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Parade of honour: Members of the public look on as returned serviceman, Army soldiers, South Canterbury RSA members and children march past the field gun at the entrance to the South Canterbury RSA. PHOTO: COURIER FILES

by Chris Tobin

Ensuring the long-term protection and retention of a World War 2 howitzer gun in Timaru is a high priority for Vietnam War veteran Terry Farrell.

Yesterday, the South Canterbury RSA considered its future course: whether to link up with the Timaru Town & Country Club, Celtic Rugby Club or Timaru Bowling Club.

The meeting was held after The Courier‘s printing deadline but it was probable that RSA members would vote to link up with the town and country club.

It was the option favoured by Mr Farrell and his group which restored the 1941 QF 25-pounder howitzer.

“We’re there to protect the gun and I believe in the long term it will work excellently,” he said in regard to linking up with the town and country club, should that happen.

Under the proposal as he understood it, the gun would be kept in a container; there would be a flagpole and the SCRSA’s “Lest We Forget” rock would be relocated to the site.

Mr Farrell and other ex-service personnel had been critical of the SCRSA and its direction in recent years. He was now more optimistic.

“I’m positive where we’re going. It seems at long last that everyone is kicking for the same goal.”

He hoped the organisation would focus on its core values, service veterans.

“We need to be bringing people together; there’s a lot of returned service members and CMT [compulsory military training] guys here.”

The howitzer was given to the SCRSA in 1967 and was fired for the first time in 50 years in July, 2018.