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I was the 162 Bty Captain's Driver/Operator

by Jim "Red" Holtham
162 Bty, 16 Fd Regt, RNZA
Korean War, 1950-52

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At the beginning of the Korean War, I was assigned the post of driver and radio operator for the 162 Battery Captain (BK).

Back in Waiouru, I had been driver for Captain Roxburgh and on arriving in Korea I became driver/operator for Captain Peter King. We travelled everywhere. The Battery Captain's truck always led the Battery when changing positions. When Captain King was transferred, Captain Menzies took over for several months.

The Battery Captain's vehicle held all the pay records for the Battery and all the administrative papers as well as the rum ration. The rum ration was held in a big 5 gallon clear glass bottle locked away in a special cabinet in the back of the truck. The BK issued the ration with a special dipper.

Only the Battery Captain and driver travelled on the K1 truck. The two clerks and their own driver travelled behind us on K2. In all weathers the BK used to stand up on his seat in the cab and view the surrounding terrain and the Battery following us, through the fold-down roof. I had on-board comms on the regimental net. K2 had none and just followed me.

I drove for at least four more BKs including Captains Fenton and Mason and Major Sullivan.

As well as all the regimental duties, the gunners probably felt that my main purpose was the weekly re-supply of beer. Two bottles a day was a small comfort to men working in dreadful conditions a long way from home.

For my last two months in Korea, I ran a wet and dry canteen (like today's dairy) which I re-stocked from the NAAFI canteen service that was back near the ammo stores and the MASH unit at Regimental Headquarters.

Jim Holtham
June 2000

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