German 'Stielhandgranate' stick hand grenade handle : Sergeant W E Brown, 20 Battalion AIF

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Corbie Albert Area, Morlancourt
Accession Number REL/00867
Collection type Technology
Object type Grenade
Physical description Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Handle from a German 'Stielhandgranate' stick grenade. The handle is hollow to accommodate a double length pull cord that was connected to a friction pull igniter for the grenade formerly attached to head of handle. The mechanism was designed to provide a 4 to 5 second delay prior to explosion to allow the thrower time to lob the grenade. There is a male threaded tail cap on the base of the handle. The female end cap is missing as is the explosive head. Markings stamped on shaft: '5 ½ Sek. ELB' and '[indistinct] 161216'. There is also a letter 'D' stamped with a green ink near top of shaft. The assembly seems to have been disassembled rather than detonated.

History / Summary

This German stick grenade handle was collected by 1689 Sergeant Walter Ernest 'Wally' Brown in the Morlancourt sector of the Western Front while serving with 20 Battalion in France during the First World War.

Brown was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions during fighting near Passchendaele, Belgium between 5-10 October 1917.

The following year he was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing 13 German troops, including an officer, single handedly, near Vaire Wood following the Battle of Hamel. He returned to Australia in December 1919 and was discharged on 15 February 1920.

On 21 June 1940 he re-enlisted (NX35492) in the Second AIF. With 2/15 Field Regiment he moved to Malaya in August 1941 and was in Singapore when it fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. Brown was last seen in the hours prior to the Allied capitulation disappearing toward the enemy lines saying 'No surrender for me.' His body was never recovered.

His name is commemorated on the Singapore Memorial, 22 kilometres north of the city of Singapore.