7th Field Battery, 3rd Regiment, Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery
It is tasked with engaging targets of immediate concern to units of the 13th Brigade and the provision of timely, intimate offensive fire support to such units.
Until recently the battery was a six-gun battery utilising the United States designed M2A2 Howitzer firing 105mm ammunition, however, following the reorganisation of the Australian Army Reserve's artillery units, the battery now uses the 81mm mortar as its primary weapon platform. The unit maintains a number of M2A2s for ceremonial duties such as 21-gun salutes.
7th Field Battery, 3rd Field Regiment traces its lineage back to the Union Troop of Western Australian Volunteers, formed in the Western Australian colony on 19 July, 1870. By the 1890’s the unit was titled 1st (Western Australian) Field Battery, Australian Field Artillery. Several members volunteered for service in the Boer War, serving with the Mounted Infantry, and one of these, Lieutenant Bell, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions under fire.
At the outbreak of the First World War the Battery was retitled 8 Battery of the 3rd Field Brigade and departed for Egypt. At this time it was under the command of another Boer War veteran, Major Bessell-Brown, and formed part of the 1st Division Artillery under the command of a previous Battery Commander, Colonel Talbot Hobbs. Hobbs would later command the 5th Division at Villers Bretonneux and, on his return to Perth, would design the Western Australian War Memorial. 8th Battery was among the first to see action at Gallipoli, and it was twice placed in the front trenches to fire over open sites into the enemy positions. The Battery was withdrawn on 19 December 1915, reorganised and sent to France where it served with distinction throughout the war. It is worth noting that it was a gun from 8th Battery that fired the last artillery round at Gallipoli.
Between the wars there were two militia batteries in Western Australia and, in the Second World War, these combined to form 6th Battery of the 2nd/3rd Field Regiment and later 14th Battery of the 2nd/7th Field Regiment. Captain Bessell-Browne, whose father commanded the Battery at Gallipoli a quarter of a century earlier, commanded 6th Battery. 6th Battery participated in the ill-fated Greece and Crete campaigns and saw much action, usually in support of fellow West Australians in the 2nd/11th Battalion. 14th Battery saw significant action in the Middle East, including the Battle of El Alamein. The Western Australian gunners then served in action throughout the South West Pacific, and Indonesia.
After the war, in 1948, the 3rd Field Regiment was re-raised with P and Q Batteries, which were renamed 7th and 8th Batteries in 1965. In 1975 the unit was reduced to its current composition of one field battery designated the 7th Field Battery, 3rd Regiment. In 2003, the Battery consists of a headquarters element, a command post, four 105mm M2A2 Howitzer detachments and other supporting elements, and trains hard to maintain a high standard of artillery skills in support of the units of 13th Brigade.
The 105mm M2A2 howitzer is a towed field artillery weapon. It weighs about 2 tonnes and was brought into service in the Australian army in 1967. It is currently used by 7th field battery for ceremonial salutes firing blank cartridges. The salutes commemorate certain events in Australia and are fired every year at the same time and location. The 21 gun salutes are the 26th January, Australia day, in Kings Park and 22nd September, Queen’s Birthday Salute, in Kings Park. Other salutes include Western Australian Symphony Orchestra 1812 overture on 10th December on the esplanade for their symphony in the city show. Also 7th Field Battery provides a minute gun for the opening of the yachting session at the Royal Perth Yacht Club on the 12 December.
The motto of 7th Field Battery, 3rd Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery is'Ubique', which is Latin for 'Everywhere'.