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2nd New Zealand Divisional Artillery



Mount Vesuvius hid itself behind a mist when 25 Field Battery sailed past from Naples in the Strathmore on 21 February. On 1 March the gunners saw the last of Africa—Cape Gardafui. They called at Colombo and later at Singapore, and then on 15 March they had a long run up the channel in a misty morning to Hong Kong. They caught their first glimpse of Japan in the afternoon of the 18th and next morning had the Duke of York to escort them into Kure Harbour. They disembarked on the 22nd, travelled by train through Hiroshima, and settled in barracks at Yamaguchi.

Thus they began their service in the occupation force. They shared it with 150 Field Battery, RA, under Major Roscoe Turner, A Australian Field Battery under Major Tim Rodriguez, and 30 Indian Field Battery under Major Andrew George. With these three independent batteries, 25 Battery carried out manoeuvres and live shoots. These were rare occasions, however, and for the most part the gunners picketed various places or mounted formal guards or searched for black-market operators. They drilled to keep fit and maintain their gunnery skills. In their spare time they studied or went sightseeing or perhaps to the races at Ozuki.

At the end of the year Jack Spring departed and Major Archibald8 took his place, and in due course Archibald was replaced by a veteran of veterans, Major Langevad, who had been decorated in the First World War and had been the original RSM of the 5th Field. It was Bill Langevad's task at Ube in the Yamaguchi prefecture on 22 May 1947 to begin to disband the battery. Almost all the original Jayforce gunners had by this time been replaced by men direct from New Zealand. Some of these transferred to other elements of Jayforce. The remainder returned home and the guns came with them.