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HMS Renown & Rifle Team Matches

Dec 5, 2023 | Sport History

by Gary Somerville, Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club

HMS Renown was a battle-cruiser in the Royal Navy Fleet and although delivered in 1916 she did not see combat during WW1.

Renown was refitted to act as a Royal Yacht, firstly for the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII in 1920 and then in 1927 for the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. On both occasions the tours included stops in Australia and New Zealand.

During both tours, to Australia, the crew of the Renown numbering between 950 and 1250 were entertained with various organised sporting events including Fullbore and Miniature Rifle Teams events. Other events organised included, picnics, harbour cruises, dances and theatre performances.

In 1920, the HMS Renown and the Prince of Wales, travelled to Victoria, New South Wales, then, Western Australia, before returning eastward through South Australia, Tasmania then Queensland.

In Sydney the NRA of NSW organised a match at Randwick for teams of 20 a side with 10 shots at 500 and 600 yards.

The NRA team selected[1] was G.L Ardill, Col. Newmarch, G Lindsay, F Le Maitre, O.J Stanton, Lieut-Col. Beardsmore, J.J Blumer, Major Goodsell, T.L. Westbrook, S.J Plowman, J.J. Mathison, F.S. Greer, J.A.S. Balmain, T. Finlay, Lieut.-Col. Blacklow, P.H. Partridge, T. Hogan and H.B. Jamieson.

The NRA Team was victorious by 44 points and interestingly, it was reported that the shooting was done with the British Navy Service Rifles and that they used the round nosed Mk6 Ammunition for one range and the pointed Mk7[2] ammunition for the other. This was possibly the first time that Australian Rifle Club personnel had used the Mk7 ammunition.

Other Rifle Matches appear to have been organised in Albany, South Australia and Tasmania with a Smallbore match against the Ultimo[3] Club.

When the HMS Renown returned to Sydney a second match was organised at Chatswood Rifle Range between the NRA of NSW with the Renown team winning[4] by 8 points.

In 1927, the Duke of York arrived in Victoria and spent time in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory with the principle duty of the Duke being the opening of Parliament House in Canberra.

A similar welcome of organised sports awaited the crew of the HMS Renown with rifle matches held at Long Bay[5] and again at the Anzac Range, Liverpool against a NSW side as well as against the 36th Battalion (Haberfield)[6] Rifle Club (won by Haberfield).

In Melbourne a Teams match was proposed against the Citizens Forces, the RAN and the VRA (won by the Renown team) as well as the Melbourne[7] and St Kilda[8] Rifle Clubs. Wins were registered by both the home teams. Another match between the Renown and the Melbourne and St Kilda teams was arranged with Melbourne[9] Rifle Club the victors.

In a miniature rifle match against the HMS Renown the Metropolitan Miniature Rifle Club’s Union the MMRCU team was successful. See the Attached Souvenir Score Card of the event.

In Perth HMS Renown and HMAS Sydney[10] met in a friendly match against the Fremantle Rifle Club and the Council of the NRA with Fremantle winning the day.

After a successful visit, HMS Renown left from Perth to return home to England.

Above & Below: Souvenir Score Card from the Mosman-Neutral Bay Rifle Club Collection











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