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THE 18 POUNDER PROJECT

 
         

The Vision

The vision is to provide a living memorial to Australian Artillery by deploying the gun and team for commemorative events starting in 1915 for the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli.

The RAAHC has assembled a team to deliver a World War 1 Quick Firing 18 Pounder gun and ammunition limber complete with horse team and gun detachment.

The Gun

The Quick Firing (QF) 18 Pounder was the principle Field Gun of the British Army in World War One.  The gun saw service in every theatre of the Great War. Its calibre of 84mm and shell weight made it more brutal and destructive than the French 75mm and German 77mm. Its ammunition had the shell combined with the cartridge thus giving it the description of ‘quick firing’.

The gun and its ammunition limber were towed by a team of six light draught horses. A driver was allocated to each two horse team and rode the left horse of each pair. The two wheeled ammunition limber was hooked up to the horses and the trail of the gun was hooked to the limber. Further to this, each gun had two additional ammunition limbers towed by their own team. The photograph below illustrates the standard horse drawn configuration.

  Royal Artillery Gunners France 1918  
 

Australian gunners with 18 Pounders in France World War 1

 

The gun detachments, led by the detachment sergeant on his own horse, rode into action either on the horses or on the limber. During the early stages of the war, an ammunition limber was positioned on the left of the gun, but as the war progressed and larger quantities of ammunition were being used, stockpiles of ammunition were dumped in pits next to the guns.

The Australian History

The 18 pounder gun was introduced into Australian service in 1906 and continued to be used until 1945. It was the standard field gun in service until 1940 when it began to be replaced by the 25 pounder gun. When World War 1 commenced there were 116 18-pounder guns in Australia and 76 of these were sent to Gallipoli and France during the war. In addition further guns were purchased to replace damaged guns and also to supply the increasing number of gun batteries in the AIF. It is estimated some 500 guns were obtained in all. 116 were brought back to Australia. Today only seven of this early model remain of which three are updated with pneumatic tyres and three are Museum items.

  Australian gunners in action on M’Cay’s Hill, Gallipoli 19 May 1915  
 

Australian gunners in action on M’Cay’s Hill, Gallipoli 19 May 1915

 
  Australian 18 Pounders at Ypres 1917  
 

Australian artillery gunners hard at work during an artillery bombardment near Zonnebeke
October 1917 (WW1).-AWM

 
  Australian 18 Pounders at Ypres 1917  
 

Australian 18 Pounders at Ypres 1917

 
     

The Project

The project is a daunting task and has involve the restoration of an 18 Pounder, its ammunition limber, the acquisition/restoration of harness and saddles, the recruitment of gun detachments, the acquisition of horses, the collection and restoration of shells from World War 1 battlefields  and the replication of period uniforms.

The gun and limber have been sourced from the RAAHC component of the artillery collection held by the Army at Bandiana since the closure of the Australian Army Artillery Museum at North Head. The Australian Army History Unit has transported the gun and associated spare parts to North Head where restoration is taking place. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has provided facilities for the restoration. The Restoration has been be carried out by Jim Frecklington a noted coach builder and restorer; Jim has built the Australian State Coach which was presented to Her Majesty on the occasion of the Australian Bicentennial in 1988. He is being assisted with expert advice on the gun and limber by members of the RAAHC and information being provided from the UK, Canada and New Zealand. Harnesses, saddles, uniforms and people are being sought by a Canberra and Goulburn based team. Max Pearce of Beauwood Stud in Goulburn provided the training for horses and drivers.  This geographically separated team is led by Ian Ahearn, a retired gunner who is based in Canberra.

The RAAHC 18 Pounder at North Head with detachment
  The RAAHC 18 Pounder, before restoration  
18 Pounder Project

Restoration well underway in Sydney Harbour Federation Trust facilities North Head, Sydney

18 Pounder Project

Horses and riders under training using dual ammunition limbers

It soon became obvious that a means of transporting the gun and limber was needed. Dean Trailers in Bowral was engaged to build a purpose designed trailer. The canopy was constructed by A1 Marine and Auto Trim in Mittagong and the sign writing by Bowralsigns. The finished product met all expectations and has been successfully used on multiple occasions.
18 Pounder Trailer

The trailer under construction and below, in all its glory

18 Pounder Trailer

The gun, limber and horse team had their first outing in Goulburn for that city’s Heritage Week in March 2015. This first outing was a great success.

18 Pounder Project

The Team moves along the main street in Goulburn

On the 15th April 2015 the Team was officially welcomed to Canberra by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.  The welcome was conducted at the Canberra Airport at Fairbairn. Mr Terry Snow and the Airport staff have provided agistment, storage and display facilities for the Team. Their support has been invaluable.

18 Pounder Project

The GG (left edge of photo) welcomes the Team to Canberra

The photograph below shows (L to R) Project Manager Ian Ahearn, RAAHC Director of Collections Kevin Browning, Jim Frecklington the restorer and Sir Peter Cosgrove the Governor General discussing the finer points of the restored 18 Pounder in the foreground. GG

18 Pounder Project

ANZAC Day 2015 in Canberra was a major milestone for the project when the Team led the parade onto the Australian War Memorial forecourt.

