Inscribed 18 pounder shell case : 8 Battery, Australian Field Artillery, Gallipoli

Accession Number REL/00021.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Brass
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Brass 18 pounder field gun shell case, hand inscribed as follows: 'THE LAST SHOT FIRED FROM ANZAC AT 5.5 P.M. ON THE 19/12/15 AT THE OLIVE GROVE FROM NO. 4 GUN 8TH BATTERY A.F.A. DETACHMENT NO:1778 SGT. S.G. BREARLEY NO:2097 CORPL J.E.H BUTLER. NO:4291 GNR R.F. CUNNINGHAM. BATTERY COMMANDER CAPT. W.C.N. WAITE'. The base of the shell has had two brass screws inserted, with holes drilled in them. A bent ring remains in one hole. The screws were added to enable the shell case to be suspended from a stand for use as a gong. There are a variety of stamped markings on the base, these being '18PR II LOT 109 C.F. 4/15 S. ERY B.S.C.', followed by the letter 'S' in a box, and a broad arrow symbol.

History / Summary

This 18-pounder field gun shell case fired the last shot towards the Olive Grove, on Gallipoli, before the final evacuation of Australian troops in December 1915. It was later inscribed with the details of the gun and battery from which it was fired, together with the names of the men in the detachment who had fired the shell and the name of their battery commander, Captain William Waite.
The names on the shell case relate to the following men. 1772 (not '1778' as shown on the shell case) Sergeant Stanley George Brearley, a 21 year old fitter's apprentice from West Australia, was later commissioned in the Australian Flying Corps as a pilot, and ended the war as a captain with the Distinguished Flying Cross. He is thought to have been a brother of Major Norman Brearley, and worked with him as a pilot for Western Australian Airways in the 1920s and 1930s. 2097 Corporal John Edward Henry Butler was a 23 year old porter from South Australia who survived the war. 4291 Gunner Frederick Cunningham (his first initial 'R' as shown on the shell case, was not noted at enlistment) was a 22 year old timber hewer from Western Australia who later became a battery sergeant major with 12 Field Artillery Brigade, and survived the war. The battery commander, Captain William Charles Nightingale Waite, a livestock salesman and auctioneer from South Australia, ended the war as Lieutenant Colonel Waite DSO, MC commanding 11 Field Artillery Brigade.