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philsr

SCOUT REGIMENT and SIGNALLING TELESCOPES

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philsr

I am trying to research production of the Signallers and Scout Regiment Telescopes.

Would members send in the engraving on the smallest draw of the scope such as -

Tel Sig also GS Mk IV

R and J Beck

1917

3483

/|\

In time I should be able to determine when different manufacturers changed from one Mk to another and what the serial number ranges were.

Thanks in advance.

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MikB

I have a

/|\

Tel. Sig. (Mk.III) Also GS

No. 6868

Ross, London

1915

I think this is a late Mk.III as I've seen Mk.IVs from the same year. But then I've even seen Mk.IIs as well from 1915. I think you've a rather chaotic story to untangle, and I'd be interested in what you find out.

Do you know what the difference was between Mks. III & IV? 'cause I don't.

Makers of Mk.IVs I know of included Taylor, Taylor & Hobson (design authority), Negretti & Zambra (who appeared to be prime contractors from 1917 on, possibly due to TT&H's Mk.V debacle. I think I've seen a Watson as well in Mk.IV.

Scout Regies, at least Mk. IIs, are 1939 and later. I have a BC&Co and a KEC, both I think post 1941.

There are persistent theories with both scope types that manfacturers restarted serial nos. each year. In the case of the Sig, that seems more credible than with the Scout Reg.

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

MikB,

You may be correct about the Scout Regiment serial numbers running straight through, that's what the data shows so far.

That's also what I thought about the Signallers Telescopes until I got my first anomally.

I have a R. & J. Beck number 5099 dated 1918 and there is one on sale on Ebay number 12584 dated 1916.

I queried the date with the seller who confirmed the date and number.

So it looks like at least in some cases they restarted every year.

Also looking at Ebay, there are about two Scout Regiment scopes of sale for every Signallers scope.

Regards

Phil

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MikB

Well, the Scout Reggies are generally 20 years or so newer, and from a practical point of view are a significantly better telescope, so it's not really surprising they survive and trade in larger numbers. In fact, there are few hand telescopes that are better.

The absence of a maker's mark on the Tel Sig example you mention is something I have never seen before, and I don't know what to make of it, except to wonder why the photo of the engraving is so blurred <_< . Sigs in as good condition as that are certainly quite unusual.

I think the eyepieces were stored separately, so there's no particular reason to think that those that happen to be with it now are original - that would be the exception rather than the rule.

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

Just an update on the serial number saga.

For Scout Regiment Telescopes the highest numbers that I have recorded are as follows.

Broadhurst Clarkson - 24360

H.C. Ryland - 28524

K.E.C - 22150

No data for any other manufacturers.

Serial numbers for Tel Sigs do not get close to this except for MkIVs although the sequence does suggest that they re-started every year.

My guess is that the MkIV had the highest production numbers of the lot.

Not surprisingly, I have no data for MkIs and MkIIs

Philsr

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6th Hauraki KIA KAHA

/|\

Tel. Sig. (Mk.III) Also G.S

No. 7447

ROSS, LONDON

1915

/|\

Tel. Sig. (Mk.IV) Also G.S

R.&J.BECK Ltd

LONDON

1915

No. 13715

/|\

Tel. Sig. (Mk.III) Also G.S

W.OTTWAY & CO LTD

1913

No2392

My R.&J.BECK has a high number for 1915 also being a MKIV...............No 13715

Jonathan

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MikB

I've checked my photos and found I've had a BC & Co. Scout Reg 25561.

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

I have been looking at two MkIIIs and three MkIVs and apart from the previously mentioned different sealing glands which we now suspect is simply two manufactures doing the same thing in different ways, I found the following .

Looking at my Ross and Watson MkIIIs, they both have a locating rib cast into the inside of the objective lens housing, presumably to stop the lenses rotating.

None of my MkIVs from Ryland, Beck or Hobson have this feature.

Obviously this is only a small sample five telescopes and seems a bit trivial to cause a Mk Number change.

The lenses would not be fully interchangeable because the MkIIIs lenses have a slot in the side.

You could fit a MkIII lens into a MkIV but not the other way round, although the complete lens assembly in its brass housing would interchange.

Any thoughts

philsr

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MikB

Yes, my Ross III certainly has this rib - and one can only wonder - Why? It's a totally valueless feature.

I suppose for a design authority to recognise this and delete it might cause them to consider interchangeabilty, and there certainly seems to've been a very considerable 'nomenclature bureaucracy' at the time. After all, the Mk.IV/IV**/VI distinctions are a bit piffling too, and practically guaranteed for later confusion by the apparent Army practice of storing the eyepieces separately.

