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pioneecorps

R & J Beck Ltd periscope

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pioneecorps

Anyone know if the R & J Beck Ltd periscopes were ever used in WW1, if so, were there any photos of them being used.

 

Gerwyn

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MikB

It's interesting that if you Google images for 'ww1 periscope', all the pics of soldiers using them seem to show larger instruments (some obviously improvised), presumably with a wider field of view and better light grasp. There are also lots of recent pics of Beck periscopes in more-or-less pristine condition.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if the soldiers found them poor, and left 'em in stores? :D

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Michael Haselgrove

Gerwyn,

An interesting question;  I'm afraid I can't find a photo of one in use although, to be fair, I haven't spent much time looking and there don't seem to be that many photos of periscopes in use in any event.  Picking up on MikB's point, the example of a No. 25 periscope in my collection, despite being dated 1916 and broad arrow marked, is in pristine condition confirming his comments. 

The only help I can offer is the entry for the IWM collection here:

 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30025059    

which confirms use of the periscope?

Regards,

Michael.

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T8HANTS

Although the donor said it was used by his Father, the fact that it is complete, and unsullied makes me wonder if it was one of those items that seem  a good idea to purchase, but never got used.

Newly qualified ex apprentices in any number of hand tool trades will the invaluable tool that never got used lurking in their tool boxes.

I'm told kitchen cupboards are a similar area.

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pioneecorps
2 hours ago, MikB said:

It's interesting that if you Google images for 'ww1 periscope', all the pics of soldiers using them seem to show larger instruments (some obviously improvised), presumably with a wider field of view and better light grasp. There are also lots of recent pics of Beck periscopes in more-or-less pristine condition.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if the soldiers found them poor, and left 'em in stores? :D

Hi MikB, Thank you for getting back to me, I'm with you on this, the one I have dated 1918, so if it was used in WW1, then it was for a short time.

Gerwyn

21 minutes ago, Michael Haselgrove said:

Gerwyn,

An interesting question;  I'm afraid I can't find a photo of one in use although, to be fair, I haven't spent much time looking and there don't seem to be that many photos of periscopes in use in any event.  Picking up on MikB's point, the example of a No. 25 periscope in my collection, despite being dated 1916 and broad arrow marked, is in pristine condition confirming his comments. 

The only help I can offer is the entry for the IWM collection here:

 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30025059    

which confirms use of the periscope?

Regards,

Michael.

Hi Michael, Thank you for your info, I also did a search in google and only came up with ones not being used in WW1, like I mentioned to MikB, mines dated 1918, but its nice to know looking at your link, they were used in WW1, I'm using it in my WW1 exhibition with the other two I have, that do have photos of being used in WW1, numbered 1, 2, 3, with photos numbered as a reference, to show how they were used, I do have a photo of a reenactor kneeling using one on a cover of a book, which I will use. 

Kind regards

Gerwyn

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pioneecorps
14 minutes ago, T8HANTS said:

Although the donor said it was used by his Father, the fact that it is complete, and unsullied makes me wonder if it was one of those items that seem  a good idea to purchase, but never got used.

Newly qualified ex apprentices in any number of hand tool trades will the invaluable tool that never got used lurking in their tool boxes.

I'm told kitchen cupboards are a similar area.

Hi T8HANTS, you could be right in what your saying, there were items made and not issued, or issued and not used, but we will have to decide on whether we believe or not believe.

 

Quote: 

History note

Used by donor's father during his service with the West Kent Yeomanry in the First World War.

 

Gerwyn

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BGS

I can't answer your question about a photo of one in use, but I recently handled a Mark IX tank periscope manufactured 1918 by R & J Beck, serial number ?15543. 

It was brought to a CWGC Lest We Forget event at Bradford City Hall, part of an enormous collection of photos, documents and objects (including a tank mask) which had belonged to a Tank Corps Private 308583, William Edward Whitfield. He served with 5th Company then 1st Company Tank Stores from June 1918 to early 1920. 

I will shortly be uploading the whole collection to the Oxford digital library together with Bill Whitfield's story. His grand-daughters, in whose possession the collection now is, remember playing with it at their grand-parents' house and watching passers-by.

DSC_1374 Whitfield periscope Mk IX (3).JPG

DSC_1374 Whitfield periscope Mk IX (5).JPG

DSC_1374 Whitfield periscope Mk IX (6).JPG

DSC_1374 Whitfield periscope Mk IX (8).JPG

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Sidearm

R. & J. Beck periscopes were widely used in tanks.  See David Fletcher's “Great War Tank Mark IV” Haynes Manual p. 86. “Great War Tank Mark IV” Haynes Manual p. 86.

 

Beck's also made sights for tank 6 pdr guns.

 

Gwyn 

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Sidearm

I should have said, I would be very interested in viewing the collection once it is uploaded to the ODL.  Would you be so kind as to post the link once the time comes, please?

 

Gwyn

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MikB
13 hours ago, Sidearm said:

R. & J. Beck periscopes were widely used in tanks.  See David Fletcher's “Great War Tank Mark IV” Haynes Manual p. 86. “Great War Tank Mark IV” Haynes Manual p. 86.

 

Beck's also made sights for tank 6 pdr guns.

 

Gwyn 

Beck's also made the general service telescopes in the Tel.Sig. series, especially Mk.IV. Whilst there are plenty of photos of these telescopes in use, set up on stands or simply displayed in group pictures as part of a unit's equipment, I don't recall seeing many of the Beck periscope in similar shots.

 

These telescopes today are rarely in pristine condition, and even the usable ones generally show scratches, scuffs, dents, moisture damage and all the other signs of hard use in a hostile environment. Not so most of the periscopes.

 

 

Edited by MikB

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