A piece of Burra’s history has been returned to Market Square.
Making its way back to Burra, a German made Krupp QF 77mm field gun, serial number 12917, was captured by the 27th Battalion AIF, near Warfusee, France on August 8, 1918.
This is one of nine captured on the day.
The 27th Battalion consisted mostly of South Australians with a number of soldiers recruited from Burra and the surrounding district.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, a project to have the Krupp restored to its original colour was undertaken by Burra RSL Subbranch and Regional Council of Goyder.
While it has been restored to its former glory, a couple of World War One wounds remain on the field gun.
If you look closely you can see dents from gun fire attacking the field gun and a bullet hole.
Steeped in history, the piece will be a centre feature of this year’s Armistice Day.
Burra RSL Subbranch president Mike Pinkerton is pleased with the work by David Scholz, of DJs Restoration in Eudunda.
“If history could talk,” Mr Pinkerton said.
“This is a 100 year old piece of history.”
Mr Pinkerton said this was one of two German Krupp field guns to be in Burra and it was hoped one day they would find the second.
Through various grants from federal, state and local government agencies, along with businesses and support from the Burra community, the project has been a success.
“Government and public support for this project cannot be under estimated, in fact, it has been overwhelming indeed, I am never ceased at being amazed by the support received,” he said.
“The assistance received from the Regional Council of Goyder, has been both generous and amazing, at all levels within council.”
Mr Pinkerton said council gave their full support to this project.
“...the various fields of expertise have been invaluable, for without that support, this project could not have succeeded.”
This Sunday’s Armistice commemoration, in Market Square, starts at 10.30am, all are welcome.
Mr Pinkerton welcomes all to the commemoration and re-dedication ceremony at Burra’s Market Square.
“The public are invited to attend this once only occasion, and following this event, all are invited to the Burra town hall for light refreshments, please bring a plate, to assist with catering,” he said.
History of the German Krupp:
This German made Krupp QF 77mm field gun, serial number 12917, was captured by the 27th Battalion AIF, near Warfusee, France on August 8, 1918.
This is one of nine field guns captured by the 27th battalion on that day.
After the signing of the Armistice, the Australian War Museum Committee was entrusted with the task of controlling the administration and distribution of war trophies.
Burra was originally allotted a German trench mortar; however, the local community protested the decision claiming that Burra had higher proportion of men and funding for the war effort when compared to other towns of similar size, and consequently the town deserved a more substantial trophy.
As a result of such protests, this Krupp 77mm field gun was allotted to Burra in May 1921. In June 1922, a second Krupp 77mm field gun was also allotted to Burra.
The second field gun was gifted to Australia from the French Government, this field gun’s whereabouts are not known.
However, in 1929, both field guns were relocated to either side of the Commercial Street bridge by the Burra Town Council.
The Returned Sailor’s and Soldier’s Imperial League of Australia (RSSILA), vigorously protested the decision to the Burra Town Council and publicly displayed their angst regarding the decision.
In 1942 the Burra Town Council resolved that the field guns would be removed and stored at the town council’s depot for the duration of WWII.
At the conclusion of WWII, the guns were relocated to the Burra mine entrance.
During the 1970’s the field guns were separated and located in the Burra Community School grounds and at Mr. Clode’s hardware store, Burra North (now a commercial diving school).
In 2003, this Krupp 77mm field gun was handed over to the SA Army Museum – Keswick SA and the second 77mm field gun eventually sold to a private collector.
Its whereabouts are unknown.
In August 2017, Regional Council of Goyder and the Burra RSL SA Sub Branch embarked on a mission to locate and reclaim this Krupp field gun with the aim of having the gun restored and put on public display back in Market Square Burra.
When found, the field gun was severely corroded, missing several parts and had no wheels or hubs.
This field gun was returned to the care and control of the Regional Council of Goyder, who in partnership with the Burra RSL SA Sub Branch (Inc) who had arranged for restoration works to be undertaken.
The work undertaken included fabrication of new wheels and hubs, sandblasting of the gun back to bare metal and repainting of the field gun.
All restoration work was undertaken by South Australian organisations The Krupp field gun will now stand for ever more as a ‘SILENT SENTINEL’ to all those who served, in all wars and conflicts and will be placed in the Market Square, adjacent to the monument.