The History of 107 Battery, RAA
World War One period - 1915 to 1919:
Originally raised as 28th Battery at “Warren” Marrickville, Sydney, in 1915 and equipped with 18 pounders, it formed part of 7th Field Artillery Brigade. The Brigade embarked on the SS Argyllshire on 11th May 1916 and arrived in England on 12th July 1916. At this time the Australian Artillery was reorganised to match its British counterpart. Initially howitzer brigades of three four-gun batteries were established, with the batteries numbered consecutively from 101. However by the time 7th Brigade arrived in England the howitzer brigades had been abolished and one howitzer battery was allocated to each of the field brigades. 28 Battery was re-equipped with 4.5-inch howitzers and redesignated 107th Howitzer Battery.
107th Howitzer Battery first saw action near Armentiers in early 1917, as part of 3rd AIF Division commanded by General Monash. Subsequently it saw action at Ypres, Ploegsteert, Zonnebeke, Passchendale, Hell Fire Corner, Messines and Menin Gate. At armistice, the battery strength was 181 all ranks; having lost 19 killed in action, 12 died of wounds, one died of illness, 119 wounded and 41 gassed.
Between the Wars period - 1919 to 1938:
Repatriated to Australia in 1919, the AIF battery was disbanded. However a militia 107th Battery remained, initially at North Sydney and later at Willoughby. It was horse-drawn, consisting of four 4.5-inch howitzers, each hauled by six horses. The numbers One and Ten (Sergeant & Bombardier) rode on single mounts. Each pair of horses had a driver and two gunners rode on each of the gun, limber and ammunition wagons.
Second World War period - 1939 to 1943:
With the outbreak of World War Two, the old iron tyred gun-wheels were replaced with pneumatic tyres and the horses by commercial three tonne trucks. The battery was deployed to Geraldton, WA, as part of 7th Field Regiment, supporting 8 Brigade Group. In 1942 the 4.5-inch howitzers were replaced with 25 pounders and the Battery redesignated 107th Field Battery. Although actively involved in the Defence of Australia, the battery did not see action. On 28th October 1943, the battery marched through the streets of Sydney and was disbanded the following month.
Recent years 1965 -1966:
On 1st June 1965, Lieutenant Colonel R. Curbis, Commanding Officer 1st Field Regiment, requested authority from Headquarters RAA, 1st Division to raise an additional battery. DRA/686 dated 6th July 1965 designated 107th Field Battery, when formed. Formally raised on 1st August 1965 the Battery was complete by September.
But from the 1st June the battery had commenced to assemble from resources not considered essential to the other units. The first Battery Commander, Captain Peter Badcoe, VC, oversaw the raising of the 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer gun battery. Members of the new Battery felt like the “poor relatives” in where most were preparing for service in Vietnam. A metal sign depicting a very sad looking black merino ram was produced for the Battery sign and for each of the Battery vehicles. By 1967 the Battery was acquitting it self among the best, so the subsequent Battery Commander, Major George Barnard, decided that the Battery emblem should be more aggressive, so the RAM was made “Rampant” and was declared the official emblem. It was also at this time that Major Marfell DSO, Battery Commander of 107th Howitzer Battery 1916-1919, Sam Browne belt and sword were presented to the Battery.
The battery deployed to and relieved A Battery at Terendak Camp, Malacca on 16th September 1967. Equipped with 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer, the battery exercised regularly at Asahan Range with elements of the battery also in Brunei and the east coast of Malaysia, as well as providing relief and replacements to the Artillery units in Vietnam. The production of the history of 107 Fd Bty in Malaysia is a project of the 107 Fd Bty Assn.
In October 1969, the battery returned and joined the Australian component as part of 4th Field Regiment, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville and was equipped with six M2A2 Howitzers and four 25 pounders, ammunition for the latter being abundant.
Less than seven months later, 107 Fd Bty relieved 101 Fd Bty at Koala gun position Nui Dat and, at 1710 hours 7th May 1970, reported ready on theatre grid. On the 7th March 1971 at 1200 hours, the battery then came under command of 12 Fd Regt RAA. It was then replaced by 104 Fd Bty on 5th May 1971 and returned home to Australia.
On return to Australia, 107 Fd Bty rejoined 4th Field Regiment RAA at Chau Pha Lines, Lavarack Barracks, Townsville. It was initially re-equipped with six 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer. In 1973 the guns were replaced with six M2A2 Howitzers. In 1974 the computerised fire control system FACE was introduced.
In 1979, 4 Fd Regt became the artillery element of the Operational Deployment Force, capable of deployment within 28 days. To enable the rapid deployment using UH1H Iroquois and CH47 Chinook aircraft, the battery was reequipped with the L5 Pack Howitzers. In 1980 the Armoured Personnel Carrier mounted FACE was supplemented with the man portable FABS backup fire control system. The next year the FACE equipment was reconfigured as Land Rover mounted.
In 1985 the battery conducted trials on the proposed Hammel gun. Finally in 1989 the L5 Pack Howitzer was replaced permanently with the 105 mm L119 Hamel Gun.
In November 1992,
in Somali Australia contributed an infantry battalion group to UNITAF. The group totalled 990 personnel and was based around 1RAR, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel David Hurley. In addition to troops from 1RAR, there was a full compliment of BC & FO parties from 107 Fd Bty. The Australians were based in Baidoa Humanitarian Relief Sector, west of Mogadishu.
In 2000, elements of 107 Fd Bty deployed with 1st Battalion Group to East Timor.
In May 2002 with the battery deployed at Star Airstrip, Bravo Gun commanded by Sergeant Buxton, a round exploded when fired. The gun was totally destroyed with the breach ending up in the ammunition bay and the barrel broken in half. Although shocked, the gunners were relieved and amazed that no one was killed or seriously injured.
RCB tours (Rifle Company Butterworth) - Malaysia rotations.
107 Fd Bty - 2 May - 26 Jul 2006 - RCB 74 - BC MAJ G. Cassar, BSM WO2 B. Armstrong
107 Bty - 4 Aug - 4 Nov 2014 - RCB 107 - BC MAJ T. Drew, BSM WO2 M. Kelly
28 April - 15 Oct 2007 - 107 Fd Bty deployed as Golf Company 1 RAR to Timor Leste' on 'Operation Astute'
Sinai Multinational Force and Observers
5 Aug 2014 - 15 Feb 2015 SGT Brendan Murray - Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai, Egypt - 'OP Mazurka'
CAPT Cooper Dale - 15 Apr-17 Dec 2014 - 205 Coalition Advisary Team - 'OP Slipper'
CAPT Ben White - Jun 2014- Feb 2015 - Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy - 'OP Slipper'