Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

World War Two Mortar Gun Donated and Refurbished

Having spent six weeks being refurbished in the 102 Field Workshop in Townsville, a donated German mortar gun has now been mounted outside the Calen Memorial Hall.

The new addition, a 7.58-centimetre Minewerefer Trench Mortar Gun, was first used in World War l.

The gun is portable by hand, operated by four or five men and would fire three-inch shells.

Found underneath a tree on a Mount Charlton farm, it is believed the gun had resided there for over 50 years.

Tremain Thomas, of the Calen War Memorial believes it is likely that the mortar gun is one of 100 purchased by the Australian Army around 1930, just before World War I, from Germany.

These guns were modified for a lower angel of trajectory, for jungle canopy engagement.

A handful of the German guns were used by Australian troops in World War Two, on the Owen Stanley Ranges, more specifically, the Kokoda Track.

It is unclear how the mortar gun came to the farm in Mount Charlton, however the donation is appreciated by the Calen War Memorial.

The refurbishment work took six weeks and was undertaken by the 102 Field Workshop in Townsville, before it was returned to Calen, with the help from St Helens RSL Sub Branch.

The unveiling of the refurbished gun took place on the day of the Calen ANZAC Day service and was attended by Member for Whitsunday, Amanda Camm, and Mackay Councillor Pauline Townsend.

“It was good to see them,” Mr Thomas said.

The monument now sits outside the Calen Memorial Hall for the community to enjoy.

The German mortar gun now sits outside the Calen Memorial Hall

Merv Thomas, St Helens Sub Branch RSL President John Farren-Price, Tremain Thomas, Corporal Jesse Thomas, Member for Whitsunday Amanda Camm MP, Craftsman Connor Thomas, absent Heath Thomas. Photos supplied

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