Wingspar fragment from Manfred von Richthofen's Fokker DR1 : Major General C B B White, Australian Imperial Force

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL29695
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Paint, Plywood
Place made Germany
Date made 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Small rectangular piece of plywood which has been painted black on one side and which displays evidence of having been glued on the other side. There are two lines of dried glue running across the piece, 7 cm apart, plus three nail holes. The black paint is semi matt in finish and has been applied in two directions. The shorter ends of the wood retain their cut edge, while the longer edges have been splintered, suggesting they have been snapped from something larger. Handwriting on the reverse side (possibly in Brudenell White's hand) suggests this is a piece of Richthofen's aeroplane. If this is correct, then this fragment is the correct shape to be considered as one of the closing panels of the main wing spar.

History / Summary

Collected by Brigadier General Cyril Brudenell Bingham White. He was born at St Arnaud, Victoria, in 1876, but spent his early life in Queensland. He joined the Militia in 1896 and in 1899 successfully sat an examination to join the permanent forces, becoming a Lieutenant in the Queensland Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery. He served with the 1st Commonwealth Horse during the Boer War, and after his return to Australia received his first staff appointment, as temporary captain and aide-de-camp to Major General Hutton, commander of the Australian Military Forces. Nominated by Hutton, he attended the British Army Staff College, Camberley, in 1906, and graduated with good results. After several years in England, attached to the British War Office, Brudenell White was recalled to Australia as a major, to become director of military operations at Army Headquarters. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was selected by Major General Bridges to be chief of staff for the new Australian Imperial Force, and took part in the landing at Gallipoli in April 1915. After the death of Bridges in May, he became chief of staff to the new commander, Lieutenant General Birdwood. Promoted brigadier general in October, White was largely responsible for planning the successful evacuation of Anzac in December. Serving on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, he exerted great influence in his role as staff officer to Birdwood. He was suggested as a suitable leader for the Australian Corps when it was formed in 1918, but remained with Birdwood, becoming senior staff officer to the 5th Army. Disappointed with cuts made to the Australian military after the war, he retired as Chief of the General Staff in 1923, to take up civil appointments. In March 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Brudenell White was recalled as CGS, but was killed in an air crash near Canberra on 13 August.