Written by Norman Cramp, Director of Darwin Military Museum.
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?
- It is the largest rangefinder ever installed in Australia.
- It was installed at the East Point gun emplacements, reportedly atop the Command Post building
- It saw service throughout WW2
- It was sold at auction in Darwin post-WW2 and was transported to Katoomba, NSW
- It was tourist attraction at Katoomba where it was used, for a coin in the slot, to have a close-up look at the Three Sisters and the valleys beyond.
- It fell into disrepair and was donated to the Royal Australian Artillery Association (RAAA), Sydney, and relocated to the Association’s headquarters at North Head.
- I was refurbished there and, in 2016, it was donated to the RAAA-NT.
- The RAA-NT transported the rangefinder to Darwin and set it up as a permanent display in the Naval Display shed at the DMM