RSL adds key gun mount to collection

HANDOVER: Bob Simpson and Cliff Richards
HANDOVER: Bob Simpson and Cliff Richards

IT has been a bumper week for Bendigo & District RSL.

The league is not only the proud recipient of Colours of the 67th Battalion, it is now the guardian of a 4.5-inch gun mount.

In the lead-up to Anzac Day services, defence company Thales presented the imposing machine was presented at a ceremony yesterday.

Before the days of missiles, gun mounts were installed on daring, river and battle class destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy.

During the Malayan Emergency, Bendigo and District

Ex-Naval Men's Club member Harry

Siegrist fired from the mount.

Mr Siegrist said it was a versatile and efficient gun that could shoot about 20 rounds per minute.

Posted to the Far East for more than four years, he worked in fire control and progressed to the gun direction room, giving orders when to shoot.

Mr Siegrist said active service on the deafening mounts without ear protection had left him with crook ears.

Thales general manager Bob Simpson said the two-year process of presenting the gun mount to the RSL started with identifying which memorabilia would add to the league's collection in a meaningful way.

According to Thales, the gun mount presented to the RSL is the key gun used by the Australian and British navies during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s on all major combatant ships.

"It's significant memorabilia on the world stage," a Thales spokesman said.

Naval members whose unit fired the gun mount on destroyer ships attended the ceremony.

A plaque is displayed in front of the mount for public viewing in the RSL sub-branch Havilah Road precinct.

The gun mount is on loan from the Commonwealth and

ADI Ltd. Bendigo, formally the Ordnance Factory Bendigo.

Free transport on V/Line economy class coach and train services is offered to all veterans and war widows from April 25 to 26.

V/Line requires that all veterans and war widows wear their uniforms, medals, an RSL Badge or carry a Department of Veteran's Affairs gold or white card for identification.

Reservations need to be made the day before travelling.

Free V/Line coach and rail travel is also available on Anzac

Day, but only to members of the Australian defence force, army, navy and air force cadets, scouts, guides and school students if they are in uniform.

Contact V/Line on 136 196 for more information and bookings.