Historic Gun Receives Timely Restoration
Monday, July 08, 2019
Don’t be alarmed if you have noticed that the Krupp field gun is missing from its site on Bridge Street, as it will return after undergoing considerable restoration work.
Eltham Community Board chair, Maree Liddington says the World War 1 field howitzer is being restored by volunteers from the New Zealand Antique & Historical Arms Association (NZAHAA).
“The Eltham Community Board has an agreement with the NZAHAA, giving them authority to do the restoration. The field gun will be taken off site for the work to be carried out, and many hours will be put in to stripping, cleaning and refurbishing it before final presentation back to the Eltham Community,” says Maree.
“An important part of the agreement is the degree of restoration which applies to general rust and aging but any ‘battle scars’ will remain visible,” she says.
“It seems quite fitting that just over one hundred years after the end of World War 1, that a German field gun gifted to the township of Eltham in recognition of the services given by our soldiers, is about to undergo restoration. We wish NZAHAA well with the project and look forward to the return of the historical gun.”
The following is a brief history of the Krupp Field Gun 105mm WW1 trophy, from the book ‘Great Guns – The Artillery Heritage of NZ’ by Peter Cook & Ian Maxwell:
A German WW1 trophy was gifted to the Eltham Borough Council in 1920. It has had an interesting journey.
The trophy was a Krupp 10.5cm leFH16, a light field howitzer with the ordinance serial number ‘Nr.7279’ on carriage s/n ‘4820’.
This gun was issued from Pool 2 but its capture credited to the NZ Division on 5 Nov 1918. It travelled here with returning troops on HMNZT 293, the Arawa, leaving London docks on 5 October 1919. In Eltham it was sited at Taumata Park next to the grandstand. It has been claimed to have been buried before WW2, in 1938 or 1939 but if it was done by the Home Guard as one source suggests (in order to keep it from Japanese hands), then it would have been 1941 or 42, as were some others. Mark Vickers took a photo of his three boys clambering over it at the park, in around 1939. The gun was exhumed on 14 October 1983 and is now on display again. The woodwork has been nicely replaced, and the gun still has the distinctive hole in the top right of its shield. Since being restored it has been on display at Beck Helicopters, then on the main road in the middle of town. It seems now to have found a permanent home on Bridge Street.