- Australia’s Light Horse captured Ottoman Empire artillery piece in WWI’s last stages
- Three-year restoration process required re-learning original manufacturing skills
A World War One era artillery piece – captured from the Ottoman Empire but resident in WA for almost a century – was today officially returned to public display after an extensive restoration process.
The German-made Krupp 75mm field gun was manufactured in 1905 as part of an Ottoman Empire order for 600 such weapons.
Australian Light Horse troops captured the gun in the Middle East during the latter stages of World War One and it was shipped to Melbourne in 1919 with many other trophies – mainly artillery pieces and machine guns.
Many of these trophies became fixtures in parks and at war memorials across Australia, and this gun was allocated to the Pingelly Memorial Park in the 1920s. Records show that it was located in the Mussel Pool picnic area, in what is now Whiteman Park, in the 1960s.
By this stage the gun’s wheels and other parts were missing and it was removed from public display in 2011. In 2015, Whiteman Park began the restoration project with assistance from the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of Western Australia.
The restoration included manufacturing new timber wheels and reconstruction of the trail, which required the revival of the craft of hot riveting.
The Moora Returned & Services League (RSL) and Shire of Moora Council gave access to their Krupp gun to enable the recreation of missing parts for the restoration project.
Historians at Whiteman Park’s Revolutions Transport Museum undertook extensive research on the gun’s history in WA. All guns received a unique number that was stamped into various parts during manufacture – with this gun known as Krupp 546.
As stated by Veterans Issues Minister Peter Tinley:
“This magnificently restored piece of artillery encapsulates much about Australia’s war experience. It was captured as World War One came to an end 100 years ago in the Middle East by troops from one of Australia’s most famous regiments, the Light Horse.
“It was returned as a war trophy to Australia in 1919 and was used as a monument to our war dead, one of hundreds of similar monuments in cities and towns across our nation.
“This particular gun is once again on public display and is a sombre reminder of how wars were once fought – with the same intent of protecting our national freedoms and interests but with a vastly different way of prosecution from our modern era of computer-assisted conflict, drones and smart bombs.
“I congratulate the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society WA for the expertise and dedication that was critical in the completion of this project and for the work of the Revolutions Transport Museum.”