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Pics - 2/14 Light Horse Regiment Restores Captured Turk 77mm Krupp Field Gun


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Greetings to all members and guests.

Currently, I have been involved in leading the restoration of this important war throphy for my current regiment.  Our Technical Support Troop has put in well over 500 hours in faithfully reparing the wheels, trails, cradle, and 77mm (not 75mm as the artical says) ordnance. Once completed, the gun will be painted its original desert tan colour.

A lot of work has gone into this, using various photographs for other captured German guns to re-construct the trails which have long since eroded and been cut away. A local civilian friend of the museum manufactured the wheels, and our excellent Drake welder (John F), along with the Craftsmen, Lance Corporals and Corporals from my beloved Corps of RAEME have all done the hard yards in this project for our Regimental Museum.

I will be posting pics over the next day or two of the stages of restoration.

Once completed, the gun will compliment our Museum here in Brisbane, so if you ever make it out this way, do check out the 2/14th Light Horse (Queensland Mounted Infantry) Museum here at Gallipoli Barracks.

For those former Gunners out there, enjoy.



The Semakh Gun

The War Trophy that stood for more than thirty years overlooking Sandgate Pier and Bramble Bay was a 75mm German "Whiz Bang" field gun captured from a combined German and Turkish force during the last Light Horse charge by the Australian Forces during the 1914-1918 War. (German artillerymen and machine gunners assisted the Turkish force.) All light horse regiments were in fact mounted infantrymen, for they made their battle charges with drawn bayonets. After the successful charge and victory during the battle of Beersheba, in 1918, the commander in chief of the campaign, Lord Allenby, decided in August that year to convert the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade into a cavalry brigade which would charge with drawn swords.

At pre dawn on September 22, 1918 the 11th Australian Light Horse Regiment of Cavalry charged across two miles of open country to capture the important Syrian rail link town of Semakh on the shore of the sea of Galilee. This charge was made after a hurried ride of some ten miles, and the 75mm field gun was a trophy of that battle.

The Sandgate War Committee was renamed Soldiers' Reception and General Committee at a meeting on November 1, 1918. It was an entertainment committee formed to raise funds for a War Memorial, and at that meeting an application was made to the Sandgate Town Council for permission to erect a memorial in the town's central park. At a subsequent meeting held in the Mayor's room on February 6, 1920 the Sandgate War Memorial Committee came into being. A meeting of that committee held on December 14 that year empowered Mr E.J. Shaw, a resident of Bracken Ridge and president of the Royal National Agricultural & Industrial Association, to act on their behalf whilst in Melbourne on business and apply to the authority concerned for a War Memorial for Sandgate. The Sandgate Town Council sanctioned this and Mr Shaw was authorised to act on the War Memorial Committee's behalf.

Coincidence becomes paramount at the next stage of the endeavour to secure a war trophy. Upon the cessation of hostilities, Mr Laurient (Laurie) U.C. Kempster rejoined the Sandgate Town Council as Assistant Town Clerk. He had started with the council as a Junior Clerk in July, 1914.

Laurie had been a Sergeant with the 11th Light Horse Regiment when the German "Whiz Bang" field gun was captured and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his conspicuous and valuable service during the Syrian Campaign. His younger brother Felix, also an 11th Light Horseman and a resident of Sandgate before the War, was awarded the Military Medal.

Laurie was a very active member of the 11th Light Horse Association, during his lifetime holding executive positions for many years.

Laurie Kempster was present when the gun was unveiled by the then governor of Queensland, His Excellency Sir Matthew Nathan, as it stood on its base at Shorncliffe (Sandgate as it was known in those days) on Saturday August 4, 1923, and was surprised to learn that it was the gun the Regiment had captured in Syria. By this time he had become Town Clerk of Sandgate, the position he occupied when the Sandgate Town Council became incorporated within the greater Brisbane Authority (Council) in 1925. He moved to the Brisbane City Council that year and managed a number of departments before becoming Deputy Town Clerk of Brisbane in 1952.

Due to the loss of records the actual dates can only be conjecture, but after having withstood the sea air at Shorncliff for more than thirty years, the old field gun finally succumbed to the elements to the extent that the wooden wheels deteriorated so badly the gun had become an accident hazard. Around 1953 the Brisbane City Council removed the gun from Shorncliffe and the Parks Department placed it on a base in New Farm Park. It was minus wheels and was painted in bright colours as a plaything for children. In 1983 negotiations with Army establishments were entered into, after being stored at Wacol for a time, custodianship was granted to the 2/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) in 1984. The gun is now located near the 2/14 Light Horse Regiment (QMI) Lines at Enoggera Brisbane.

Article provided by Pte G.A.H. Ehrich, Assistant Curator 2/14 Light Horse Regt (QMI) Museum

A few more with markings...

Any translation would be appreciated for the Arabic.
We are seeking the exact Type/Model of this gun.

Its 77mm in Calibre, and German made for the Turks.

Any help would be appreciated.


Thanks for your valued input KKWD, your links have been forwarded on to the Curator.

Many thanks,

You are very welcome OWDU.
I think i have a translation for some of the inscriptions on the gun.
I believe the markings in picture P9190036 refer to the date of 1071.
It is the date of the Battle of Manzikert where the Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire and made way for the Turks to settle Anatolia.
The numerals, in the Ottoman Turk script, are the ones that look like a 3 a upside v and a regular v. These translate into 487.
Then you have to do a bit of math to get the date according to the Gregorian calendar. You have to add 584 to it to total 1071.
Sounds a bit iffy but it makes sense somehow. I look at it as a good luck charm calling back to such a victory so long ago.

Following are the pages i gleaned this info from. It would be hard to translate the words as the Ottoman Turk alphabet was discontinued in 1928.

For the Ottoman Turk alphabet.

For the page to convert the Ottoman calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Scroll down to section "1.2.3 Ottoman Calendar" to find the explanation.

I hope this is a plausible translation and helps you out.

Nice job, keep up the good work!

Please keep posting pics of the progress.
Update as of Fri 24 Oct 08.

Well the gun has come along quite well. It has been assembled, painted, and is 'good to go'  now moved to the Regiment's museum on Chauvel Drive at Gallipoli Drive at Enoggera Barracks.

Waiting now a plaque and a shelter to be built over it, protecting the gun form the environment a bit.

A good job done by our Lads from SPT SQN's Technical Support Troop. Again RAEME leads the way.


Fresh pics for ya's. Endulge!
Once the gun is mounted on it's plinth, I'll get some final pics of the project.

Nice restoration job Wes
My compliments to the staff for their hard work

Thanks Geo, the Lads did an exceptional job on this gun, with well over 500 hrs all up. There is still a ways to go, with some seats both at the rear, attached to the blast shield, and on the oinside  of the blast shield. At least the gun is in place now.

I took some pics the other day of the gun infront of the museum, which I will load on here as soon as I find some time. WRT the Museum, thy will place a small shelter over the gun, along with a plaque explaining the historical significance, but when this happens is yet TBT.


Fantastic job, very impressive, you should attach a small plaque out of the way stating the date of restoration and who did it, so the next guys 75 years from now can find it.

These are taken outside the 2/14 LHR (QMI) Museum, on Chauvel Drive, Gallipoil Barracks at Enoggera (a Brisbane suburb).

The gun is now in place, and soon, a small shelter will be made for it, just to protect it from the rain and sun a bit.

Note the plaque, and yes I know I spelled 'lead' wrong, should be 'led'.