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New Zealand Permanent Force Old Comrades' Association

Newsletter No. 106 June 2000


Routine Orders

Last Post

E.C. Morgan 7 Feb 00 at Orewa.
38096 C. Cranmer BEM 8 Jan 00 at Auckland.
34817 I.A. Rowntree 6 Mar 00 at Ohinemuri.
1539 Capt. G.H. Martin 3 Dec 99 at Nelson.
31049 R.W. Smith 10 Jan 00 at Wanganui.
207713 Maj. G.M. Connor 2 May 00 at Rotorua.
1834 R.J. Gunn 10 May 00 in UK.

Life Members

The following are elected life members:
Mrs Joyce Vine, Mrs Kathleen Kitney, D.N. Delaney.

Next Committee Meetings

Saturday 10 June and 12 August 2000 at 1000hrs at the Birkenhead RSA. All members are welcome to attend.


Attention Bookworms

"Ack Ack" by Gen Sir Frederick Pile should be required reading for Gunners, detailing the constant pressure of technical, tactical and even political factors affecting the artillery air defence of Great Britain in WW2. A notable breakthrough was the enlistment of large numbers of women to provide the necessary manpower (you know what I mean). "The women", writes Gen Pile, "worked like men, fought like men and in many cases, died like men." We are proud to have at least three of these ladies as members of this Association. There is a parallel in this country's history, when in 1864, the Maori Garrison of Orakau Pa were surrounded by imperial and colonial troops. General Cameron, impressed by the defenders' courage, offered them an opportunity to surrender, which was promptly refused. The interpreter then said, "... it is not right that the women and children should die. Let them come out". But the women did not wait for the decision of the Chiefs. Ahumai, a tall handsome young woman, stood up and replied, "If the men are to die, the women and children must die also." There will be a need for that brand of guts in years to come. It would be nice though, to have some firepower as well.

Defence Policy

"The Government is set to fast-track its controversial defence policies, abandoning plans for a comprehensive review" says a national Sunday paper. Instead, Defence Minister, Mark Burton, will issue what the Prime Minister calls a "formal statement on defence", adding "I'm rather keen to move to some practical issues and move off navel-gazing". Even though this breaks promises, in her election manifesto, of a White Paper on defence, the Prime Minister expects to make an announcement in a few weeks, but this has not happened as we go to press. It will not be, therefore, until the September issue that this Newsletter will be able to give her its customary constructive criticism.

When, as the land lies fenceless, we find ourselves under foreign occupation, she will have provided a splendid Symphony Orchestra to fiddle away the threat, and a lovely Ballet Company to entertain our masters. Return to top

Events & Reunions


The Association's wreath was once again laid at the ceremony at Birkenhead Memorial Park by Wally Ruffell and Des O'Connor. Vic Meyle and Dick Mitchell were there. The Dawn Parade at Brown's Bay started under a canopy of umbrellas, a sight to turn any old RSM purple with pleasure (?) but the rain passed over. The address was impressive but rather too truthful to be reported in the media. We saw faithful attenders Les Pearce and Vic Meyle.


Tauranga's - first celebration. Matt Crawley reports on a lunch on 26 May attended by 20-odd including Graham Birch, Matt Crawley and Rita Moore, Mike and Elva Dakin, Neville Fisher (Whangamata) and Iris Rowntree (Paeroa), Hugh Gibson and Audrey Alphors, Jim Kirk (in his 89th year) and Marie, Bert and Shirley Dyson, Doug (RSA President) and Carolyn Moore, Bill Round, Eddie and Mary Taylor (Orewa), Lin Smith, and Henry Stephens (ex Gunner). It was agreed to have another one next Gunners' Day. Tauranga RSA has 3 motel welfare units available for visitors. Matt concludes: "Best wishes to all comrades. See you at the Taupo reunion."

Bluff RSA - was introduced to Gunners' Day on Friday 26th May by the irrepressible Spencer Morrison. "The introduction went down very well - 97 tots of Artillery Port for the toast which was proposed by Keith Westbury and myself the reply. I am sure that there is now only one corps which makes up the army - yes, artillery."

Invercargill - "We held our usual parade at the Cenotaph, with bugler, pipes and drums and, again NO GUN; our number down a little, 40 attending. The toast to the Regiment was given by WO1 Warren Jones, RNZ Inf, senior TF WO for the South Island."

Dunedin - was visited by Spencer and Graeme Henderson on Saturday 27th May to bid farewell to Central Battery.

Christchurch - John Masters tells us, celebrated the day on Friday 26th with a dawn parade and breakfast at the Police Club for 30-odd, then again on Sunday with a church parade, wreath laying at the Bridge of Remembrance, and an address by Col Warren Whiting.

Papakura - saw the Ladies Formal Dining In on the actual day, 26 May, when 109 sat down. As in the past, the band of the Royal Regt played; Bob Kerslade presided, Lt Liz Furket vice'd, and attendance included the Col Comdt, Brig. Ray Andrews, and Majs Chris Bath, Dennis Dwane and Mel Nowill. The local cadet unit were waiters, and two WW2 veterans, Eric Bickerton and Vic Meyle, were at the top table. Jeff Waters laid it on.

Birkenhead - The Hard Core, all nine of us, gathered for lunch on Thursday 25 May at the Birkenhead RSA.

The Capital - On Friday 26th May, eight Wellington NZPFOCA members met at the Lower Hutt Memorial RSA Clubrooms for drinks and a meal, writes Roger Newth. Others present were Doug Adams, Eddie Forbes, Wally and Allison Fraser, Frank and Denise Lupo (plus friends Bob and Ann Wallis), Rob Munro and Robbie Robinson.


Note those dates. You may reserve accommodation at the Spa Hotel from now by notifying the Secretary, and should start now to book Army leave centre units at Acacia Bay if desired. By promises coming in, this year's gathering will be a bobby-dazzler.

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