RIGHT OF THE LINE
Observer, Rōrahi XXXIII, Putanga 52, 6 Mahuru 1913, Page 2
RIGHT OF THE LINE
And Pride of the Army
THE other night soldiers, past and present, of the " A" Battery R.N.Z.F.A.T. gathered together in amity, expressing that esprit without which any corps, military or civil, commercial or official, is as a drum with a hole in it. The gathering is a welcome excuse for emphasising the possibility that these men and their comrades of all arms—but particularly the gunners— may be called upon some day to do the work for which they were embodied. The re-union of the " A " Battery testifies in minor way the essential necessity for indivisible unity. You may have an army or an army corps, a column or a regiment, a battalion or a company, a battery or a squadron, a company or a section, a " lance Jack " and two files, but any of these without a single purpose, a true sentimental and physical unity, an absolute and supreme control, and an ungrudging discipline, is a danger and not a strength. Most soldier stories, recitations, songs, and so on, emphasise the glory of dying for one's country— getting killed in battle. It is much better to live for the army, the battery or the regiment. A dead soldier is a nuisance. He's only work for a burying party that ought to be doing something for the living. » * * We want to emphasise the value of tradition and age old sentiment in relation to military work in New Zealand. The officers, non-coms, and men of the " A " Battery are the comrades of the
officers, non-coms, and men of every battery in Britain and throughout the Em-pire—their business is the same, their inspiration from the same source,-their work for the same end. The Imperial l fraternity of gunners, of the Greater Imperial Army as a whole, in fact, means' that if batteries from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or India met together in any Imperial cause the sentiment and esprit that inspires units would inspire the composite whole, and that the whole would move as easily as any part of it because of the bond of brotherhood and the "soul" that is the essence of the service. This particular battery is largely manned by recruits. Recruits have turned the fortunes of many battles. Why ? You take a raw boy, give him a little gruelling, stick him behind a gun, in the front rank of charging infantry, and expect him to do. the work of the hardened veteran. He does it. He has always done it. It is because of the " esprit," the one soul that animates a regiment. It doesn't, matter that the whole personnel of a corps may change in a few years. The soul remains. Sentiment, loyalty to the old corps, love of it as a real entity draws, old hands towards new hands.
Wherever British gunners have been they have never shown the wnite feather That is the inspiration for every gunner now alive. Do you think that the old gunner reservist who was called to the colours during the South African War doesn't love his old battery because it was " It'? Did he run away and hide when one by one his section was shotdown at Koornspruit, every horse wounded, and himself with a bulletthrough both cheeks and his throat full of blood ? He did the best he could. Hestuck to it. He was battling to get a shell away as long as he lived. It wasn't the old reservist who was doing it. Itwas the inspiration, the tradition, thewhole glorious record of the R.H.A. thatwas doing it.
The same inspiration enthuses Auckland youngsters and makes them do the best that is in them with untrained 1 horses. Maybe the boys don't alwaysrealise the possibility that they-will ever knock lumps off anything but inanimatetargets. Don't gaze on the "A " Battery as a collection of young fellows engaged' as blacksmiths, carpenters, plasterers,, farmers, clerks or shop assistants who* man the guns for amusement. Remember that they are part of the great Imperial Battery with the inspiring motto'• Übique," who never gave in while there was a man to serve a gun or a hand to fire it. The "A " Battery or any other battery is the heart of every man whohas ever belonged to it. If to-morrow there came a call " Out the Battery !" doyou think the baldheaded has-beenswould want to stay at home seeking the slugs in the cabbage patch ? The heart of the battery is the heart of the army, the heart of the army is the heart of the. Empire.