Bomb fragment from Zeppelin L43 : HMAS Sydney I

Accession Number RELAWM00296
Collection type Technology
Object type Munition component
Physical description Steel
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Splinter of a bomb mounted on a wooden backing board in an oval wooden frame. On the wooden backing board is written, in black ink, 'SPLINTER OF BOMB / PICKED UP ON FORE BRIDGE / OF H.M.A.S. "SYDNEY" AFTER ENGAGEMENT / OF H.M.A.S. SYDNEY, AND H.M.S. DUBLIN, WITH / GERMAN ZEPPELIN L 43 IN NORTH SEA MAY 4TH 1917.' The backing board and writing have been varnished over.

History / Summary

Splinter of a bomb collected on the forebridge of the cruiser HMAS Sydney after her engagement with the German Zeppelin L43, on 4 May 1917. Under Captain John Dumaresq the cruiser was leading a British ship, HMS Dublin, and four destroyers on a sweep of channels south east of Rosyth, Scotland, between the Forth and Humber estuaries. The force came under attack from the German naval Zeppelin L43. The five engined airship was first sighted shortly before 10.30am, approaching the east at about the same time as Dumaresq discovered that several submarines were in his vicinity. By charging in the dirigible's direction and opening fire with anti-aircraft guns at extreme range, the cruisers forced the airship to rise steeply and veer off. As soon as Dumaresq ordered his force to resume its original course, the L43 began stalking the ships. After failing to gain a bomb dropping position on the Dublin, the Zeppelin targeted one of the destroyers and managed to land three bombs within ten metres of it. The airship captain then turned his attention to the Sydney, which began evasive action. The duel continued for two hours, drawing to a inconclusive end only after the Zeppelin ran out of bombs at about 2.30pm. By then the cruisers had also expended all ammunition for their high altitude guns. Sydney became the first Royal Australian Navy vessel to be subjected to an air attack.