Ordnance, Quick Firing 25 Pound Mk II
The 25 Pounder – as it is more commonly known – began its life on the drawing boards of the British Royal Artillery in 1936, however it did not go into production until the start of the Second World War. The first New Zealand Artillery unit to receive the 25 Pounder was 5 Field Regiment, RNZA, who gladly exchanged their World War One vintage 18 Pounders in England in August of 1940. With the 25 Pounder being mass-produced in England and Canada it very soon became the standard field gun of all of the British and Commonwealth forces. By the end of the Second World War over 12,000 had been manufactured.
When the New Zealand Government decided to send troops to form part of the United Nations force in Korea, 16 Field Regiment, RNZA, was formed and equipped with the 25 Pounder. Between 1951 and 1954 the guns of 16 Field Regiment fired 797,000 rounds, this included nearly 10,000 rounds fired in support of 3 Royal Australian Regiment during the battle of Kap’yong.
In 1963 the Regular Force units of the New Zealand Artillery began to replace the 25 Pounder with the British L5 105mm Pack Howitzer. The 25 Pounder continued to be used in New Zealand by the Territorial Force Artillery and it was not until January 1977 that the last live rounds were fired. In September 1977 the 25 Pounder was formally withdrawn from operational service, but this did not mean its end. The ceremonial Saluting Battery at Point Jerningham, overlooking Wellington Harbour, still uses the 25 Pounder to mark official events. The venerable 25 Pounder is also New Zealand’s official funeral gun carriage. No longer active – but still in service.