18 Pounder Project

Waiting to move onto the AWM forecourt- Max Pearce the trainer is at left holding the lead horse

The vision partly achieved with the Team passing the saluting point during the National ANZAC Day Commemoration.

18 Pounder Project

The gun and limber are now displayed in the departure hall of the Canberra Airport (see photograph below). The horses are agisted at Fairbairn and Burra.

18 Pounder Project

We now move on to support commemoration activities through to 2018. If you, or friends, are aware of a commemoration event that may want the presence of the full Team (horses, riders, gun and limber) or just a display of the gun and limber then get in contact with us.

Cost recovery for horse transport, gun and limber transport, perhaps fodder and accommodation for team members are the only charges. The Team comes free.

RING : 0408 628 188 OR EMAIL 18pounder@artilleryhistory.org

 

View Video of the 18 Pounder Project    
 
The video immediately below provides an overview of the 18 Pounder project with commentary. The second video provides an onsite update of the 18 Pounder project with commentary
 
18 Pounder Project Overview Video
 
 
 
18 Pounder Project Update Video
     
     
ABC Australia News Article on the 18 Pounder Project
     
     
18 Pounder Project Update Video & Photos
( Horse Team Training - Goulburn NSW on the Saturday 31 January 2015 )
     
     
The ANZAC Centennial 18 Pounder Gun being horse drawn at Ariah Park 2016
     
     
The ANZAC Centennial 18 Pounder Gun being horse drawn at Inverell NSW
     
     

Gunning. The r-enactment of the Kangaroo March began in Wagga
and the RAAHC joined it in Gunning on 22 September 2015.

     
18 Pounder at Gunning NSW
     

Goulburn. Goulburn also participated in the Kangaroo March on 26 September.
The gun was reviewed by the Governor of NSW General David Hurley.

     
18 Pounder at Goulburn NSW
     

Moss Vale. On 3 October the Team attended the Moss Vale part of the
Kangaroo March and for the first time provided a full mounted detachment.

     
18 Pounder Moss Vale NSW
     

Belgium Embassy. The gun and limber were displayed at the
Belgium Embassy on 10 October as part of the Embassy Open Day.

     
18 Pounder Belgium Embassy
     

Willow Mavin. Later in October 2016 the Team visited the Willow Mavin Primary School
in Victoria to participate in an award to the pupils for their commemorative work for the ANZAC Centenary.

     
18 Pounder Willow Mavin 18 Pounder Willow Mavin
     

Inverell. The Team participated in the commemoration of the Kurrajong march in Inverell in January 2016

     
18 Pounder Inverell NSW 18 Pounder Inverell NSW
     

Gundagai.  The  Gundagai show  awarded the Team a blue ribbon for its display in February 2016.

     
18 Pounder Gundagai NSW 18 Pounder Gundagai NSW
     

Horsepower, Ariah Park. On 10 April 2016 the 18 Pounder participated
in the Horsepower event at Ariah Park near Temora, NSW.

     
18 Pounder Ariah Park, NSW
     
Woo Back Heavy Horse Ploughing Event, Yass
     
18 Pounder Yass NSW 18 Pounder Yass NSW
At the trot All the King’s Horses & all the King’s Men
18 Pounder Yass NSW 18 Pounder Yass NSW
The “T” Cart Phaton & GS Wagon                    The VIPs arrive
     

ANZAC Day 2016. Gundagai and Jugiong hosted the Gun Tem,
“T” Cart and GS Wagon at the Gundagai Dawn Service and march then at the Jugiong march.

     
ANZAC Day 2016 ANZAC Day 2016
Dawn Service Gundagai On the move main street Gundagai
ANZAC Day 2016
The whole shooting match Gundagai (Photo K. Winter)
ANZAC Day 2016 ANZAC Day 2016
Harnessing up a Jugiong Down the main road
     

The gun and limber have been displayed in the departure hall of the Canberra Airport (see photograph below).
The horses are agisted at Fairbairn, Goulburn and Burra.

     
18 Pounder Canberra Airport
     
18 Pounder ANZAC Centennial Gun
Chanel 7 News Article
Echuca Show Grounds, Victoria on 12th June 2016
     
     
18 Pounder ANZAC Centennial Gun
Chanel 7 Interview at Echuca on 12 June 2016 with
Mr Ian Ahearn
     
     
18 Pounder ANZAC Centennial Gun
Chanel 7 Interview at Echuca on 12 June 2016 with
Mr Tony Jensen
     
     
18 Pounder ANZAC Centennial Gun
Chanel 7 News Raw Footage at Echuca on 12 June 2016
     
     
     

How You Can Help

Like all projects this project will require funding and the RAAHC will actively seek grants and donations to complete the task. The RAAHC has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 Sub-Division 30.15 Item 1 and 4. Consequently, all cash donations in excess of $2.00 are tax deductible.

Donation

You can help by making a donation to the 18 Pounder project by Clicking Here.

Alternatively

You can make a donation through EFT to:

RAAHC         
BSB 032096  Account No 179231
Please include description “(Surname-Initials) Donation” – also send contact address by email to the RAAHC Secretary

If all else fails contact:

The Honorary Secretary
Royal Australian Artillery Historical Company
PO Box 171
Cremorne Junction NSW 2090

Phone: 02 9908 4618      
         
Email: Email Icon      
 

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