Trench Periscope

A simple piece of equipment that would have been used by soldiers in the trenches to enable them to see over the top, but still remain hidden.

A periscope is an instrument that is used for surveillance in conditions which prevents direct line-of-sight observation. The example shown is a periscope in it’s simplest form – an outer metal casing with mirrors at each end, set parallel at a 45 degree angle and, in this case, the handle is made from a kitchen rolling pin! This form of periscope was used in the trenches during the First World War, and was carried by both cavalry and infantry personnel. Periscopes were also used in some gun turrets and armoured vehicles.

In some cases, periscopes were also fixed to rifles, enabling soldiers to aim and fire the weapon from a safe position below the trench parapet.