My friend Nicoadded a useful piece of information about the stampings on the breech block. The "Fried." stands for Friedrich, as in Friedrich Krupp. "Friedrich Krupp" makes up the first part of the name of the manufacturing company. The three interlocking circles in a triangle pattern were part of the company's mark.
(There is a useful wikipedia article about the Krupp firm here, but itmay be subject to some bias from time to time since it deals with matters pertaining to War Crimes in World War Two. Such Wikipedia articles are prone to be hacked or subverted from time to time.)
War memorials and ex-service clubs around Australia can be found adorned with various artillery pieces and even naval guns, some formerly used by Australian forces, some used by our wartime enemies.
So, from where did this artillery piece come? Was it one of ours, or one of theirs?
I can't find any direct evidence at the moment, but a search of the holdings at the Australian War Memorial reveal just three items relating to Krupp during the Boer War. They are three photographs, two photograph show Krupp guns captured from the Boers, and the other photograph shows Krupp guns being used by the Boers.
The Australian War Memorial photographs are here, here, and here.
It seems likely then that Krupp supplied the Boer side in that conflict, and therefore the piece shown at the memorial on Observatory Hill was captured.
At 11am today there was a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to commemorate those lost in HMAS Sydney (II) 67 years ago.
Amongst the Prime Minister's remarks were these pearlers:
"What finally would the warriors of Sydney say to us today at this the dawn of our pacific century?
I believe they would also say this, be warriors for peace.
I believe they would cry as one, may there be no more wars.
I will believe they would say to our peoples our diplomats and our statesman, let us strain every sinew, not only to preserve the peace, as if war was somehow our natural human condition, but to build together a new habit, a new culture, a new practice of peace for the future."
I was just listening to Richard Glover's radio programme and apparently in honour of Remembrance Day yesterday he featured the reading of a letter from a World War One serviceman James "Jim" Downey which has only recently been opened.
The man's family could not stand to open the letter until now because he died Palestine one week after writing the letter. The letter was dated 23/4/1918.
So, he may have been serving with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
ADDED 14 Nov 2008:
The moderator of comments on Richard Glover's website has seen fit to permit three comments, although not mine as shown above - perhaps believing I'm some kind of crank. So I've left another comment today (awaiting moderation) giving what I believe to the the correct identity of the late Jim Downie.
The Perth Mint (also known as Gold Corporation), which is owned by the West Australian Government, is a bullion supplier and manufacturer of collectables. Many of the collectable coins are also legal tender although their bullion value frequently exceeds their face value.
Two days ago, the Ministerial Support and Public Affairs section of the Department of Defence issued this media release ( my commentary follows):
UNKNOWN SAILOR TO BE RE-INTERRED WITH FULL MILITARY HONOURS
The reburial of the remains of the likely HMAS SydneyII sailor will occur on 19 November in Geraldton.
Although the remains have not as yet been identified, they are believed to be those of a crew member of HMAS Sydney II, which was sunk off the West Australian Coast on 19 November 1941 following enemy action.All 645 crew from HMAS Sydney perished. The sailor's remains were exhumed from Christmas Island in October 2006.
However while an official re-interment and memorial is being conducted, the case is by no means closed.
Since 2006, the Royal Australian Navy has overseen a painstakingly thorough and methodical forensic and historical investigation in an attempt to identify the remains.
While the unknown sailor has not been identified, the Royal Australian Navy will be holding a DNA sample so that if any further information comes to light, comparing with relatives can still occur. In the meantime, it is important that he is given the dignified reburial that he deserves.
Due to the capacity of Geraldton War Cemetery, the re-interment will be a very small, intimate affair. However, Sydney II family members and the general public are invited to attend a larger memorial service at Queens Park.The reinterment at the Cemetery will be broadcast live back to the Queens Park venue.
While the investigation of the sailor’s identity will cease this month, family of HMAS SydneyII crew members who wish to be considered for DNA testing and comparison against the remains are asked to make contact with the Christmas Island Investigation Team by letter to: Director of Navy Ministerials & Coordination, Department of Defence, R1-4-C070, Russell Offices, Canberra, ACT, 2600.
" ... the investigation of the sailor's identity will cease this month, ..."
The RAN's efforts to identify the remains have relied upon a combination of forensic examination of remains, relics found in the grave, and DNA testing of what they believe to be likely surviving relatives. As I've pointed out several times, I believe they have concentrated their search amongst the surviving relatives of the wrong group of crew members. The identification team has concentrated upon officers and canteen staff members instead of the engineering section ratings I believe would have been more fruitful.
Witness statements and testimony includes that from surviving members of the HMAS Sydney (II)'s crew who did not make the last voyage for various reasons. Amongst a wide range of matters being examined by the President of the Inquiry and Counsel Assisting have been questions relating to the clothing worn by various personnel on board ship in the course of their normal duties and at their action stations. I infer from this that the President and Counsel Assisting are attempting to determine from which group on board ship the Unknown Sailor of Christmas Island may have originated.
It is apparent that they are trying to determine who may have worn blue coloured boiler suits of coveralls. It appears that the wearing of such was not confined to the engineering section, as I had supposed.
The thoroughness of the inquiry and the depth of evidence and testimony brought before the inquiry is very impressive.
I look forward to the findings of the Commission of Inquiry.
The re-interment of the remains of the Unknown Sailor of Christmas Island is premature. This ceremony should await the identification of the remains and consultation with any surviving family.
Certainly, the cessation of the investigation into the sailor's identity is premature - and I am certain that that investigation will be reviewed by the Commission of Inquiry.
My friend Nico, who happends to be a German, commented on my blog piece about Holocaust deniers. In my response to Nico I wrote that one of my concerns is the parlous lack of knowledge today about the events of World War II amongst younger people in Australia.
Here is an example from The Adelaide Advertiser newspaper in a piece by Matt Neagle. Early this week a Nazi flag was flying from a flag pole at an Adelaide home.
Let's just review a couple of comments by the man named Will, who lives at the house.
The Croydon man, who only gave his name as "Will", said the Nazi flag went up as a joke at a "drunken" house party a few weeks ago.
"It's the funniest story around... well I found it funny, apparently the community is not finding it too funny," Will said.
"We meant no offence, just a drunken party, bit of fun, never took the bloody thing down, caused a whole heap of offence, we're sorry about that, but you know..."
When asked by AdelaideNow if he knows the symbolism of the flag, Will replied:
"Not really, no."
I see no reason not to accept what Will says as the truth. He just did not know that flying the Nazi flag could or would cause any offence.
Partly his responsibility. Partly the responsibility of our education system. Partly the responsibility of all of us.
It's useful to remember that there are many people in our nation, just like Will.