Links to main site pages

James Terrence Transom, Master Gunner
22 December 1916 - 17 August 1997

Terry Transom was born in Taihape and grew up in a farming community. He joined the Regular Force on 3 Feb 37, marching in to No 10 Wing, Army School of Instruction, Trentham, where he spent the rest of the year undergoing the rigorous basic infantry and artillery training imposed in those days. His Wing was the last to be trained in equitation as field artillery was still horse-drawn.

On completion of his recruit training Terry was posted to the Anti-Aircraft Cadre, Fort Dorset, Wellington, as a Gunner RNZA early in 1938. There he underwent further training in the driving and maintenance of the heavy FWD Leyland trucks used as gun tractors etc as well as the QF 3-inch 20 cwt AA guns, searchlights and sound-locating equipment with which the Cadre was equipped. In the handling of all this gear he soon became proficient.

On 18 November 38 during the annual RNZA Refresher Course at Waiouru a 40-year-old wooden bridge at Hihitahi collapsed and a Leyland Cub bringing a leave party back from Taihape plunged into the Hautapu stream. Three RNZA Gunners were killed while Terry and several others, one of whom later died in hospital, were badly injured. Terry made a good recovery but in the years afterwards was always reluctant to take to the road on the 18th of November!

Following the outbreak of World War 2 staff of all three Cadres at Fort Dorset were progressively transferred to the mobilization camps or to TF regiments. Terry left New Zealand with an early reinforcement seeing extensive service in Egypt and Italy with 6 LAA Regiment (1941) and as an instructor with the Artillery Training Regiment, Maadi Camp. These terms were each of three months.

After the war Terry held various training and admin positions until in 1952 he was selected to attend a long staff gunnery course at the School of Anti-Aircraft Artillery, at Manorbier in Wales. After qualifying as WO2(AIG), he was posted to the School of Artillery, Waiouru, where in 1954 he was promoted WO1(SMIG) of the AA Wing. NB: These designations were changed in 1980 to WO2(SMIG) and WO1(MG) respectively.

In 1955 he was awarded the 18-year Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. From 1957 to 1962, the year he retired, he served at Papakura in the NMD Training Battery and in 16 Field Regiment. In 1962 Terry was presented with the Silver Grenade for 25 years long and loyal service to the Regiment.

After a short time in industry he joined the clerical branch of the Naval Supply Depot, where his efficiency and willing approach to his duties won him promotion well above average. In 1976, having reached the age of 60, he retired for the second time.

A member for over 50 years Terry rendered outstanding service to the Old Comrades Association. For most of that time he served on the Committee, being Secretary from 1976 to 1984. In that year members elected him an Honorary Life Member.

Once a Gunner always a Gunner. Right until the end Terry took an intense interest in things military, especially the guns. He had planned to accompany a team of OCA members to the Army Museum on 25 Aug 97 to prepare guns for display, and Museum Staff had hoped his expertise would identify a number of AA predictors for them, but this was not to be.

Terry is survived by his good lady Joan, and his son Tony.

WL Ruffell
Issue 95
September 1997

Return to Obituary Page
Return to Members' Page
Return to Old Comrades' Home Page