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Coder's signalling mirror?

Mogreby

Newbie
Mods, please feel free to move this if it is in the wrong part of the forum.

My dad was an NS Coder on Implacable 1951-53. One of the few items he kept on demob was a handheld signalling mirror maybe 4x6 inches in size with instructions on the back and a sighting hole in the centre. This lived in his wash kit but my mother thinks it went missing when he was in hospital. I have a been unable to even find an image of one let alone a replacement.

Any pointers as to where I might look please?
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
The alternative name for the mirror is Heliograph.

If you google it there are some available on Ebay, including WW2 vintage ones, which is probably what your Dad had.
 

Mogreby

Newbie
Thank you. Some of the ebay ones look close but not exactly as my (quite possibly faulty) memory has it.

Having the correct name is a leap forward.
 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
As above - a heliograph. The idea is to send a signal. The hole is used to 'sight' the target and then the mirror is wiggled, making (hopefully) flashes of light. Think of when you use the face of your watch to make a light spot on the wall to dazzle missus / drive cat wild!

How do I know this? Well, an old CD does the same thing and is an item I always carry in my pocket while out diving, in case I get separated from the other divers or boat, or to attract a helo.

On the surface obviously....... ;)
 

Waspie

War Hero
I still have an old aircrew personal survival kit at home. Part of the kit is a stainless steel square, about 2 inches. Hole in centre. It was used as an emergency aid to attract the attention of searching aircraft.
Very useful pieces of kit. (If you ditch)
img_6653.jpg
Edited to add picture of the type I have!
 
Last edited:

Alfacharlie

War Hero
I still have an old aircrew personal survival kit at home. Part of the kit is a stainless steel square, about 2 inches. Hole in centre. It was used as an emergency aid to attract the attention of searching aircraft.
Very useful pieces of kit. (If you ditch)
Would've needed one if I were controlling.
 

soleil

War Hero
Thank you. Some of the ebay ones look close but not exactly as my (quite possibly faulty) memory has it.

Having the correct name is a leap forward.

Might it be worth asking the Museum of the Royal Navy whether they have any images of a heliograph from the right period? They may have a photo of one which looks like the one you remember.

I know that their contact page says something about them not helping with historical enquiries but you can always ask.

 

SONAR-BENDER

War Hero
I still have an old aircrew personal survival kit at home. Part of the kit is a stainless steel square, about 2 inches. Hole in centre. It was used as an emergency aid to attract the attention of searching aircraft.
Very useful pieces of kit. (If you ditch)
View attachment 52821
Edited to add picture of the type I have!
Actually, when I said CD earlier, they are 'sample CDs' which are rectangular* and so fit in my pocket easier. There is also no fore-sight! If I;m ever in the position where I have to use it, I'll just wiggle away and hope for the best!

* Last time we were in the UK, Superdrug was giving away credit card sized plastic mirrors - so I had a couple of them away too for emergencies! (Not of the diver or PTI type!)
 

Stirlin

War Hero
Actually, when I said CD earlier, they are 'sample CDs' which are rectangular* and so fit in my pocket easier. There is also no fore-sight! If I;m ever in the position where I have to use it, I'll just wiggle away and hope for the best!

* Last time we were in the UK, Superdrug was giving away credit card sized plastic mirrors - so I had a couple of them away too for emergencies! (Not of the diver or PTI type!)

RN divers/PTI's use CD's as emergency make up mirrors.
 
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