Dunbar’s 25 pounder gun is removed for restoration

Removal of the 25pdr gun by Sgt Brian Shearer, WO1 [RSM] Mark Paterson, and Sgt Adrian Hales.
Removal of the 25pdr gun by Sgt Brian Shearer, WO1 [RSM] Mark Paterson, and Sgt Adrian Hales.

The 25 pounder gun at Dunbar, which remains as a lasting memorial of the part played by artillery in the long history of the town, is to be restored.

Dunbar Community Council has been anxious for some time about the need for the gun’s maintenance and had declared an intention to carry the work but this was proving difficult.

It was therefore delighted when the current RSM of 105 Regiment WO1, Mark Paterson, approached chairman Stephen Bunyan to say that he had been alerted to the state of the gun and wished to offer to arrange for its restoration.

After some discussion, and with the agreement of East Lothian Council, it was agreed that the gun be taken back to the Regimental HQ at Colinton where RSM Paterson and S/Sgt Adrian Hales will carry out a voluntary restoration project.

Mr Bunyan said: “I am delighted that this solution to the problem is in hand because I know that an excellent restoration of a very historic gun from the first word war period has just been completed by S/Sgt Hales.

“It is gratifying that this restoration is being done in the Queen’s Jubilee year as HM is the Captain General of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. It will obviously be away for some time but hopefully will be back by VJ day.

There is a long tradition of the presence of artillery in Dunbar. 34 Battery of 16 Field Brigade was in the town before the Second World War and was armed with 18 pounders, the predecessor to the 25 pounder.

In 1958 Frank Tindall, the county planning officer, proposed to develop Castle Park Barracks as a Coach and Sports Centre. The proposal foundered but he acquired four 25 pounders at a cost of £25 each plus £25 for transport. He placed these on the Barracks Square. These, as he says in his autobiography, he saw, as “great playthings for children of all ages.”

They were popular certainly with the young and were a source of interest to residents and visitors.

They had a chequered history over the years and eventually disappeared from view and three were disposed of. The community council and East Lothian Council came under pressure to do something with the one which remained.

The current gun was handed over and dedicated on Sunday, September 4, 2005, when Col T.R.R. Weston TD OBE, unveiled the Information Board. Major John Towers, second in command of 105 Regiment, representing Lt Col E.C. Grace RA, handed over the gun to the keeping of Dunbar Community Council and East Lothian Council.

The Rev Neil Gardner, former chaplain to 40th Field Regiment RA, dedicated the gun as a memorial to those who were involved in the Second World War.