If you hear big guns and a roaring chorus tomorrow morning, do not be alarmed.
Tomorrow morning at 10.50am, gunners from the 16th Field Regiment of the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery will conduct a 100-gun salute on Wellington’s waterfront.
The Regiment from Linton Military Camp are playing a key role in commemorating the centenary of the signing of the Armistice, signalling the end of the First World War.
Ten 105mm Howitzer guns, placed outside Te Papa and facing over the harbour, will fire a single shot (of blank ammunition) in turn until 100 shots have been fired. The guns will then fall silent at 11am, as the guns did at the same time, on the same day, in 1918.
The public is encouraged to view the historic occasion, with the best viewing points on the waterfront in front of the museum on either side of the exclusion safety zone, or along the waterfront outside the Wharewaka Function Centre and Boatshed.
Lieutenant Colonel Kristian Dunne, Commanding Officer 16th Field Regiment, said the Regiment was honoured to be part of the programme to commemorate the end of the First World War.
“The Regiment commemorated the start of the First World War 100th anniversary in 2014 with a 100-gun salute and being able to do the same to commemorate the end of the conflict is very poignant,” Lieutenant Colonel Dunne said.
“We value our nation’s history and we believe it’s important to pay our respects to those who fought and to their families.
“Many of our personnel can trace a family connection to the First World War and this event will be very special to them.”
The light gun being used for the salute is a towed Howitzer (L119 Hamel 105mm Field Gun). It stands 2.21m tall and weighs more than 1700kg. It provides close, indirect fire support to combat troops, and can fire a variety of ammunition types, including high explosive, illumination and smoke.
To mark the occasion of the centenary a Royal Regiment artillery salute — including the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery, the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, and the Royal Artillery — will also be fired sequentially by time zone.
These salutes will be posted on each Regiment’s social media platforms.
The 100-gun salute will be live-streamed on the NZDF Facebook page www.facebook.com/NZDefenceForce.
The salute will be followed by silence at 11.00 to mark the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended WW1.
This year, the two minutes of silence will be broken at 11.02am by a cacophony of noise, recapturing the 1918 reaction.
If you’re on the road, be ready for some loud noise, stay focused on the road and be safe.