38 cm SK L/45 naval gun Cleaning brush

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Chuignes
Accession Number RELAWM00956
Collection type Technology
Object type Artillery Accessory
Physical description Metal, Wire, Wood
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Western Front 1918: Villers Bretonneaux
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made 1914-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Thirty eight centimetre S.K. L/45 naval gun barrel cleaning brush with wooden body. The brush head is wire and is reinforced on either side with a metal band over a wooden top and bottom. Impressed around the lower metal band is ‘38 cm S.K.L/45. N.r.1.’ Stamped in black on the handle of the brush is ‘AUST WAR MUSEUM CAPTURED BY 3RD AUST. BN. – AT CHUIGNES 23.8.18. The brush can be broken up into six components.

History / Summary

This brush was used to clean the barrel of a 38 centimetre naval gun captured by 3 Battalion, AIF at Arcy Wood near the village of Chuignes on 23 August 1918. The gun had been used to shell Amiens, but to prevent it being used against them in their retreat the Germans destroyed the barrel before withdrawing from the area.

When the gun was captured it was found that a heavy charge had burst the chamber and torn off the projecting muzzle end, which lay partly buried in the mud. The carriage was badly damaged and debris of the explosion scattered over the surrounding area.

Too big to be readily moved, the gun was picked over for souvenirs. Eventually the Chuignes gun, as it became known, was declared an Australian memorial. The whole site was finally cleared by the Germans for scrap during the Second World War.