This year, 2021, marks one hundred years since more than 700 people attended the unveiling of Inverell’s 4.2 German Howitzer Gun at Victoria Park on Sunday 11 September 1921. The gun was one of several captured in 1918 by the 33rd Battalion at Accroche Wood on the Western Front in France. Accroche Wood, full of machine gun posts and dug outs, was quickly taken by the 33rd Battalion.
After the War, the gun was offered to Inverell, mounted on a heavy concrete base in Victoria Park and repainted in its original multi-coloured camouflage colours by Inverell returned soldier Gunner Bulluss.
Made in 1918, this gun had a range of about 1100 yards (approx 1006 metres) and carried a shell of 30 pounds (approx 13.61 kilos). It had not been in action for long before it was captured. Two Inverell men, Sergeant Harry Shatwell and Private Tom Blanch had the honour of unveiling the gun and Lieutenant Jenkins and Gunner Bulluss gave an account of its workings.
Before the unveiling ceremony, a procession headed by the Austral Band, formed up at the Ross Hill bridge and marched via Otho Street to the Park. During the ceremony the band played Kipling’s Recessional hymn God of our Fathers and the National Anthem.
Service medals were presented to Driver E.J. Bulluss, Corporal H.G. Bulluss, Private J. H. Bulluss, Lieutenant S.J. Jenkins, Corporal F.R. Lee, Staff Sergeant Shatwell, DCM, and Lieutenant W.R. Scott.
The Mayor, Ald. G.B. Ring addressed the gathering saying that
… He contended that the ceremony that day marked a fitting climax to the admirable work done by the young men of the district and the parents and citizens … and … that they would always feel proud of their 1400 boys, more particularly the 33rd Battalion.
He stressed the great honor of winning the recruiting shield, but held
… that a greater honor still for the town was the honor board in the Town Hall vestibule, which contained the names of 1400 Inverell boys, while the saddest feature of all was that in Kurrajong Avenue there were 212 trees planted, each one of which represented a dead townsman. This gun is also a symbol of the bravery and gallantry of our men, and of the sacrifice and self denial of the women-folk who sent those men to fight for us on the other side of the world.
He wished all the returned men every success and felt that with generations to come it would always be their greatest pride and satisfaction to be able to say
… My father went to the war, and served his God, his King and his Country.
Alderman D.W. Swan, Deputy Mayor and Patron of the Inverell Soldier’s Club, also address the crowd, … expressing his pride in taking part in such a function. He stated that
… The gun represented the sacrifice of ‘our own boys’ who had gone forth to save Australia and the Empire. He remembered vividly the day when the gallant 33rd had marched through Inverell streets to the railway station, and meeting a mother farewelling her fourth son. She was proud of it and through her sobs said to Ald Swan … Thank God I have reared sons who are proud to fight.
The Rev. J. Egan Moulton, B.A., Minister of the Inverell Methodist Church, said in part, that the Gun
… stood as in index to the part the boys of their own district had taken in that awful tragedy … it would stand for more with generations to come. It would speak to the children of the future of the sacrifice and courage of their ancestors.
Mr. W.H. Coade, former 33rd Battalion Corporal, spoke on behalf of the battalion, saying
… he did not think the people of Inverell would ever forget … One of the great comforts they had on the other side was the knowledge that the town and district were behind them.
When the Inverell Apex Club built the Kurrajong Memorial in the parklands beside the Glen Innes road, the Howitzer gun was moved to this new site which was opened on Anzac Day 2005.
The Inverell Argus, Tuesday 13 September 1921
The Inverell Times Tuesday 13 September 1921
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