The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4 (July 1, 1938.)
The Perfect Gunner
The Perfect Gunner.
“'Hullo, Mac, There goes your old girl,’ one of us says, turning to Macnaghten of the Artillery, who had been standing there. We had two field-pieces with us in No. 1 while in No. 3 were two more guns, one of them a 24lb. howitzer, which Macnaghten loved as he never loved woman. The shyest, most silent, retiring of men, it was said of him that when he was in any civilized place he took his walks at night in order to avoid meeting women. Certain it was that if he did meet a lady he was as likely as not to jump a wall and so escape having to return her salutation. None of us, men or officers, wore uniform in its proper sense—blue serge smocks, corduroy trousers, and so forth, constituted our usual get-up, but shabbier than all the other rags was Macnaghten's pea-jacket. But that rusty jacket covered perhaps the most gallant heart of all. Poor lad, you have no length of days before you! Ere two months have passed a bullet is to pierce that brave heart.
“But Macnaghten was now nowhere to be seen. It turned out that when he saw that the real attack was directed on No. 3 Redoubt his thoughts turned to his beloved 24lb. howitzer, and he longed to be with her. So, knowing that if he asked permission to go down by himself to the front, it would be refused, he quietly slipped out of our redoubt and stole away to the beleaguered fortifications, regardless of the risk of encountering Maoris in the darkness, or of being shot by the defenders of No. 2. He reached the rear of it, entered, and assured himself of the safety of the ‘old girl.'