26 May 2016

Artillery rounds to be fired at dawn

5:53 am on 26 May 2016

Dawn will be broken with a bang in some places this morning as the Royal New Zealand Artillery fires off rounds to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Artillery in the United Kingdom.

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Photo: AFP

Today is known as Gunners Day, and the first dawn gun to commemorate it will be fired at the Soundshell in Napier. Dawn is expected at about 6.49am.

Rounds will then be fired at one-minute intervals in Auckland, Hamilton, Waiouru, Linton, Levin and Wellington at about 7am today.

In the South Island, a gun will be fired from the waterfront in Dunedin at about 7.30am.

The army's 16th Field regiment will be using 105 millimetre L-119 light guns, and each of the three rounds marks 100 years in the history of the Royal Regiment of Artillery.

In Palmerston North at midday, gunners from the 16th Field Regiment will compete in a gun run, which involves two teams of seven competing in an obstacle course with 105 mm light guns or Howitzers.

The Regiment's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ben Bagley, said the New Zealand gunners were keen to support their British counterparts in beginning the international celebrations of the 300th anniversary.

"We are hoping everyone near the Square in Palmerston North will come and see the gun run as it will be quite a spectacle and a lot of fun."

The sites for the 16th Field Regiment dawn guns are:

* Soundshell, Marine Parade, Napier

* North Head Reserve, Devonport, Auckland

* Memorial Park, River Road, Hamilton

* Waiouru Military Camp

* Linton Military Camp

* Gladstone Reserve, Levin

* Trentham Military Camp, Wellington