103 Medium Battery 1975
Laurie Skinner in Vietnam
3.7 inch Mark 3 Heavy Anti Aircraft Gun - Live Firing North Head Manly
No 53 of 1974 Gun Course - School of Artillery 1974
Anti Aircraft Radar No 3 Mark 7
Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, Memorial, Canberra ACT
25 Pounder New Guinea 1944


Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
Sergeants Mess
Annual Farewell



By Chris Jobson.

This year (2008) marks the 33rd Official Farewells for Warrant Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers from the Regiment. The first such occasion was conducted at the Regimental Sergeants’ Mess, at North Head, in 1975 and, with the recent death of a former gunner, it’s both appropriate and fitting to now look back on the origin of an activity which is conducted annually by most corps within the Army.

In 1975 the then RSM of the School, Warrant Officer Class One Don Donkin, was walking through the city of Sydney when he came across an old mate, a former Warrant Officer Class One, who was just down from Brisbane and who’d recently discharged from the Army. During the ensuring conversation the mate mentioned that after 31 years service in the Regiment his ‘official’ farewell from the Army had been conducted by an Ordnance Corps major in a mess at Enoggera Barracks.

Don Donkin thought that this type of farewell was entirely inappropriate and unbefitting for a senior soldier who had given so much long, loyal and dedicated service to the Guns. As a result and after a discussion with his Mess Secretary, it was decided to conduct an annual official Regimental Farewell for Warrant Officers Class One who discharged with 20 or more years service. The first such Farewell was held in the Regimental Sergeants’ Mess that year (1975) and the mate in question, and two other former Warrant Officer Class Ones, all in attendance as invited guests, were formally recognized and thanked for their service to the Regiment.

A couple of years later the Farewells were amended to include the qualifying Warrant Officers Class Two and Senior Non Commissioned Officers, and then the Regimental Officers’ Mess began conducting a similar event for retired gunner officers. This method of honouring former members was then quickly adopted by the Sappers and then the Infantry, and over time it spread across the Army.

Sadly last week a funeral was conducted in Brisbane for Tom Bandfield, a former Gunner Warrant Officer Class One; Tom was the mate that Don had run-into in Sydney, back in 1975; the one who had been farewelled by the Ordnance Corps major.


A Field Battery in Vietnam - Gunner Tiffy
Sergeants from the No. 1 Queensland Volunteer Artillery
Artillery In Action At Heilly France - Circa 1918
Members of 102 (Coral) Battery in Vietnam
Gunner Claude Rubin Winduss (Second from Left) in World War 1


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