Sunday, 30 September 2012

Chalk Swap Gliders for Heavy Artillery

One weekend in September, Chalk members Andy and myself took part in a 21 gun salute to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

We joined forces with the Garrison to become crew members on a 25 pounder field gun for the day! Throughout the year we both attended training days to learn how to operate and handle one of these 2 ton beasts. Initially the salute was to take place in the centre of Leeds but due to a logistical error (no advertising or somesuch nonsense), it was in danger of being cancelled completely until the decision was made to continue at a local pub, 'The New Inn' in Eccup near Leeds.

There were three 25 pounder guns, with limbers and towing vehicles for each gun plus a Jeep, an Austin Tilly Mk1 and a Matchless Motorcycle. Each gun had a full crew of five men plus driver and seven shots were fired by each gun in front of special guest the Lord Lieutenant of Leeds.

As usual with such a large undertaking as this (the first time three 25pdr guns have fired a 21 gun salute for many years) there were bound to be some mistakes, but I'm glad to say the whole affair went without a hitch! All the gun teams worked brilliantly together and the final effect was... DEAFENING!!

Please check out our photos, as I was part of the gun crew I was unable to take any pictures of the actual firing, but I'm told there are some in existence somewhere and when I get hold of them I'll be sure to share them with you. Cheers all. Matt

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