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Friday, 13 August 2010

Not standard school equipment

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While I was at the Evangelium Conference at the Oratory School, Reading last Saturday, I took the above photo of a piece of school equipment outside the Headquarters of the Combined Cadet Force who formed a guard of honour for the Blessed Sacrament Procession at the school in June. I don't expect that it can be obtained from the standard education supplies catalogues.

Back home, I consulted the Blackfen Military Attaché (Blackfen readers will probably guess who he is) to obtain identification of this piece of equipment. It is an Ordnance QF 25 pounder with muzzle flash suppressor. The 25 pounder was introduced into service during World War II and was used in training units until the 1908s. Which all goes to show the truth of the observation made by my friend Lt Col Corum many years ago when we were at a pistol shooting range near Oxford, that in the British Army the weapons that are used for training are older than the men firing them. (If you're interested, I did fire a Smith & Wesson 38 and a Colt 45 and managed to hit the target.)

The 25 pounder was widely used in Normandy with such efficiency that the Germans thought that we had an automatic artillery piece. I have reason therefore to be grateful for this gun since it presumably contributed to keeping my father alive while he was operating the radio in the tank. (Along with most people who have seen active service, he would also be the first to regret the loss of life on the other side.)

Here's the thing working:

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