December 7 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 18, 2013
A Lowestoft historian has shed some light on mystery objects found in the cellar at Southwold Town Hall, which featured in the EDP last month.
Bob Collis says he is “99pc certain” that one object is a small piece of the alloy framework from the German Zeppelin L48, brought down in flames by British fighters in a field at Theberton on the night of June 16-17 1917.
He points to Mark Mower’s 2008 book Zeppelin over Suffolk: the final Raid of L48, which states: “On the mantelpieces of many a Suffolk home, above the bars of certain public houses, in the exhibitions of a few local museums and in the porch of St Peter’s Church in Theberton, can be found some of the physical remnants.
From preserved aluminium struts and girders, to fashioned trinkets, ashtrays and oddities, the relics turn up with alarming frequency – testament perhaps to the success of the thieves, looters and souvenir hunters that preyed upon the carcass of the fatally wounded airship”.
Mr Collis says the other object with aviation connections is a caltrop, also occasionally referred to as a crowsfoot,
The caltrop relates to the night of October 23, 1943, when there was a raid by some 20 German bombers against Great Yarmouth which saw more than 50 high explosive bombs and 10,000 incendiary bombs fall in open country in the Lowestoft district.
Two AB500 containers holding 2,000 caltrops dropped near Gorleston Road, Oulton.
Mr Collis said: “Only about 100 of the devices were scattered from one partly-opened container before it hit the ground. By dawn there had been 13 reported instances of vehicle tyres being punctured, including a Norfolk fire service tender and the car driven by the commanding officer of the 63rd AA Brigade – a small price to pay in view of the fact his gunners had a particularly successful night by shooting down two of the raiders.”
“Most of the remaining caltrops were collected by police and wardens, but inevitably a number fell into the hands of schoolboy souvenir hunters, and the effect of their use against their fellow pupils on chairs in class can well be imagined!
“Whether the caltrops carried on the night of October 23, 1943 were intended for use against emergency vehicles in Yarmouth or were dropped by a German intruder engaged in an attack against airfields we will probably never know, but their effect was negligible.
“This was the only recorded use of caltrops in East Suffolk, so the two held by Southwold Museum are quite rare items.”
The mystery objects were among a haul of unusual items put on display in Southwold Museum after they were found in the cellar of the Southwold Town Hall.