Darwin war history
Written by Norman Cramp, Director of Darwin Military Museum.
One of the more unusual artefacts at the Darwin Military Museum (DMM) is the Barr and Stroud rangefinder that saw service in Darwin during World War Two.
Barr and Stroud Limited was an optical engineering firm based in Glasgow, Scotland in the late 1880s. The company was approached by the Admiralty in 1891 to prepare and submit a design for a range-finding instrument for trial by the Royal Navy. Archibald Barr and William Stroud, the founders and owners of Barr and Stroud Ltd (although the company did not come into existence until 1913) set to work and by 1892 they had received a contract from the Admiralty for six of their short-base rangefinders.
Following the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the company received numerous orders for their rangefinders from various countries around the world. The Barr and Stroud rangefinders became as popular and well known as the Bofors anti-aircraft guns during World War Two and, as such, were used by various countries in that conflict including Japan. There is a Barr & Stroud rangefinder at the DMM that was recovered from a sunken Japanese destroyer off the island of Lombok, Indonesia.
What's so special about the Barr and Stroud?
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