A strip of camouflaged canvas from a downed German plane.
And the lighter coloured underside of the same piece of fabric. This is an example of the lozenge camouflage pattern that the Germans introduced during the last two years of the Great War. Whether a four or five (see, I know my stuff) colour pattern who knows, but this is a fine example of a printed (as opposed to hand-painted – not so good from a weight point of view) lozenge pattern. And what’s more, we know a bit about the story behind it.
This is Arthur Breeden. And these are his words; “A piece of German plane I ripped off a wing of a plane I helped to bring down by Lewis gunfire, when flying low over the Yser Canal at Spoil Bank (sic) in Belgium about Feb or March 1917*. The mud splashes on the coloured canvas is the mud of the Yser Canal.”
*always be careful with first-hand accounts. Provided some fifty years after the event, Arthur probably meant 1918, and at some point I hope to confirm this.
Sidney Arthur Goody Breeden (known as Artie or Arthur) was born in Birmingham, England in December 1897. His family emigrated to Australia in 1904, and in March 1916, at the age of eighteen, he enlisted in the Australian Army, training on the outskirts of Perth before the long voyage to Great Britain, where further training awaited him on the plains of Wiltshire.
I don’t know how long he’d been in action when the incident with the plane took place, but his war ended on 12th August 1918 when he was severely wounded at Sailly-Laurette on the Somme.
After a period in hospital in Bristol, he was repatriated to Australia, where he was demobilized in June 1919. He later served on the home front in World War II, and lived on into his eighties.
And this is Sid, long-time BigNote follower, pointing to his Dad’s name on the roll of those who served inscribed on the war memorial at Augusta in south western Australia. And the man we have to thank for allowing me to show you these photos. Thanks Sid. You’re a cyber-star now.