Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gunners Day: Fire Mission Battery

Artillery badgeToday in New Zealand is Gunners Day: the 294th.anniversary of the formation of the first artillery unit.
On 26 May 1716, King George I formed the first regular artillery force in Britain. The Royal Regiment of Artillery (RA) marks 26 May as its birthday and celebrates it in true Gunner fashion. As a Commonwealth Artillery Regiment allied to the RA, the Royal New Zealand Artillery (RNZA) recognises their traditions as its own.
NZ Gunners have served with distinction and valour around the world in the true spirit of their motto. Traditionally, the places where units have served gallantly are given as 'Battle Honours'. In 1883, units of the Royal Artillery were given two distinct privileges, the first an official 'overall' motto: "Quo Fas et Gloria Ducunt". The traditional translation, "Whither Duty and Glory Lead", these days translates as “Where Duty And Glory Lead”. The second privilege, unique in the Armed Services, is the Battle Honour: "Ubique" (seen above the cannon on the badge) - "Everywhere". This symbolically links the Gunners with the Battle Honours of all major engagements they've fought in.
Dad in action, Korean War, April 1952 - he's the gunlayer sitting down...
Dad in action, Korean War:
April 1952 - he's the
gunlayer, sitting down...
I'm normally reminded of Gunners Day every year by an ex-Artillery colleague who invites me to the evening function at his local Papakura RSA. Ian Hitchener served in Vietnam, and I was with him in 1st.Locating Troop, 16th.Field Regt., RNZA. Sadly "Hitch" passed away in June 2009.
My father served with the RA in France during WWII and also with 161 Bty., 16 Fld.Regt., RNZA during the Korean War. We recently discovered a picture of his gun crew in action (April 1952): I proudly post it here to mark Gunners Day.

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