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Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

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  • Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

    Just picked up this little boxwood rule. Seems to be for mapwork as it has a couple of distance scales, protractor and various listings and formulae for horizontal equivalents for various vertical intervals, etc. No makers mark but owner scratched in "J. Keane RCE" "RCE" is likely Royal Canadian Engineers (the Brits were "CRE" Corps of Royal Engineers). Great condition save a couple of corner chips. The rule is about 6" long and it looks like hand set type.

    Elsewhere I had feedback that this was likely used for aiming artillery.


    Thanks to the Internet I also found....

    Of the foreign scales, the sajen and verst are obsolete Russian measurements, outlawed in about 1930 when the metric system was introduced. Similarly the Japanese and Turkish measurements are obsolete. So it likely dates to WWI. I'm no historian but thought Canada's role in the Great War was "only" in Western Europe.

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  • #2

    Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

    What you say Jacque ?
    • “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”Winston Churchill

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    • #3

      Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

      There was a Newfoundland contingent (not strictly Canadian at the time) which suffered heavy casualties at the Gallipoli disaster; and Canada sent a force to help the Russians in 1919, though I don't think they were engaged in combat. Since Canada was part of the Empire I suppose individuals were free to join British regiments. Going further back, the first Canadian VC was won at the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.
      Jim

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      • #4

        Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

        The Royal Newfound Regiment is the only North American outfit to serve in the Dardanelles campaign in WW-I and later received heavy casualties at the First Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 in northern France with fewer than 70 members able to answer role call on the morning of 2 July 1916. They rebuilt and served throughout the remainder of the war at regiment strength. Google Royal Newfoundland Regiment for lots more information. Newfoundlanders served in both Word Wars as British colonial soldiers since Newfoundland only joined Confederation in 1949.

        The Artillery calculator, at least that is what I think it was called, is a nice find in great shape. The Canadian War Museum staff should be able to help you find more information on it, but if not, the museum of the RCA would be an alternative source of information on its use by both artillery and combat engineers. I rummaged through my old artillery books but they concentrate more on the equipment and ammunition than on the other lesser items used in planning and execution.

        The RCE can be traced through the Military Engineers museum who I believe hold records of all members who served in WW-1 and in WW-II. The artifact that you have was still in use long after WW-I so you might have to dig a bit to identify the Gent who inscribed it.

        One of my great uncles was an artillery officer in WW-I, another was in an engineering regiment and a third was a Nova Scotia Highlander at Vimy and other battles. Two of the three survived the war, although not quite intact, and I am proud of their service and pleased to have known them personally. I hope that you dig into the history of that piece and that these references help you.

        Ken

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        • #5

          Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

          Thanks Ken. I'll follow up with some of the leads you provided. As I said, I'm not much of a history buff, but you've whetted my curiosity!

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          • #6

            Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

            Originally posted by redlee View Post
            What you say Jacque ?
            I was RCAF but this ruler would look good in my antique shop lol..

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            • #7

              Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

              Here's a response I got from the Canadian Military Engineers Museum:

              I believe that a better name would be High Explosive Protractor. The measures it converts to Imperial are Metric (French), Russian, Japanese and Turkish. During the Great War Russia, France and Japan were allied with the UK and Ireland while Turkey (Ottoman Turkey) was allied with the German and the Austrian Empires.

              I would say this probably does date to the 1910. I do not have any information on J. Keane. You may be able to find out more about him from Library and Archives Canada in the Great War service records, but as he identifies as RCE, he was probably Permanent Force and would not be in the CEF files.

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              • #8

                Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                Thanks for sharing that response. Digging into these artifacts can become a hobby too! I am a history buff and my son is an avid historian so I get pretty keen to track these things down so they will not be lost to future generations. Have a look at this site, there is an artillery protractor about half way down the page that appears to be similar to yours:

                http://www.mathsinstruments.me.uk/page35.html

                Ken

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                • #9

                  Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                  Actually there may have been some combat in Siberia in 1919 as there is a grave marker in Riverview cemetery in Dunnville, Ontario for a guy killed, or died at any rate, serving in the SEF I believe that was the Siberian Expeditionary Force.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                    You're right, there was; I shouldn't have relied on my creaky memory. Most of the dead, apparently 14, were buried in a graveyard in Siberia, with a few others scattered elsewhere. There's a War Museum page and another on Wikipedia with a slightly different account. It was an odd "war," Western countries in support of the old Tsarist regime against Leninist forces. It was so popular in Canada that some of the conscripts mutinied on the way to the troopship.
                    It can be difficult to find out how particular soldiers died. Two of my uncles died in WW1, long before I was thought of. One died in 1918 at age 20 in a field hospital of pneumonia, which could cover a multitude of conditions. Because he died on active duty, he made it into the record and the memorials. The other, a gunner, joined up in 1914 and made it all the way through, dying a year after the armistice of lingering medical problems. No record, no memorial.
                    Jim

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                    • #11

                      Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                      Originally posted by Jayked View Post
                      ... One died in 1918 at age 20 in a field hospital of pneumonia, which could cover a multitude of conditions..
                      I know this is off topic, but... Do you know the date of his death? If it was after the end of April 1918, there is a good chance he died of Spanish flu. It was responsible for a substantial number of deaths, with more US soldiers succumbing on the battlefield to the flu than to bullets. When it tore through western Canada in the autumn of 1918, it was responsible for the deaths of 5 to 10% of the population in many smaller towns, often killing healthy young adults. It caused the delayed start of the school year that autumn and public gatherings were banned.

                      Spanish flu was offloaded by the Americans in Brest France (on April 25th 1918, if I recall correctly), having been imported from the US where it first appeared in early March of 1918, at Camp Funston in Kansas. It went through the Allied forces, causing substantial numbers of deaths. When the Canadians and Australians won a major victory on August 8 1918 at the Battle of Amiens, the German general Erich Ludendorff (who referred to it as the Black Day or "Schwarzer Tag") later wrote that many of the German soldiers were exhausted and ill with the Spanish flu that day. Some, perhaps tongue in cheek, suggest the best thing that the Americans did in WWI was to inflict the Spanish flu on their enemy -- germ warfare, perhaps?
                      sigpic

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                      • #12

                        Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                        Originally posted by Charles Smith View Post
                        I know this is off topic, but... Do you know the date of his death? If it was after the end of April 1918, there is a good chance he died of Spanish flu. [/COLOR][/FONT]
                        9th November, two days before the armistice. He was in the Royal Scots, not a Canadian regiment, and I don't know in what area he was stationed.
                        Jim

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                        • #13

                          Re: Anyone run across a ruler like this one?

                          Me, as a tyro collector of rules will easily buy into the artillary aspect of this item. I was puzzled by the HE, "high expolisve" seems a rational explanation, but so does "hieght elevation. . as much as we think that everything back then was mathematical with angles and trajectories. I have a collapsible artillery protractor that uses a plumb-bob and has woden body. Them military collectors are out there with perhaps more passion than the Rhikenologists

                          Eriic in Calgary

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