Sunday, July 31, 2016


Gary died last week.   He and I go back half a century.   Very few of you will recognise the name but he was a member of the '(in)famous four' whose action back in 1965 in driving an M41 tank up to the Waiouru Officers Mess and firing a blank round from from its main (76mm) armament with the 'snout' of the gun poked through the main door is still talked about by many with a certain degree of awe and bemusement.

The blast blew devastated the foyer and started a fire in the ceiling; blew away the double doors leading into the Mess proper as well as the side doors providing access to the Ladies toilets and the 'Red' Room; devastated the old Bar (and the civilian Bar Manager ... Con the Greek who thereafter bemoaned to everyone the loss of his personal bottle of Ouzo) and blew out many of the Mess windows.

The story went round the world.   It featured in newspapers in UK and Aust and even in Time Magazine Snippits.

To be fair the Mess was a squalid dump.   The adjacent Junior Officers living quarters even more so but such was the pace of change that it only took the military another two decades to replace it.  

The career of the tank commander who was also a decorated Korean War veteran stalled. He was never promoted again.   The cost of repairs was born by those involved.   I can tell you with some feeling that a Second Lieutenant paid a lot.   Lieutenants, Captains and Majors paid much more.

Gary Malcolm Corkin, 1943-2016.   Gone but never forgotten.   RIP.


JC said...

I heard that story (and many more) from a retired guy who was there at the time.

His stories on the treatment of stores were enlightening :)


Anonymous said...

Gary was a great guy_ He was my platoon commander when I was a junior NCO during the National Service days, and we later served together as lieutenant colonels in Trentham. Rest in Peace Gary.

Stewart 61.

Shelldrake said...

A great character and staunch friend and advisor to many. A legend in the post war army.

RIP Gary

Parkinson 64