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Army May 13, 2010
THE culmination of two weeks of drill
rehearsals and 50 years of service to the
nation occurred on the stroke of mid-
day on May 1 as 4 Fd Regt marched
through the city of Townsville.
Locals, families and former gunners
lined the streets to witness Mayor Les
Tyrell grant 4 Fd Regt freedom of entry
for only the second time in the regi-
Lt-Col Charles Weller, CO 4 Fd
Regt, said the parade to mark the unit's
50th anniversary was "a rare privilege
bestowed upon the regiment and the sup-
port was humbling".
"It's been a very big week of celebra-
tions but I really don't think you can top
the freedom of entry from a ceremonial
perspective," Lt-Col Weller said.
Regiment members paid homage to
those who had served before them as
legacy howitzers were driven on to the
parade ground to "hold ground" before
the march. The gunners marched with
the Queen's Banner -- which normal-
ly resides at the School of Artillery in
Puckapunyal -- to the beat of the drums
of the combined bands of 1 Fd Regt and
After the parade, a regimental ball
was held at Jupiter's Casino. More than
600 people attended the evening with the
guest list including former members and
supporters, some of whom had travelled
Other activities included a regimen-
tal church parade led by Chap Charles
Vesley at All Saints Chapel on April 29
and an open day on April 30.
The open day included the annual
gun race for the Generals Trophy. A
detachment from B Tp, 107 Bty, led by
Bdr Matthew Green, won the event after
a tough battle against A and B Tp from
107 Fd Bty and an A Fd Bty detachment.
Visitors were able to view current
in-service equipment and blank-fire a
variety of small arms.
In closing, Maj-Gen Tim Ford (retd),
representative colonel commandant
of the Royal Regiment of Australian
Artillery, dedicated the unit memorial,
a series of walls featuring brass plaques
for each of the regiment's fallen soldiers.
Later the regiment contested a rugby
union match against the Townsville
District Rugby Union Development
Team, but unfortunately lost 37-7.
Forward observer 108 Fd Bty Bdr
Yannick Fitzsimmons said it was good
for soldiers young and old to celebrate the
regiment and the corps. "It was great to
share the occasion with the old guys and
the events were enjoyed by all," he said.
THE lineage of 4 Fd Regt can
be traced back to the creation
in January 1856 of the St Kilda
Rifles, which in turn became part
of the Victorian Volunteer Artillery
The regiment underwent
significant name changes over
the years. These include 4 Field
Artillery Brigade, 4 Australian Field
Artillery Brigade, IV Australian
Field Artillery Brigade, IV Brigade
Australian Field Artillery, 4 Field
Brigade, 4 Field Brigade Royal
Artillery Regiment (Militia), 2/4
Field Regiment RAA and 4 Field
Regiment RAA (JD) AIF.
4 Fd Regt was raised on May
4, 1960, and comprised 103, 105
and HQ Batteries.
In 1962 the regiment was
issued the 105mm L5 Pack
Howitzer and on November 19,
1962, Queen Elizabeth II granted
the title Royal Regiment of
In April 1965, then prime
minister Sir Robert Menzies
announced the mobilisation of a
battalion group for deployment to
Tasked to send a battery
with 1RAR, 4 Fd Regt selected
105 Fd Bty, which departed in
The regiment completed
tours of Vietnam in 1968-69 and
1970-71, providing direct sup-
port, maintaining fire-support
bases and harassment and inter-
Because of overuse and their
inability to maintain high rates of
fire, the L5 Pack Howitzer was
replaced in some operations
by the more robust US 105mm
In June 1968, Maj D.J. Gilroy
led a road party of 40-50 soldiers
to move the regiment from their
barracks in Wacol, Brisbane to
Lavarack Barracks, Townsville.
The barracks was named
Chau Pha Lines to recognise
the Battle of Chau Pha Valley
in Vietnam for which forward
observer Lt N.J. 'Nobby' Clark
was awarded the Military Cross.
On Christmas Eve 1971,
Cyclone Althea struck Townsville
and 102 members of the regi-
ment helped with relief opera-
On November 28, 1987, 4
Fd Regt, under the command of
Col Arthur Burke, was granted
freedom of entry to the city of
4 Fd Regt has provided sup-
port to operations in Singapore
(1974), Cambodia (1992),
Somalia (1993), Rwanda, East
Timor, Solomon Islands, Iraq
and, most recently, Afghanistan. Gunners'
Proud: CO Lt-Col Charles Weller leads
his soldiers in the Townsville parade. Happy: Bdr Yannick Fitzsimmons
with his fiance, Brooke Whitehead.
Past celebrated: Gnr Andrew
Robertson and Gnr Sukmo
Dipuspo help make up the crew of
a 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer during
the freedom of the city parade in
Townsville to mark 4 Fd Regt's 50th
Photos by LCpl Mark Doran
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