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Trench periscopes

Article about: After a periscope was recently posted I thought Iíd post mine too. I've written below what I believe they are, if anyone has differing opinions Iíd be more than happy to hear it and learn es

  1. #1
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    Default Trench periscopes

    After a periscope was recently posted I thought Iíd post mine too. I've written below what I believe they are, if anyone has differing opinions Iíd be more than happy to hear it and learn especially regarding the homemade looking models, all apart from the Duerr were bought before having the internet.

    First up is my favourite, a private purchase Lifeguard periscope made by F. Duerr & Sons in Manchester, England. Duerr is a family run jam making factory thatís still going today under the same name. I believe the inventor (Edgar Duerr) saw a money making scheme back in the war however, not knowing the cost of manufacture perhaps it was a non profit making idea?

    I donít think they were very practical and at a cost of 15 shillings as shown in my example, probably something an officer might use which is also indicated by the picture on the spare mirror wrapping, not sure if the polishing cloth is original but I like to think it is.

    A more or less identical model was made down in Melbourne by JW Handley Pty. Ltd., a manufacturer of military optical equipment in WWII, itís known as the Pocket Periscope MKI, has a broad arrow and 1943 date. I'm still after one of his MKI's.

    F Duerr & Sons has made a limited edition of replicas in commemoration of the 100th anniversary http://duerrs.co.uk/mrs-duerrs-kitchen/ww1-replica/ Letís hope they donít fool anyone when they appear on ebay.

    Tony
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  2. #2
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    This simple wooden construction was bought as being a WWI French periscope but if Iím being honest, thereís no way of telling if it was made before 1918 or a few days before I bought it so opinions are more than welcome. Itís screwed together, there is a sliding metal part at the base which I imagine is for some kind of eye protection, the tube fitted to the front may have been used for planting the scope on a spike fixed into the parapet, making it hands free and thereís a sliding brass protector for the top mirror when not in use. Itís about 800mm long.
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  3. #3
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    Another simple wooden construction, also bought as being French WWI and also about 800mm long but as with the one above, I canít be 100% sure.
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    This one is a British box periscope however, the label is missing so I have no idea what it is but suspect it could be the Adams 1918 model or the 1917 No. 9 MKII, no idea what the difference between them is. The spike which screws onto the bolt at the bottom for ramming into the parapet is missing as is the canvas carry case. The metal slider at the bottom mirror is for eye protection.
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  5. #5
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    The R & J Beck Ltd. Mk. IX 1917 is known as an officerís private purchase periscope. My one has remains of green paint on the brass tube but I havenít got a clue if that was done 98 years ago or not. The optics are adjusted by turning the eye piece and the wooden handle unscrews to pack away in its leather carry case. Richard and Joseph Beck were manufacturers of optical equipment, both men had died before the end of the 19th century but the company was still going strong post WWII.
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    A US standard issue (?) periscope, all Iíve found out about these is that theyíre heavily reproduced and originally issued in 1917. The wooden case is fixed in place with wire instead of nails.
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  7. #7
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    I believe this one is French and from the 1930s or 40s and from what Iíve found online they were made by Huet in Paris however, my one has no markerís stamp so possibly a post war copy or version of the Huet periscope. I've always wondered if they were used by the French in Indochina in the 50s. Any suggestions as to its origin are welcome.

    The optics are still good, the shed roof pictured is about 70-80m away.
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    My last one is the private purchase Vigilant bayonet mirror that rivals my Duerr scope for favouritism as I bought it locally from a bloke who said his great grandfather brought it back after WWI, the great grandson didnít really know much about it and combined with the sale price of $20 Iíve no reason to doubt his story. However, as always buy the object, not the story.

    Theyíre very similar to the late war US bayonet mirror which is still easy to find at a fair price, the main difference between the Commonwealth/Brit and US bayo mirror is the lid, the Brit one has just a flat piece of hinged steel whereas the US model has a lip around the lid.

    I call them British or Commonwealth as Iíve only seen photos of them being used by the AIF and Brit troops but the label says France and Secretan Ė Paris. They eventually became official and were called the No. 18 MKI

    Iím not sure how effective they were as holding them up high on a bayonet can give poor and wobbly vision and mine tends to snap shut after any sudden movement.

    This site shows the US version USA - First World War Bayonet (Trench) Mirror

    Tony
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  9. #9

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    A very nice collection of periscopes you have there. Thanks for showing.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  10. #10

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    Very nice collection mate..i have a couple myself, i would like to get more

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