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    Description

    Cigar Lighter Made From the Wreckage of German Zeppelin L31, Commanded by Heinrich Mathy and Shot Down Over Potters Bar, October 2, 1916 Complete With Ephemera Related to the Event. In the small hours of October 2, 1916 the German zeppelin L31, commanded by Captain Heinrich Mathy, found itself bracketed in the beams of anti-aircraft searchlights north of London and was subsequently shot down by 2nd Lt. Wulstan Tempest of the Royal Flying Corps. The German crew jumped to their deaths rather than be burned alive in the inferno. For his part in the zeppelin's destruction Lt. Tempest was awarded the DSO. English civilians were very scared of these "monsters of the purple twilight", and rightly so as the anti-aircraft defenses of the day were mostly ineffective against the zeppelin menace. As such, whenever a zeppelin was brought down, souvenir hunters quickly swarmed the wreckage. This example is a bit more complex than the usual souvenir. Girders from the wreckage were melted and formed into the classic flaming grenade shape. The top screws off to allow the lighter to be filled with fluid and the screw-on top is pierced to allow the wick to pass through. The lighter is complete with a four-legged stand in which is incorporated a bearing, presumably salvaged from the wreckage of the L31. The lighter stands 6 ½" tall on the stand, and is approximately 3 ½" in diameter and is stamped "Made From Zepp. Brought Down at Potters Bar. 1st October 1916". It is sold with a two-page typed account of the L31's destruction as witnessed by a man who was a child at the time. Also included is a photocopied detailed account of the Potters Bar zeppelin written by J. E. Bennett and published by the Potters Bar & District Historical Society, 1996. Additional ephemera related to the event, including a contemporary American newspaper account of the action and some contemporary photographs are included. From the collection of Dr. Douglas Harman.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    8th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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