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lugerfan

Use of Field Glasses (British)

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lugerfan

I recently purchased some binoculars made by Heath & Co with a Sheffield City battalion soldiers name on (see the post on the soldier's forum if you interested)

I'd presumed the reference to D company would have been from his time in the Sheffield Battalion, however he only served there as a Private and then a corporal, He then moved to the East Yorks regiment and made it to a 2nd lieutenant.

So - at what point would a be likely to carry a pair of binoculars. I'm not sure if they are a private purchase, but they do have the broad arrow stamped on them. I'm guessing a private wouldn't have been issued with them as part of his kit ??

Thanks for any thoughts….

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centurion

More detail would be useful but one appreciates this isn't often available.

I'd suspect that some time after being made corporal he was sent off to an OTC and was then gazetted as an officer in the EYR. Binoculars were not normally standard issue to OR but much depends on what he did. For example if he was spending time in an observation post he might well be issued with them. Similarly if he were told off to be an air sentry or acting as a sniper's spotter or ..... There are a number of reasons why a private or a corporal might be issued with binoculars. Of course before going off for officer training he probably would be expected to give them back but again .....

In other words he could have acquired them at any time in his service.

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dycer

I possess a pair of Ziess Binoculars that belonged to the (L/)Cpl.(of a Battalion Maxim Gun Section)later Sgt. of the Battalion Lewis Gun Section.

George

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Piorun

(see the post on the soldier's forum if you interested)

Thanks for any thoughts….

I don't want to sound like a crabby old codger, lugerfan, but it might help you get replies if you post what's relevant rather than ask us to go to another sub-forum and figure out what your post might be. This is offered in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. Antony

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lugerfan

I don't want to sound like a crabby old codger, lugerfan, but it might help you get replies if you post what's relevant rather than ask us to go to another sub-forum and figure out what your post might be. This is offered in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. Antony

Hi Antony - no problem at all & thanks for the advice, i didnt want to paste in too much non equipment related info as that post was more about his service history, but i guess it all helps....

I hadnt realised what an active forum this is, posts sure move down the list & disapear quickly.

Just for reference this was the original post....

"I've recently brought a nicely used set of Field Glasses and case from a WW1 veteran's son. He's been really helpful with the research by supplying a bunch of details & a photo of his dad. Ancestry has helped with a lot more, including civilian life & a copy of his medal card.

But what I'm missing is the date that he joined up & any indication of what he did & where he might have been before eventually being discharged. (He died around 1967) I know he was a Somme veteran & attended the veteran's reunion events.

From his service number is it possible to get an indication of his enlistment date & an idea if he sailed to Egypt, or if perhaps he went straight to Europe, would he have made the 1st day of the Somme, or did he arrive afterwards etc?

I notice he started as a private, made CPL, then a 2nd lieutenant & eventually transferred to the East Yorks Regiment, The leather case has his initials, service number (missing the 12/ ) and "D company"

Does anyone have access to the Sheffield Regiment records that may add some light

Details as follows.

Harold Creswick Dungworth - Number: 12/1457

Date of birth 29th October 1896, died aprox 1967.

I believe his address as of the 1911 census would have been Ct 5-3 Canning Street Sheffield

Thanks for what ever help you can give. It's nice to have a piece of equipment that's actually linked to a photo of its original owner, so I'm keen to get as much info as I can on him to do it justice & to make a fitting memorial."

I guess the only way to be sure would be to find some record of his time in the EYR & see if he was ever in D Company there - Off to The records office i guess.....

thanks again..

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George Armstrong Custer

On the subject of it not being uncommon for NCO's to be carrying field glasses, I have a copy of From Lieutenant To Field Marshal, a biography of that Imperial legend, Lord 'Bobs' Roberts, by M. Riach, published shortly after Roberts' death on 14 November 1914 during a visit to Indian troops serving in France. On p. 177 appears the following:

"Always labouring for the welfare of the Army, Lord Roberts made an appeal to sportsmen who were unable to take the field to give the use of their field-glasses or stalking-glasses to the non-commissioned officers under orders for the front. "It will be my pleasure," he said, "to send a personal letter of thanks to those who in this way contribute to the safety and welfare of our splendid soldiers." This appeal met with a warm response, and field-glasses to the number of 15,000 and value of £70,000 were distributed."

