Some people have been asking what became of the 25lber Artillery piece that stood outside the Avondale RSA (ADRSA) when they were in Layard Street. Every other 25lber outside RSAs are on loan from the NZ Defence Force, but Avondale’s gun is unique in that it is privately owned.
In the 1980s, after waiting in vain for an ex NZ Artillery piece, Avondale RSA made a request through their sister organisation in the UK for a gate guardian. In early 1984 an RAF Hercules flew the gun from Lyneham, England to Whenuapai. The fresh, completely overhauled gun was donated to Avondale RSA.
This gun is different from others in New Zealand. It is configured to Mk III standard, with fitting of the muzzle brake, and counterweight. In addition, a 1967 dated range cone has been added.
When the ADRSA sold Layard St, there was no room on the new Rosebank Road site for the gun to be displayed as a gate guardian. As the WW2 Historical Re-enactment Society (NZ) Inc had been assisting with identification and valuation of the Club’s collection, the ADRSA generously offered to loan the gun to them for restoration and display.
Alas, 33 years of Auckland weather had caused some small areas of rust and along with extra layers of paint, almost every moving part was seized. The WW2 Historical Re-enactment Society has been beavering away for three years, and the gun now looks magnificent and is operational for blank firing.
It was recently part of the public display at Lake Karapiro commemorating the end of WWI with the Armistice in Cambridge Society. It is planned that the gun will make an appearance back in Avondale for ANZAC Day 2021.
Three bands from Cambridge combined to play a twilight spectacular of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. It really did end with a bang as three 25lbers and other smaller guns fired an artillery barrage of blanks across the lake.