By Ronald Bastian.
early sixties, 1961 if memory serves me
right, the powers that be whose task it was
to create training programs for the Regiment
must have decided that it would be a great
idea to give the men lots of practice
burying our beloved artillery weapons.
It became so
popular that it seemed to develop into some
sort of "fetish', because, every week or so,
we packed up, headed for the bush, and they
weren't particular where "the bush" was, out
we trundled, lock, stock and barrels and as
soon as we arrived at, what might have
appeared to be a "nice spot", we were
ordered to dig a large hole and bury our
might have been OK when we had 25 pounders,
but to try and manhandle the new guns with
the "split trails" proved to be a serious
accident waiting to happen.
favoured spot to bury the guns proved to be
in the vicinity of Darke's Forest, near
Waterfall on the Princes Highway. Although I
recall that on one occasion, we dug a grave
and buried our guns under scrim nets just
behind the lines at the rear of the spare
huts that were used for CMF (week end
Just to make
it interesting, we used to leave camp in
late afternoon so that we arrived at the
entry point just on dark... then... we had
to find our way to the allocated burial
grounds by having someone walk in front of
the prime mover pulling the gun with the gun
crew in the back.. and all of this in the
pitch blackness of the bush and NO LIGHTS
WERE ALLOWED, just to make it more
A couple of
times we almost stumbled over an escarpment,
fortunately it was identified just in time
and a new route followed.
obvious after a while that, as we were
digging holes in sandstone country, we would
be likely to be striking rock a lot of
times, where we could we jack hammered the
rock away with petrol "Kangas". One clever
chap suggested to our BC, Major Myers, that
we drive a star picket down first to see if
the rock was present.
was impressed and immediately turned to me
and said "Why didn't you think of that
Bombardier", Without thinking I immediately
retorted "They keep on telling me, don't
think, just do what I say". he put on his
"famous" frown and simply said "Don't be
facetious Bombardier"...."Sorry Sir".
night...or should I say, the next morning..
around 3 am, our gun was ready to be
wrestled into the hole. We had already
helped Bombardier Tommy Tanner get his in
place, so his crew came over to assist us.
Just as we had it almost completely in the
trails dropped without warning and I was
hanging on to the lunette. I had no time to
release it and one of my fingers got crushed
causing the end to split open like a
like a ugly sandwich...a large mug of the
BC's coffee and even more rum, he sent me
back to camp driven by his batman "Darkie"
Back at camp
...nobody... all on exercise, eventually got
to 2 Camp Hospital, two Nurses held my arm
as the Doctor pulled off the remaining
fingernail and then put six stitches in my
Don't get me
wrong.. I'm not crying
"Hard-done -by", just another memory which
will never go away.
trails don't say sorry"