Report No 17 of the Gunners’ Association of South Africa: Heritage Gun Restoration Committee

Johannesburg, Friday 26 November 2021

I am pleased to report good progress in 2021.

ZOO GUN

Figure 1: Johannesburg Zoo Gun

As can be seen from the above picture, the Zoo Gun is now complete and back in position. The final touch was the installation by Gnr Pestana of the tampion manufactured by Gnr Wiid.

A group of volunteer gunners also improved the plinth it is standing on by painting inter-alia the chains and the bollards, and polishing the bronze plaque.

My thanks go to a wide range of gunners who contributed to this project. Particular thanks to Gnr Bloem who rebuilt the wheels.

The gun is to be unveiled early in 2022 either by the Mayor or the Speaker of the City of Johannesburg.

40mm BOFORS AA GUN.

The 40mm Bofors has now been sandblasted and resprayed and will be returned to the Gunners’ Memorial in Potchefstroom. Sincere thanks to Gnr Wassermeier for his support of this project.

DURBAN QF 13 PDR GUN.

The next project which has already been started by the KZN Branch, is the full restoration of the 13 Pdr which stood at the Memorial next to Lord’s Ground, Durban. This will be an extensive project requiring the construction of two wooden wheels. Because of the sea air, rust has also been taken its toll. The gun has already been moved to a nearby workshop.

BARBERTON PLINTH

Although this is not the restoration of a gun, Gunners will no doubt be interested in this project.

Background

The plinths (which address each unit) were built during WWII (1942?) by members of the 5th Brigade. Some years back the Gunner Plinth was vandalised and the bronze badge and the names of the units below it (6TH Field, 7TH Field and 15TH Field) stolen.

Below are pictures of the plinth before and after the vandalisation.

Before Vandalisation
After Vandalisation    

The local Shellhole, Lone Tree, maintains the plinths.

Repair Options

The Shellhole recommends that the top two centimetres be removed and replaced because there are cracks. They estimate that this will cost ± R6000, and repainting R2000.

There are various options for replacing the badge and the unit names. One is to use an inscribed granite slab and the other is to have the badge and unit names remoulded in a material which is not attractive to vandals.

Whichever route we choose, we must remember that this is the restoration of a plinth built in 1942 so the design/materials can’t be too modern. The final product must also fit in with the other plinths.

Way Forward

The East Rand Branch has accepted responsibility for this project which they hope to complete in time for the annual parade in August 2022.  

REGISTER

The Register of Heritage Guns now has 464 guns on it of which 209 have been inspected.

The conversion of the Register to a data base is nearing completion.

CONCLUSION

Despite COVID-19, it has been a very productive year for the Heritage Gun Restoration Project. Thanks to all who made a contribution.

Keep safe!

Gnr Roy Andersen

Heritage Gun Restoration Committee: Chairman