Commando Gunner Regroup
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The Commando Gunner Regroup Dits Page

Neil Randall

Now that the CGA has finally been put to bed, I hope this is now the time to pull together, draw a line in the sand and move forward together as one.

I can promise the £4,424.10 transferred today from the CGA to the Regroup account will be accounted for and audited separately from Plymouth Regroup funds.

Anyone wishing to access these funds will in the first place need to send an application in writing outlining why and what you wish to use them for. As stated in the constitution the central Regroup committee will oversee and administer the central funds held.

I hope that from this point the CGA is now consigned to history, saying that we mustn't forget the hard work and time put into the CGA over the years by many people.

Both myself and Martin decided after the 50th that there was no real need for two organisations operating for what was in essence the same cause. However I think we both felt that Regroup meeting on a regular basis and with a very good communication network was the way forward. So immediately after the 50th wheels were put in motion to wind down the CGA and absorb it into the CGR. This I am pleased to say has finally happened today.

Regroup, as you all know is a fast growing network with several meetings taking place around the country and abroad. My main wish is to see a Regroup in most areas, within travelling distance for as many ex Regimental members to utilise as possible.

Please do support your local events and Regroup meetings if you are able to. Currently we are looking for anyone with plans to set up Regroup in their local area, don't forget we now have central funds if any are needed to help you!

So from this point lets ALL move onwards and upwards and hopefully see the Commando Gunners recognised nationally as we deserve to be.


Martin Lambert-Gorwyn

Today I signed off the final chapter of the Commando Gunner Association after a fairly long but turbulent history, with immediate effect it is now completely absorbed by the "Command Gunner Regroup". The remaining funds that were held within the Regimental PRI Account have been transferred to the Regroup bank Account where it will be held for the good and benefit of all. Future decisions on it use will be made by the committee with support from the membership. The amount transferred was £4,424.10.

According to the Regimental Accountant, no money was paid by the CGA to offset the cost of producing the Cdo 50 Book, therefore we have no funds tied up in the remaining stock, but we will help the Regiment in selling them on our website (more to follow later).

The outgoings from the account over the recent past have been scrutinised and agreed. There were items such as donations towards the Regimental Memorial, donations towards fallen and sick comrades. A replacement Cdo Dagger for the legend which was Lt Col O'Flaherty whose widow was burgled twice. A donation towards Regimental Heritage in the form of sponsorship for participants in the Spean Bridge March. All of these items I think you will agree have been worthwhile and enhanced our standing.

I mentioned our turbulent past and even recently on this site there were those who questioned our integrity and intentions. I can assure you that all I and my predecessors have tried to do is, maintain the Cdo spirit, foster the links with the serving Regiment and do what we can, with limited resources, to look after our old and bold. This continues to be reflected in Regroup's Constitution. No one will ever be able to satisfy everyone so please accept that and move on. What has gone on in the past should remain there, there is nothing to be gained by going over some of the problems perceived or otherwise. So as from today I ask you all to forgive and forget, draw a line in the sand and move forward together and generate that feeling and level of pride and respect that was so prevalent during the "Cdo 50" celebrations and more recently the 95 Cdo Reunion.

Let your views be known to me about the best way forward for the transferred fund, bearing in mind it will receive no further income from Music of the Night or the PRI. If we continue to buy wreaths for the fallen from it £60 - 70 a time we would be broke after 70 funerals. Some of the wreaths we have bought have gone to people that no one can remember, they never formally joined the CGA, never contributed and certainly never maintained contact with any one. It is often triggered by a letter from a family member who say's " my father/grandfather recently passed away and he often talked about is time in the Army, could you please organise a wreath/flag/beret etc..." Is this the best use of our funds? I agree that there are those out there whose contributions merit our recognition. Perhaps a well designed card with a picture of The Cdo Memorial or something similar would suffice. A pot plant is cheaper and longer lasting. Anyway, these decisions will not be mine to make. I wish you all well with your deliberations.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


M.M. London Gazette 30 May 1967.

The official citation published in the London Gazette states:

On the 13th October 1966, Sergeant Austin was in charge of a 105mm gun crew which was attached to ‘X’ Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines for an operation in the Wadi Taym area of Qutaibi Province of the South Arabian Federation.

‘X’ Company’s position was on the very open and exposed rocky feature known as ‘Table Top’. Through his drive and leadership Sergeant Austin managed to get his gun sangar constructed in the few remaining hours before last light. This was a gruelling task in the heat and dust, but his zeal was rewarded for, when darkness fell, the position immediately came under small arms fire. As the enemy were below them, it was difficult for the gun detachment to engage them without striking the top of the sangar. Well aware of the danger and regardless of the enemy fire, Sergeant Austin calmly controlled accurate fire onto the enemy, the rounds passing only a few millimetres over the sangar lip.

At 23.15 hours the following night, the company was heavily attacked from two directions at once, with mortars and blindicides [anti-tank rockets] from the south and automatic weapons and rifle fire from the west. Although Sergeant Austin’s sangar received a direct hit from a blindicide, the building was so sound that there were no casualties. Led by him with complete disregard for his own safety, the crew moved the gun through an arc of 180 degrees under heavy fire, removing the armoured shield and stanchions which were obscuring the night aiming lamps, and engaged the dissident mortars at a range of 500 metres. As a result of this action the enemy lost a most important leader and at least five others were wounded before they withdrew.

Throughout the operation Sergeant Austin’s energy, sense of duty and cheerful efficiency were an outstanding example to all. His foresight and professional ability certainly prevented casualties and his courage and determination under fire greatly influenced the successful outcome of this engagement.’

Sold with copy of the Battery War Diary for 14 October 1966 which states: ‘Later reports confirmed that two dissidents were killed and five injured that night. One of the dead dissidents was named as Salim Hussein Ghazzali, one of the oldest members of the Barna Gang.’

Sergeant Raymond Charles ‘Bunny’ Austin was born in March 1934 and educated at Privett’s Secondary Modern School, Chatham, Kent. He joined the Army in 1952 serving first in the Royal Artillery before transferring to ‘D’ Squadron, Special Air Service with whom he served until June 1958 at which time he took up service with 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Gazette Article HERE


Information on Brief History of the Regiment Organisation.

Regt organisation on website. Just for information 29 and 95 did not amalgamate in 1971.

7 and 8 Btys relocated from Singapore and joined 79, 145 and HQ Bty in 29.

95 Cdo Lt Regt was renamed 95 Cdo FOU which also encompassed 148 Bty (for the simple reason the new unit had no funds and 148 had plenty of cash) on 1 May 1971. 20 Cdo (AO) Bty disbanded. The FOU which had only around 80+ plus officers and soldiers actually had an HQ element of initially a Lt Col JWG Morris, 2IC Ron Preedy later CO 29, RALONGS Mike "Noddy" Searight, Adjt/QM (the infamous and loveable Charlie Boulter), Unit SM Spinner Ray Bradshaw, RQMS Brian Armitage, RSO Barry Viles and Chief Clerk the late Derek Dalrymple. A Signal Sgt, MT Sgt, Pay Sgt and PTI Piggy Paxton completed the high powered Kremlin.

Someone in the MOD finally realised this was a top heavy organisation - a full time QM had been added in 1973 - and not really required. Thus in 1976 the disbandment of 95 Cdo FOU was finalised with 148 Cdo FO Bty joining 29 Cdo Regt. Back to normal with a BC (Charlie Boulter), BK and BSM taking command.

Supplied by David Martin


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