Hat pin made from pieces of Zeppelin : Driver A M Lowe, 5 Division Motor Transport Company, AIF

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England
Accession Number RELAWM12705.009
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Trench Art
Physical description Aluminium, Celluloid, Gold, Steel
Maker Lowe, Arthur Milbourne
Date made c 1916-1919
Conflict Period 1910-1919
First World War, 1914-1918

Hat pin made from pieces of Zeppelin. The long pin is shaped from a piece of strut wire, and has a sharp point. The handle is made up of dozens of pieces of composition ivory (celluloid), duraluminium (an aluminium alloy) from a downed Zeppelin and gold sheet. Each piece from the Zeppelin is bordered by black composition ivory. The coloured sections primarily represent AIF unit cloth colour patches, with one section representing the ribbon of the 1914-15 Star. Each colour patch section is separated by a layer of gold sheet. The handle has a piece of white metal at the end and is decorated with ridges, giving a Zeppelin inspired shape.

History / Summary

This souvenir hat pin is one of a group of items made by 13268 Driver Arthur Milbourne Lowe from pieces of duraluminium from a Zeppelin shot down over England. It took Lowe three years to make all the souvenirs and some may have been completed in Australia. They are heavy with symbolism; the German duraluminium pieces are bordered with black, while the sections representing medal ribbons or AIF colour patches are bordered with gold sheet. It took Lowe some time to scrounge the pieces he needed to make the souvenir items during the war, most likely in England, where he spent much of his service. Lowe was born 29 October 1879, the son of Joseph and Jane Lowe. He was 20 years old and working as a station hand when he tried to enlist to fight in the Boer War. He was rejected by the NSW authorities, so he and a friend, George Munro, offered their services to the British. Both had worked in the bush and could shoot and ride. They travelled to South Africa as horse handlers on 18 March 1900. Once there Lowe was accepted as an Army assignment Scout, working for the British Cavalry Division under General Sir John French. He was later attached to Headquarters staff, interpreting, guiding and scouting for General French. Lowe served with General French's Staff scouts for about two years. After returning to Australia he enlisted with 5 Battalion NSW Commonwealth Horse, becoming part of 'A' Squadron. He was allocated the service number 51 and the rank of trooper. The battalion embarked from Sydney on 22 May 1902 on the ship Columbian. They disembarked 18 June 1902 at Durban. By then the war was over and they did not see any action. Lowe returned in the ship Manchester Merchant on 1 July, arriving at Sydney on 1 August. He was working as an electrician when he enlisted in the AIF on 25 September 1916. Lowe embarked on 22 December 1916, arriving at Devonport, England 3 March 1917. He spent a year in England serving with the 5th Motor Transport Company before embarking for service in France on 26 March 1918. On 9 April he was admitted sick to hospital for a month, was subsequently classified as B2 fitness due to his vision and problems with his left knee and was sent to England. Lowe embarked from England for Australia on 23 March 1919, arriving in Australia in May. He was discharged from the AIF on 22 February 1920.