We can be very weird, the British :D.

Regards,

MikB

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MikB

There's a Scout Reg. 26606 on the bay now - here: 190184756928

BC & Co., PP covered, so probably a late one.

My KEC Scout Reg is 21810.

I'm thinking MoD, not the maker, allocated the Serial Nos. on letting the contract, leastways with Scout Regs. Whaddya reckon?

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

I don't know how the Army used to operate, I'm an aircraft engineer, but for military aircraft, the tail number is allocated by the MoD.

Mark numbers used to be allocated by the MoD, including numbers for export aircraft.

'Identifiable part' serial numbers were allocated by the manufacturer, because they may be supplying customers other than the MoD.

Just for infomation, 'Identfiable parts' are those which if failed would be catastrophic, but woud be sufficiently tough to survive the crash. Major sub-assemblies were also serial numbered.

Just as an aside, how come telescopes never seem to carry an Vocabulary of Army Ordnance Stores or NATO stock number?

As you are probably aware the 'OS126GA' number on a Scout Regiment Telescope is actually a drawing number, the NSN in its L1A1 incarnation for the L42A1 Rifle being 1240-99-963-0493.

As for Plastic Poo, it seems to have come in on Ryland scopes with the nomenclature change from MkIIs to Mk2, between serial numbers 11809 and 20387, of course it could just be coincidence.

On BC scopes it seems to have come in between serial numbers 17368 and 24360 with no apparent change of nomenclature.

I spotted the Scout Regiment scope on Ebay, but have got two good BC ones, one leather and one PP, so someone else can have it.

I have also discovered that there is a list of manufactures code letters out there somewhere, at least for electrical equipment.

It had me going for a minute because KEC is E.K. Cole who used to make the Radar Ranging Mk2 fitted on Hawker Hunters.

However further investigation proved that the list was specific to electrical equipment.

I reckon that there may be another one somewhere for other stuff, a lot of webbing is stamped MECo for example, and I can't believe that the War Office would let the various manufactures do their own thing.

Regards

Philsr

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MikB

The Army Museum told me the OS126GA was an Ordnance Supply General Application contract number. I now think they were talking well beyond their real knowledge - but I'd've thought it's more likely a stores item code than a drawing number. Many of the MoD - controlled drawings I've seen and worked with define multiple components or subassemblies, sometimes in a large range of sizes, so I'd expect the concept of Part No. = Drwg. No., which is or was frequently found in civilian engineering industry, just wouldn't make any sense in that environment. And the Drawing No. (attractive as the 'GA' bit is) is far less use on the actual instrument than the stock code/Part No./Item Code if they're not the same.

The BC Scout Reg 25561 I once had was leather-covered, so I don't know where that leaves the change to PP - unless they reworked instruments sent back for repair.

I'd be interested to know how EKCO came to be doing scopes as KEC - I'd suspected it stood for Kodak Eastman Co., but have no sound evidence.

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

Looking at a typical Illustrated Part Catalogue.

They normally have five main columns - a typical entry for the L1A1 sighting scope (No 32 Scope) would be -

Item/Plate No Cat/NATO Stock No Description No Off Makers Part/Drawing No

H1 1240-99-963-2062 Telescope 1 OS2429GA

All optical kit seems to have the OS number.

Some end in GA, A and SA.

Which to me are General Assembly, Assembly and Sub Assembly.

Looking at the IPC the three suffixes seem to run gown from the top GA.

Again in the miltary aircraft industry items often carry two numbers.

The part number, usually the drawing number with a suffix.

The NATO Stock Number, in the past it was the RAF Stores Reference Number.

I don't think that E. K. Cole did telescopes, I suspect it's just a coincidence on codes.

Regards

philsr

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philsr

It's a bit obvious really, but I have just spotted that my Tel Sig also GS MkIIIs are shorter than the MkIV.

The parallel section that holds the sun shade are about 3/8" less.

So we now have the rib in the eyepiece and shorter sun shade on the MkIII.

philsr

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MikB

Ah. Never owned both at the same time, that's my excuse.

Next question, of course, is - what's that all about then? Why change a working design so trivially?

Regards,

MikB

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6th Hauraki KIA KAHA

I have both a 1913 Mk 111 and Mk 1915 1V with no difference in the length of the cover, my 1917 Mk 1V** was longer though

so It can not be a change that came in early in the Mk1V production

Jonathan

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philsr

Gents,

That's even odder, why change it in the middle of production without changing the Mk number?

