Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance

Dedicated to the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. This monument was erected to honour those Australian servicemen and women who served during world war one. Here you will find snippets of information not found in any tourist guide book!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Silenced Cannons

Australia Day
26th January 2007

The Australian Army ( 2/16th Field Regiment ) turned up at the Shrine at 10 am with their M2A2 105mm Howitzer guns to carry out a "21 Gun Salute" to celebrate "Australia Day".

The first cannon was to fire at precisely 12 o'clock noon.

The crowds of families, couples and interested individuals started to gather on the forecourt of the Shrine from ten o'clock onwards to witness this annual demonstration of military excellence.

Children babbled excitedly about the up and coming display and 'old-timers' reminisced over their time as "Aussie Gunners" fighting on the frontline. Fathers jostled through the crowd to get their families close to the action. There was even a Channel Ten news cameraman to record the event for those unfortunate not to attend. ( Link to Channel TEN )

This was a spectacle, not to be missed!!

11:59 - Observers noticed that the Warrant Officer in command was pacing nervously up and down between the guns. This was understandable seeing as this was a once in a year event that had been planned for many months to ensure that it ran smoothly with military precision!

12:01 - The crowd stood still and silent, anticipating the imminent display.

12:02 - A murmer could be heard from the crowd , what were they discussing?

12:03 - The crowd had now noticed that there was no activity by the gun crews and that some bystanders had not been moved from the firing line of the guns - Most unusual!??

12:04 - The Warrant Officer stood before the crowd and coughed nervously clearing his throat.

12:05 - The Warrant Officer made an announcement to the effect:

" Ladies and Gentlemen, the anticipated 21 gun salute expected to commence at 12 o'clock is not going to take place because we have not had the ammunition delivered!" , "We have therefore postponed the firing of the guns until 2PM this afternoon. We apologise for any inconvenience to those that have made the trip out here today and ask that you return this afternoon, Thankyou."

The crowd was aghast. One elderly gentleman was heard to shout out:

" It's a f**king good job there's not a war on!!!"

The soldiers were stood down , pending the arrival of the ammunition! ( Link for Howitzer info. )

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