editor’s note: Thanks Bill for sharing this with us and for passing on our newsletter to the 2/7th members. May you and your mates have many more lunches. )
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY ASSICIATION OF WA (RAAA)
This notice is to all financial and financially affiliated members of the Royal Australian Artillery Association of Western Australia.
The Management Committee of the association decided, at the committee meeting held on the 18th of March 2002 at Anzac House Perth, to rename the Amelioration Fund to the Royal Australian Artillery Association of WA Welfare Fund. (RAAA Welfare Fund). This change was prompted by changes in the Anzac Trust rules and guidelines.
A sub committee of 3 members has been formed to assess requests for allocation of funds. The sub committee will assess each application and provide a recommendation to the Management Committee.
The Sub Committee is as follows:-
Mr. Ron Jager RAAA Chairman H 9457 2166
Mr. Alf Richards 2/7th Member H 9279 1438
Mr. Eric Taylor RAAA Member H 9279 7546
Requests for urgent financial assistance can be made by any ex Gunners or their widows for the allocation of a one off grant.
All requests must be presented on a formal Request For Welfare Support form and forwarded to the Secretary, RAAA, PO Box 881, Claremont WA 6910.
Any queries regarding eligibility for Welfare Fund assistance please call any of the above committee who will be pleased to assist.
GUN SITES AT CAPE PERON 1942—45
A Wartime Legacy After the fall of Singapore in 1941, Cockburn?Sound became a possible site for the British Far East Fleet's new base. Heavy artillery was set up along the coast from Swanbourne to Cape Peron, and on Rottnest and Garden Islands, to protect the proposed anchorage and its approaches.
The Peron or 'K' Battery was begun late in 1942 but never fired an angry shot The war zone moved away from Western Australia and the battery was decommissioned early in 1945.
For many years the Peron Battery's field observation post on the highest point of the Cape has given visitors spectacular views of the surrounding coastline, but the gun sites were relatively unknown.
The construction of walkways in 1992 now gives access to the gun emplacements and their associated buildings. A restoration programme is being coordinated by the Rockingham and Districts Tourist Authority.
L Section The two 155 mm (6 inch) guns were of 1917?18 French design and manufacture. They were modified slightly by the United States Government after purchase for use in World War I. This type of gun was later manufactured by the US and used m places of strategic importance such as Panama between the World Wars. About 60 of these guns, both French and American made, were released to Australia in 1943 under the Lend-Lease Agreement Though originally field guns drawn by heavy steam tractors, the guns at Cape Peron were installed on Panama mounts. These were circular concrete emplacements with a central pivot block on which the gun was mounted. The guns trail ends rode on a concrete and steel racer rail which allowed it to rotate quickly through large angles to cover moving targets at sea.
The Peron guns used 42.08 kg shells (100 lbs), had a maximum range of 18.4 km and could move through 270deg. They were supported by a field observation post and two searchlights for night firing.
As the guns proved troublesome to operate because of age and wear, it was decided to re?equip the Peron Battery with 5.25 inch guns which could also be used against aircraft. However, by the time they arrived in Fremantle it was unlikely that Cockburn Sound would be used as a war time naval base, and they were not installed. In 1993, the Peron Battery was placed on the Interim List of the National Estate Register.
Artillery Dawn Service
Hobbs Artillery Park 0530 hrs
Gunfire breakfast (cost $3.00) follows
Form Up Irwin St & St George’s Tce 9.15
Check Newspaper for Parade details Get together at 1200 hrs
Hobbs Artillery Park
Wear Beret and Badge if you have one.
Friday 5 July
Details to follow separately
Membership for the year 2001 to 2002 is now due.
Fees still $10.00
PO Box 881 Claremont WA 6910
Next issue of Take Post is planned for April 2002 . Contributions urgently required.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Drivers Course near Moora 1960
Manhandling 25 Pdr
Inter-Bty Comp 1960
Laying L5 at Lancelin
25 Pdr Practice May 1964
OP in 1962
Firing L5 at Lancelin
President Peter Rowles W 9359 1280 H9246 3941 Vice President Ron Jager W 9420 2231 H9457 2166 Secretary Tom Arnautovic W9430 3428 H9332 3309 Treasurer Les Herbert W9370 1200 H9341 4517 Committee Ray Bird W9380 9388 H9446 5520 Committee Ted Barton H9479 6382 Editor Peter Farrell H9246 1367 Committee Ken Hepworth H9294 2275 Committee John O’Brien W9273 7157 H9339 8615
Issues of ‘TAKE POST’ will be posted to members on a quarterly basis with next ‘TAKE POST’ in June 2002.
Membership fee is $10 pa.
3 Fd Regt RAA Association
PO Box 881
CLAREMONT WA 6910
Telephone + 61 8 93323309
Members are requested to advise Secretary of contact name & addresses of former 3rd Fd Regt personnel and application for membership kits will be forwarded direct.
‘TAKE POST’ is published by 3rd Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery Association as a service to members. Any articles or editorial comment should be submitted to the Editor:
3rd Fd Regt RAA Association