My 1914 Ross and 1903 Watson MkIIIs have an eyeshade 3 1/2" long.

My 1918 Hobson Mk IV**, 1917 Ryland MkIV and 1917 Beck Mk IV have an eyeshade 4" long.

My longer ones are all 1917 or later, but that could just be the result of a small sample.

The extended length on my MkIVs and MkIV** is longer by about 1/2" as well.

The eyeshades could have been changed during refurbishment or overhaul, but why?

There also seems to be some random variation in the leather end caps, I have them with buckles on both the small and large cap.

I suppose after 90 plus years all sorts of things could have been swopped about.

I am now really confused!!!!

If anyone else out there is following this thread, please measure your telescope and send us the details.

The bigger the sample, the better the data.

Merry Christmas to all.

philsr

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MikB

It don't get no better, neither, when you consider that on my 1915 Ross Mk.III, the rayshade is a gnat's over 4", say about 4.05" long.

Curiouser and curiouser... :D

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

Gents,

It makes you wonder if anything is what it purports to be.

Ninety years and two World Wars gone by with possible widespread cannibalisation of damaged equipment.

There may even have been a retro-fit programme to fit longer sunshades on all versions.

A longer sunshade would reduce the angle subtended by reflections.

Bearing in mind that the Allies would be facing broadly into the sun early in the mornings, so any reflections would be straight back into German lines.

Does anyone know what the List of Changes said about the introduction of the Mk IV?

Regards

philsr

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MikB

The rayshade was the same length as the OG forward tube - to extend it would affect the optics and focus of the whole instrument, and I've never seen one with a recessed OG when the rayshade was retracted, so I really don't buy that.

Mk.IV was introduced in Feb '15 by LoC para. 17061. I've no info about what it said, but if anyone has copies of the document... pretty please?.. :D

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

Gents,

Yes, you would have to change both, which would increase the length of the fully extended scope by 1/2 inch, which is roughly what my MkIVs are are like compared to the MKIIIs.

Even changing both, you do get an extra 1/2 inch of effective sunshade when it is extended.

You push in to focus so an extra 1/2 inch increase in overall length would not make any difference.

I just can't think of any other reason for such a change, whether as part of the Mk IV design or as a later conversion.

The only other explanation I can think of is that if all the engineering tolerances went the wrong way, i.e. all of the sections of the telescope came up short, the telescope might not be long enough to focus properly.

However a bit of selective assembly would sort that out.

philsr

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MikB

Phil,

There's a counterexample on the bay (Item 180200998391) of an undoubted Beck's Mk.IV with what looks very like the shorter pattern rayshade.

I wonder if, despite the LoCs, asterisks and full panoply of WD nomenclature, the situation was actually pretty chaotic... :D

Regards,

MikB

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philsr

Mik,

Yes I spotted it.

I am a little concerned that it apparently does not have a date or serial number, I have asked the seller to check.

I thought thst the ray shade seemed short, also the engraving was slightly different to the Beck one that I have.

Also the end caps do not seem to have buckles or straps.

I am wondering if it is a commercial one built up out of spares after the war.

As for the apparent differences between the various Mks, which appear to be a bit vague.

Is it possible that the various manufactures either used all their stock before embodying changes or simply continued producing what they were tooled up for until the tools wore out and then changed over?

Certainly, in the air gun trade it was quite common to introduce a new model and then use up old components to produce a rifle that was neither the old or new one, but labelled up as the new one.

Any thoughts

phil

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philsr

Gents,

Further to my last note, the seller has replied that I has no date or serial number.

Also it does not seem to have a Government Arrow.

As well as possibly being a commercial scope, could it be a late war item which never went through the acceptance process before the war ended.

I have just remembered another case where the was a Beck telescope on Ebay and that did not have the name on the outside, but had R&J B on the eyepiece.

It just gets worse!!!!!

Regards

Philsr

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MikB

It could also be post -WW1 diverted for commercial sale prior to acceptance as you suggest. I don't think I've ever seen a Tel Sig dated later than 1918 or maybe -19, as if the practice was dropped from then on except for a brief period - I think 1940 to maybe -43, and even then only for some makers - in WW2.

Yes, the endcap buckle-straps are missing too. But my guess is still that it was put together by Beck's as it's shown for sale. Interchangeability between makers and models is usually so poor as to preclude this being a later bitsa - unless, for example, there are signs of re-cut threads.

Regards,

MikB

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