And pasted onto the endpapers of the book is an original of one of Roberts' letters of thanks to a donor. Dated 22 September 1914, and typewritten on headed paper from Roberts' home, 'Englemere' at Ascot, Berks, it is personally signed by Roberts. It reads:

"Dear Mrs Lewis,

I write a line to thank you warmly for your kind response to my appeal for field glasses. Your glasses will be of the greatest possible service to our Non-Commissioned Officers in the field.

I am asked by the Commanding Officers of Units which are shortly expected to go to the front to convey their gratitude to the owners of the glasses distributed amongst their men. I am, Yours very truly, Roberts, F.M."

This also demonstrates that the private provision of kit for British troops on active service when government supply was either insufficient or inadequate is, therefore, nothing new.

George

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lugerfan

thanks George, thats interesting, it would help explan the varity of equipment thats out there.

Any thoughs on the use of the broad arrow stamp?, I've always assume that was a sign of military ownership / issue / approval but have never been sure if private equipment was generally stamped or if perhaps soldiers just marked it with their name & used it as appropriate.

thanks again

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MikB

thanks George, thats interesting, it would help explan the varity of equipment thats out there.

Any thoughs on the use of the broad arrow stamp?, I've always assume that was a sign of military ownership / issue / approval but have never been sure if private equipment was generally stamped or if perhaps soldiers just marked it with their name & used it as appropriate.

thanks again

Of course the Broad Arrow is evidence of military ownership. But can you tell us more about the binoculars, in terms of design and markings? If there is an engraved 'S.1' to 'S.6' anywhere, that shows they were a civilian glass donated or purchased for military service, typically by the Strachey fund, or the Roberts fund mentioned above. If there is no 'S.<n>' marking, and the hinge is made by extensions of the prism case end covers, it's one of the early military issue prismatics.

Regards,

MikB

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lugerfan

Of course the Broad Arrow is evidence of military ownership. But can you tell us more about the binoculars, in terms of design and markings? If there is an engraved 'S.1' to 'S.6' anywhere, that shows they were a civilian glass donated or purchased for military service, typically by the Strachey fund, or the Roberts fund mentioned above. If there is no 'S.<n>' marking, and the hinge is made by extensions of the prism case end covers, it's one of the early military issue prismatics.

Regards,

MikB

Hi,

hopefully there will be a picture attatched if i have got it right to show the general shape (not prismatic). On the eye pieces it says "Heath & Co Crayford London" (the same makers name is embossed on the leather case)

When you wind out the focus wheel the exposed metal is quite scratched, however on one side it shows the Broad Arrow, on the other it looks to have "S 3" then underneath that 10989. these look to have been etched on rather than a manufacturer's stamp, although with the scoring its hard to be sure.

the only other number is a faint stamped 5C088 on the underside of the metal bridge that connects the 2 eye pieces together.

thanks

post-66222-0-41889100-1300025995.jpg

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MikB

S.3 stands for High Grade Galilean binoculars, and shows that they were indeed civilian glasses accepted for military use. The 10989 is the Registration number on acceptance. It's a bit of a guess on my part, but I'd say this means this pair was accepted in early 1915.

The best Galileans might have a magnification of 5x. The positive things you can say about them are that they made the best of available light and would work for people with quite serious eyesight defects - but their rapid and practically universal replacement by prismatic glasses really says what most users thought of them, and the fact that so many survive undamaged shows that the result was usually that they were put away in a cupboard and ignored for most of a following century... :(

Nevertheless the shortage of all optical munitions early in WW1 was severe. The cover of my copy of Hesketh Prichard's 'Sniping In France' shows a sergeant shooting from trench in 1915 with what looks like a Long Lee-Enfield - beside him on the sandbags are two pairs of binos, one prismatic, one Galilean, both casually put down as if he might indifferently have used either just before picking up the rifle. He might've used the Galileans when looking into shadow where their improved light transmission (the prismatics have very small object glasses) might have given him improved contrast.

