World War II heritage listed gun relocated to new South Perth RSL

The World War II gun outside the old South Perth RSL branch on the corner of Angelo and Anstey streets in South Perth will soon be moved to a new location. Photo: David Baylis
The World War II gun outside the old South Perth RSL branch on the corner of Angelo and Anstey streets in South Perth will soon be moved to a new location. Photo: David Baylis

THE heritage listed World War II field gun iconic to South Perth has a new home after more than 50 years stationed on Angelo Street.

The quick firing 25-pounder Howitzer Mark I gun was relocated on Friday from outside the old RSL building to a dedicated site at Ernest Johnston Reserve.

The relic was shifted to its new home about one kilometre away via crane following the RSL’s move to the John McGrath Pavilion earlier this year.

Built in 1942, the lethal weapon was used by the British Commonwealth in battle during WWII and was the UK’s primary artillery field piece until the 1960s.

City of South Perth Mayor Sue Doherty said the RSL bought the gun from the army, which was selling surplus war stock, in 1961 for 75 pounds, which equates to about $2930 in today’s money.

Current South Perth RSL president Justin Regan said getting the weapon to Perth was a monumental feat with the then members making the more than three-hour drive to the Nungarin Ordinance Deport to collect it.

Mr Regan said the members hooked the gun up to a tow truck and made the thirst-quenching memorial trip, stopping at every water hole on the journey back.

The decommissioned gun was placed on Angelo Street in April 1962 as a memorial to the WWII gunners who lost their lives during conflict.

An Australian 25-pounder Field Gun Howitzer Mark I in use during World War II at El Alamein, Egypt, in July 1942.

According to the RSL, the gun wasn’t initially secured and until a brace was fixed to the gun, local youths would release the brakes and roll it onto the road to the annoyance of local police and local government.

Listed on the City of South Perth’s Municipal Heritage list, the gun was restored in 2010 and is now a fixed feature of the new RSL building on Sandgate Street.

Plans for the old RSL building site and the field gun are currently under review by the City.