Home    Gallery index

Gunners' Day Dinner held at Papakura, 26 May 2000

Click on images to enlarge them


Cream of Vegetable

Spicey Chicken Nibbles
cream savoury sauce

Roast Sirloin of Beef
Grilled Salmon Steaks
served with
seasonal vegetables and potatoes

Apple Danish
Brandy Snaps and Fruit Salad

On Friday 26th May 2000, the annual Gunners Day Dinner was once again organised by Jeff Waters, and held in the Monte Cassino Lounge in the Papakura RSA. The dinner was 1830 for 1900, and as everyone arrived early it gave folk a jolly good opportunity to catch up on where and what everyone had been doing over the period of the last 12 months.

At 1900 Ms Vice, Lieutenant Liz Furket RNZA said grace and 109 members of the Regiment, and partners sat down to dinner with Bob Kerslake appointed as the Dining President, and the Colonel Commandant, Brigadier Ray Andrews CBE, as the guest of honour. Members of the Regiment were also fortunate to have present two Gunners from the 'Class of 45', Mr Eric Bickerton and Mr Vic Meyle; both men veterans of the Second World War and several other conflicts since.

The meal was served by members of the Papakura City Cadet Unit which has an historical association with the RNZA, and as well the Royal New Zealand Artillery Band played during the evening.

The Loyal Toast was given by Lieutenant Liz Furkert RNZA with all Gunners present being upstanding and drinking the health of the Captain General, HM Queen Elizabeth II, appropriately with Robard and Butlers Artillery Port.

The Toast to The Regiment was proposed by Rob Phillips, a Cadet Forces officer, who gave a humorous account of his 'several' associations with members of the Royal regiment, and not all of them pleasant! The reply to The Regimental toast was given by Major Chris Bath RNZA, the Acting CO of 16th Field Regiment, who also took the opportunity to give a small 'State of the Nation' address on what is currently happening in the RNZA at this very busy time in its history. Major Bath also mentioned that the 50th Anniversary of 16th Field Regiment which was to have been held this year has now been put in abeyance due to operational commitments; it was suggested that there might well be an opportunity for ex-members of the Regiment to farewell 161 Battery later this year when it deploys on a Tour of Duty. A toast to the Ladies was proposed by Dave Roberts and replied to by Mrs Joyce Bickerton.

Later after all Gunners present were in a convivial mood Jeff Waters spoke briefly on a proposed gift to the Papakura RSA of a "Gunner" bar leaner, and as well passed around an RNZA Lemonsqueezer hat complete with puggeree for donations. A sum of $200 was collected. Jeffrey broke with his usual tradition and did not this year recite "Drunken Gunners". He also asked that if any other old Gunners would like to contribute to his bar leaner project to give him a buzz at home on (09) 296-2457...all donations most gratefully accepted!

The formal part of the evening ended when Major Denis Dwane MBE, RNZA presented to the Papakura RSA a beautifully framed map of the location of the 1st Australian Task Force at Nui Dat in the Republic of Vietnam.

After dinner most Gunners present were knee deep in cordite as all of the old stories and experiences were once again relived. The bar closed at about midnight and a courtesy taxi was available to take all guests to their home or in many cases motels for those from out of town. New faces this year included recently retired Cleave Hackett, John and Jackie Nagle, Brian and Jackie Soper. Barry Oldham who is currently living in the wilds of the far north of New Zealand took a week off and has been catching up with many old mates from his Vietnam days. The annual Gunners Day Dinner at Papakura is fast becoming another Gunner tradition and with the extensions that have recently taken place to the RSA Clubrooms, it is hoped to see even more couples and comrades at next year's dinner.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full-size image.

Photographs courtesy Rod Simpson, text Mike Subritzky