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Newsletter No. 114 June 2002

Routine Orders     |    From the Editor     |    Gunners' Day

Routine Orders

Last Post

Mrs Joan Transom in Feb 2002.
Phillip PryceIn Levin Jan 2002.
AS (Darkie) McWhinnie    in Palmerston North Dec 2001.
LtCol JF Spring MBEin Auckland on 8 Apr 02.
Doug AdamsIn Wellington on 1 Apr 02.

New Member

Captain John Blaker, associate member

Life Members

Captain Peter Dixon, Mrs Helen Agar, Major Bryan O'Connor, Major Jerry Meyer. Return to top

From the Editor

New Zealand Operational Service Medal

The government has approved the issue of this new medal. It is available for issue to all service personnel who have taken part in Active Service Operations, for New Zealand since World War II. If you think you are eligible you will need to apply for it. I can supply application forms or you can apply directly to:

The Medals Section
c/- 5 Base logistics Regiment
Trentham Camp
PO Box 905
Upper Hutt.
You will need to supply First name(s) & surname, current residential address, military service number, last rank held, the theatre, unit and dates of operational service, and any campaign medals you have been awarded. Return to top

Mortar and Gun Locating Radar

(extracts with permission from the RAA Association "Gunfire" Magazine)
During WWII LAA Radar operators at Anzio in 1943 discovered that they could detect Mortar Bombs in flight. As a result of this discovery Mortar Locating Radar came into being. At first AA Radars were used and I am sure many of our members will remember the RNZA's first attempts with 3 Mk 7 Radars, Artillery Boards and complicated mathematical formulas. This all took time but could produce a location accurate to within 25 yards.

How things have changed. The latest radars exploit revolutionary advances in radar technology. Radars such as the European tri-national COBRA (Counter Battery Radar) use active phased arrays. These comprise hundreds of small radar transmitter/receivers built into a single antenna, operating collaboratively and able to track many projectiles simultaneously. This radar is designed to locate 40 batteries (which means locating several guns, mortars or rocket launchers in each battery and deducing battery centre) in 2 minutes. Of course the Modern Locating Radar can also observe own artillery fire and in most cases can not only detect the hostile battery location but simultaneously calculate the target location and direct own fire back onto it.

Radar is active, that means it emits a beam that is easily detected and the source located by electronic warfare systems. This vulnerability means that they are normally only switched on for short periods when a listening post reports gun fire etc. So the human ear is still needed, although likely to be replaced by new, passive, sound ranging systems linked directly to the Locating Radars. Return to top

Auckland Air Defence Artillery During WWII

In September 1939 two 3 inch Mobile Anti Aircraft Guns were deployed on to the summit of Mt Victoria, North Head. There was no hint then that by the time the war threat to New Zealand receded in 1944 there would be 46 Heavy Anti Aircraft guns, 36 Light Anti Aircraft guns and many Search Lights positioned around Auckland. At that time Auckland was classified a "First Class Defended Port". How lucky we are that these defences were never needed.

(Copied from a report by Major Martin Blampied in the New Zealand Herald 1964). The complete article appears in our History section - view article Return to top

2002 Reunion in Taupo

Guest Speaker

The guest speaker at this year's reunion is to be Chief Inspector Sherwood Young of the NZ Police. Chief Inspector Young is an official historian for the police and is at present producing his third volume on Police History. He is still employed part time by the police. Our origins date back to the NZ Armed Constabulary, so come along and listen to the Chief Inspector.

Reunion Dates

A reminder that the dates set aside for this year's reunion are:
    arrive pm Fri 1 Nov,
    AGM and Dinner Sat 2 Nov,
    Church Parade Sun 3 Nov.
Come and join us, we do have a great time. Notices for attendance, accommodation, etc, will appear in the September newsletter.

Reunion Padre

The committee has decided that the time has come to give Padre Bill McLeay a well earned rest. Padre Bill has been a good friend to the Assn and has conducted our Reunion Church parades for many years. As a mark of respect for his excellent service padre Bill and wife Tui will stay on the roll as Honorary Members. At future reunions the Taupo RSA Padre assisted, when possible, by a serving Army Padre, will conduct the Church Parade. At this time the RSA Padre is The Rev John Dermot Buchanan. In the Queen's Birthday Honours Padre Derm was made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to the community. Congratulations, Padre. Return to top

Reunion 2001

At the Feb 02 committee meeting the following vote of thanks, to be published in this newsletter, was passed:

It was moved Graham Black seconded Shay Bassett that a vote of thanks be accorded to John Rout for the great success of the 2001 Reunion. The dinner in particular will take a lot of beating.

The vote, however, should not overshadow the sterling efforts in the past by Jim Ross. It could be likened to Jim setting the stage and John turning on the lights. Return to top

Notices for Functions, Gatherings, etc

If you want to advertise a function etc in this newsletter please remember that we only produce four a year in March, June, September and December. Therefore we need the information well in advance of the newsletter being printed, eg for Gunners' Day we need it in February for the March issue, and for St Barbara's Day in August for the September issue.

Gunners' Day

Gunners' Day Dinner, Papakura

All up, 122 people attended our 286th Birthday Dinner in the Papakura RSA on Sun 26 May. The Dining President was Rod Baldwin ably assisted by Mr Vice, Neil Moros. Col Graeme Wilson, RNZE, proposed the toast to The Regiment and our Col Commandant, Brigadier Ray Andrews, replied. John Barrett proposed the toast to Absent Friends and Major Denis Dwane the toast to the Ladies. During his reply, Brig Andrews mentioned that the RNZA History, being written by Alan Henderson, was running a couple of months behind time. At this time WWII was complete and J Force K Force under way. He also mentioned that the painting, depicting each of three guns, 25pdr, L5 Pack Howitzer and the Light Gun, served by 16 Field Regt had been completed and would be unveiled in July. The Guns are shown in Waiouru at the bottom of the Argo Track. The 25pdr and L5 are painted as ghosts as are some of a group of gunners standing around a Chuffa. The title is "Gun Picket". Prints of the painting will be available at a later date.

Captain Ian Garnett, the Chief Instructor of the School of Artillery, briefed the gathering on the present state of the RNZA. In the main he stated that the majority of our gunners are now back in NZ from East Timor where they had performed their tasks as Infantry to a very high standard, not difficult for a Gunner. 16 Field Regiment, 161/163 Batteries and HQ elements are now all as one in Linton Camp and after retraining were about to report "Ready" again as a gunner unit.

Once again Jeff Waters, on crutches after a knee operation, was the main organiser of the dinner and as in the past he did a mighty job. It was an excellent night out. Apologies were received from MajGen Ron Hassett and Ted Lile. Return to top

Luncheon Tauranga

Matt Crawley reports that 21 people attended the Gunners' Day Luncheon in Tauranga on Sunday 26 May. Among those who attended were: Bill & Jasmine Beveridge, Matt Crawley & Rita Moore, Richard & Shirley Dyson, Jim & Marie Kirk, Hugh Gibson & Helen Saffill, Bill & Jean Round. Matt stated that numbers were down a bit this year mainly due to sickness. Those that did attend enjoyed a very good meal and all had a good time. An apology was received from Brig Lin Smith.

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