Anti aircraft gun sight from machine gun used to engage Richthofen : Gunner R Buie, Royal Australian Artillery

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Corbie
Accession Number RELAWM12690A
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm accessory
Maker Buie, Robert
Place made France
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Anti-aircraft foresight for a Lewis machine gun, made and used by gunner Robert Buie of the 53rd battery, 5th Australian Division Artillery in France.
Scratched onto the sight is the inscription:

'5th Australian Divisional Artillery. Foresight and backsight of Lewis gun made by No3801 Gunner Robert Buie of 55th Battery A.F. A. which shot down Captain Baron Von Richthofen on April 21 1918. Presented to Major General Sir Talbot Hobbs KCB VD by members of the 55th Battery 14th Australian Field artillery [illegible] 21st April 1918'

History / Summary

Buie used this sight to fire at the famous German air ace, Captain Baron Von Richthofen. Gunner Buie was a member of a working party detailed for duty to a machine gun and anti-aircraft school a short time before the above event took place. He took advantage of the opportunity to learn all he could about anti-aircraft work and actually made the sights out of a piece of 18 pdr cartridge case.

The means by which this type of sight was used was described in a pamphlet printed in France in June 1918 and issued by the General Staff, entitled 'The forward area anti-aircraft sight'.