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100-Gun Salute to Commemorate Beginning of WW1

30 July 2014

100-Gun Salute to Commemorate Beginning of WW1

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), with WW100, New Zealand’s First World War centenary programme, will commemorate the beginning of the First World War for New Zealand next Monday, 4 August.

At 6.45am, Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Brigadier Peter Kelly, the Acting Chief of Army, and Air Vice-Marshal Mike Yardley, the Chief of Air Force, will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial in Buckle Street. A catafalque guard will be mounted at the Tomb, the Last Post played, the Ode read, and flags lowered to half-mast.

At 7am, personnel from 16th Field Regiment of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery will move ten 105mm Howitzer guns into position on the waterfront in front of Te Papa for a 100-Gun Salute. This will be the first time a salute of this magnitude has been fired in over a hundred years. A 101-Gun Salute was fired in 1911 to mark the coronation of King George V. Access to the waterfront where the gun salute will be fired will be restricted from 6.30am. NZDF personnel will be on hand to distribute ear protection and information about the gun salute.

The 100-Gun Salute will be fired at approximately 9.20am as part of the official ceremony at Parliament to mark the beginning of the First World War for New Zealand. Blank ammunition and reduced charges will be used and the salute will be completed in no more than nine minutes.

As part of the Marking the Beginning of the First World War for New Zealand ceremony at 9am, members of the NZDF will be in the grounds of Parliament. Dressed in First World War replica uniforms, they will be positioned at the flagpoles and will lower all flags to half-mast during the ceremony. Three personnel from each Service (Navy, Army and Air Force) in present-day combat uniform will link the NZDF’s history with the modern Defence Force. The Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will provide musical support for the National Anthems and the Last Post ceremony.

The ceremony at Parliament and the 100-Gun Salute will be webcast via WW100’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/WW100nz.

At 5pm, personnel will return to Parliament to strike the flags, by raising them to the top of flagpoles, then lowering them.

What: Wreathlaying ceremony
When: 6:45am
Where: Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National War Memorial in Buckle Street

What: 100-Gun Salute
When: 9:20am (approximately)
Where: Waterfront in front of Te Papa

What: Parliament ceremony
When: 9am
Where: Parliament grounds

Historical background
In 1914, Britain’s proclamation of war was read out to an excited Wellington audience of 15,000 in the grounds of the New Zealand Parliament by Lord Liverpool, the Governor at the time. With a sense of duty and adventure, New Zealand men rushed to sign up to fight for King and country, ready to cross the globe to reach the European battlefields before the "short war" ended. Ten percent of our population of one million served overseas. Of them, more than 18,000 died and over 40,000 were wounded. Nearly every New Zealand family was affected.

WW100 is New Zealand’s programme for the First World War centenary 2014-2019, a mix of Government-led projects, national and international commemorations and community-led events and activities. For more information, visit www.WW100.govt.nz.

100-Gun Salute information
History of gun salutes
The firing of salutes grew from naval tradition. A warship would fire its cannons until all ammunition aboard was spent, demonstrating it was disarmed and it had no hostile intent. Today all salutes are fired with blank cartridges, be they artillery, ship’s guns, or small arms salutes.

The Gun
The light gun being used on August 4 is a towed howitzer, the L119 Hamel 105mm Field Gun. It was originally produced for the British Army in the 1970s and is a variant which has been manufactured under licence in Australia for the Australian and New Zealand Armies since 1990. The L119 Hamel 105mm Field Gun is currently in service with 16 Field Regiment, based at Linton Military Camp.

Current Range: 11,400m
Rate of Fire: Rapid: 6 rds per minute for 1 minute
Normal: 4 rds per minute for 3 minutes
Sustained: 3 rds per minute for 30 minutes
Height: A Frame Height: 2210mm
Height Folded: 1370mm
Weight (w/o platform): 1718Kg

Historical uniforms information
The soldiers will wear the uniform and insignia of each of the 16 infantry companies, and each of the 12 Mounted Rifles squadrons that sailed from New Zealand 100 years ago. The Maori Contingent, the NZ Signal Corps, NZ Engineering Corps and NZ Army Nursing Service will also be represented.

The platoon will be equipped with the Long Tom and Lee Enfield Rifles used by the NZEF in 1914.


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