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Lattice Girder, ex-David Kirch Collection

An intrepid B.E.2e of the Royal Flying Corps piloted by Alfred de Bathe Brandon shot down Zeppelin L.33 (LZ-76) which plumetted onto a pasture outside Little Wigborough in Essex on Sunday night, 24 September 1916, from where a local resident recovered this piece of girder. Kapitan Alois Bocker, its commander, and his crew were taken prisoner. The girder was purchased by the renowned collector, David Kirch, at Sotheby’s Aeronautica auction on 13 April 1999; the page from the sale catalogue is shown below along with a close-up of the lot description. Contemporary photos of the massive Zeppelin aloft and then wrecked are shown, along with an artist’s depiction from the internet site which tells the story of L. 33, as well as photos of Lieutnant Brandon and Kapitan Bocker. Measures 26 inches in length or 66 cm, comprised of 3 trusses measuring 28 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm. Kirch concluded that the girder had actually come from the Graf Zeppelin, LZ 127, a passenger-carrying, commercial airship that flew from 1928 to 1937 but that seems unlikely. The Daily Mail covered the sale of Kirch’s collection in 2012 and showcased this girder, shown in a press photo below. A link to an on-line version of The Daily Mail story is below.

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