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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Memoir : The Arty Centre at Nashik Road

The Arty Centre

As a bachelor I was posted to Artillery Centre at Nashik Road. I was part of the Air Force element of the helicopter units attached to the Artillery Centre. The Artillery centre in Nashik Road is over a 125 years old and was setup by the British Indian army to train gunners. Earlier it was a British cantonment and was much liked by the English soldiers. At one time it also housed the Staff College. It is in short the home of the Artillery which remains one of the most important arms of the Indian army. The Artillery centre also has its own airfield from which Air Observation Posts take off to help direct gun fire on the enemy. Presently the AOP's are equipped with the Chetak Mark II helicopters, which are a derivative of the French Allouette choppers.

The artillery centre trains recruits to handle and fire guns. It has long ranges that are used for long range firing practice and that includes heavy guns like the 155 mm cannons. The latest radar controlled guns and rockets fired from launchers
 are also tested here. In fact when as part of the staff college team we came to Nashik , the commandant organized a live firing demonstration of rockets on to the distant hills, some 10 miles away.

The Mini Museum

The Officers  mess has a mini museum and is decorated with wall paintgs that bring out the history of the Arty regiments of the Indian army. Over a period of time some of the paintings need a touch up and I hope some experts can be drafted for the same. The paintings show Sikh gunners and later I learnt that during the days of the Raj, the Sikhs and Punjabi Muslims were preferred for these arty regiments.The paintings are all by British painters who were with the artillery regiments

The artillery centre is part of folklore of the Indian army and and traces a long history. It is very well kept and worth a visit. Civilian visitors can also visit after taking permission from the Commandant. .Nashik Road can be easily reached by rail from Mumbai and lies on the Mumbai- Nagpur/ Allahabad route.

Lstly, I remember dances at the Temple Hills club witha lovely Anglo Girl who was a teacher at St Barnes High School as well as long rides with her on my Enfiled through the mountains of the Ghats.

Both photos of paintings in Officers Mess are uploaded by me