Regards,

MikB

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lugerfan

thanks, interesting. I hadn't considered when prismatic glasses had come in.

although the photo makes these look quite worn, they are in pretty sound condition, with only a few tiny marks on the lenses. They do give a nice clear image. What i like is somehow they feel comfortable to hold & the black paint is worn down to the brass just where you'd hold it.

if only they could talk.......:)

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Guest 0114sheffman

Hello lugerfan ,I am the son of H C Dungworth re binoculars. I have just joined the Great War forum and will be posting more info.on my father. I have some more photo's but can tell you that he went to the front via Alexandria,Egypt.

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MBrockway
On 12/03/2011 at 14:06, lugerfan said:

thanks George, thats interesting, it would help explan the varity of equipment thats out there.

Any thoughs on the use of the broad arrow stamp?, I've always assume that was a sign of military ownership / issue / approval but have never been sure if private equipment was generally stamped or if perhaps soldiers just marked it with their name & used it as appropriate.

thanks again

 

It seems the items provided under Lord Roberts's scheme were marked with letters N.S.L. over a number and no broad arrow.

 

[Edit: I have exceeded myself in that last point - the DRO does NOT say these items had no broad arrow, and info provided elsewhere by MikB makes it clear they probably were marked up with broad arrow and a grading/classification code additional to the numbering used by the NSL scheme]

 

See 1st Div DRO 379, 16 Feb 1919 in this topic here ...

Mark

 

Edited by MBrockway

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MBrockway

Some more background from contemporary sources in this new topic from voltaire:

Excellent stuff.

 

Mark

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DavidOwen

Just for interest

 

I have in my possession the binoculars used by my great grandfather Edmund Chadwick 2nd/Lt Lanc Fusiliers. These were made by L.Petit in Paris, patent HEZZANITH and bear on one barrel the broad arrow over a capital H next to which appears to be an asterisk made up of a capital X with 4 dots in each of the 4 spaces made by the cross. On the other barrel is presumably the name of the donor a Mr V.W**** and a serial number 567**

 

There is no NSL  on these binos.

 

The case is an unassociated one made by J Cripps dated 1917. Edmund was Gazetted on 29th August 1917 - 

 

 

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MikB
1 hour ago, DavidOwen said:

...

These were made by L.Petit in Paris, patent HEZZANITH and bear on one barrel the broad arrow over a capital H next to which appears to be an asterisk made up of a capital X with 4 dots in each of the 4 spaces made by the cross. On the other barrel is presumably the name of the donor a Mr V.W**** and a serial number 567**

 

There is no NSL  on these binos.

 

An asterisk-like sign made of two opposed Broad Arrows is a 'sold out of service' marking, but this doesn't sound like one of those. The Broad Arrow they have seems to mean they weren't donated or lent through the NSL, as a previous thread appeared to establish that NSL glasses didn't carry it. It also seems odd if they don't bear a WD ('S.<n>') acceptance grading, since they should have been inspected prior to receiving the arrow.

 

Are these prismatic or galilean? 

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DavidOwen

Mike, on even closer examination the serial number I had quoted as beginning 5 could indeed be a S as the base is elongated to the left. They are galilean.  If they were not donated then why would they have a name above the number?  

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MikB

Other WD-marked Hezzaniths I've seen pics of on the net are graded S.3 ('High Grade Galilean').

 

I don't think I've seen or heard of a donor's name engraved on WD-marked instruments - it's always possible that the name was engraved for the new owner after they were sold into the civilian market.

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DavidOwen

The glasses were not sold as they have been in the family since issued to my great grandfather. Seems we may have something of a mystery...

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DavidOwen

Sorry guys and gals Should have gone to Specsavers (other opticians are available) - My binos do not have a donor's name on them  - closer / proper inspection has the marking Mk V. Wide  which I am guessing means Mark Very Wide... sorry if I have confused or mislead anyone - goes off to hide somewhere dark.....

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DavidOwen

Here's the best pic I can get of the H * marking

 

DSC_0946.JPG

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