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Topic: Midget C periscope, Located< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2003,10:42  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I believe we may have finally found the final resting place of Midget C’s periscope.  Like most other equipment from Midget C, the scope was removed by the Navy in 1941.   It seemingly dropped off the face of the earth after that.

I’ve spoken with Jeff Hunt, curator of the National Museum of the Pacific War, as well as the Curator of the Navy Historical Center (NHC) in DC.  The NHC maintains custody cards on all artifacts owned by the Navy, even those that are on loan to other organizations and museums.

They could not find a custody card for the Midget C periscope though.  That is not as uncommon as it may sound since there were a lot of artifacts brought back from WW2, and many have custody cards that have been simplified. In other words, the HA-19 (Midget C) periscope custody card may simply say “Periscope, Japanese 2-Man Midget Submarine.”  Once an object loses its association with the “parent” artifact, it becomes very difficult to trace.

But Jeff Hunt said he’d heard a rumor that the HA-19 scope went to a small museum in New England somewhere.  So I began searching.  I finally found a personal museum operated by a gentleman named Ben Bastura in Middletown, Connecticut.  Mr. Bastura passed away not long ago, but one of the many newspaper articles written about him says, “He even talked the Navy into donating the periscope from a rare, two-man Japanese sub from World War II.”

Mr. Bastura’s collection went to the St Mary’s Submarine Museum in Georgia upon his death, and they are still sorting out the thousands of items he left them.  It may be a few months before they get the periscope unpacked and get serial numbers off it to match with NHC records.

But it is promising.

St Mary's Submarine Museum

Ben Bastura Submarine Museum

Edited by Ken Hackler on --

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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 08 2003,11:43 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The periscope for Midget C (HA-19) has been positively identified by Mark Wortheimer, the Curator at the Naval Historical Center (NHC).

It was on display at the end of WW2 at the Navy Submarine School in New London, CT.  From there it was loaned to Brown University's NROTC Unit where it was displayed until the mid-1960's.  From that point it was returned to the NHC, who has now loaned it back out to the USS Bowfin Museum in Hawaii.

It was identified by custody records held by the NHC.

They also have two other midget submarine periscopes in their inventory, one of which is in their storage facility and one which cannot be located right off the bat.  Mark is checking into that one.

Since the Navy has two other Type A midget submarines, the HA-8 in New London and the HA-53 (I think) in Guam, these two scopes may have come from these boats.  But then again, maybe not, since a lot of submarine artifacts were captured at the end of the war.

Midget B's scope is still something of a mystery, although a piece of it is in the Naval Academy Museum.

The periscope from Bastura's Submarine Museum in CT, now in the St Mary's Submarine Museum in GA, has not yet been completely identified.

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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 08 2003,12:10 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Congrats Ken, good sleuthing =)

Any idea what St Mary's plans on doing with the periscope?

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Let's see what this does...

Tracy White
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Ken Hackler Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 08 2003,3:34 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've talked with the curator at St Mary's and they are going to put the scope back on public display in the next few months as soon as they finish sorting out everything that they've recently acquired.

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Chris Johnson Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 13 2005,1:02 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Any further word on St Mary's and getting the scope back on display? And if it has been already, has anyone seen it?

Regards!
Chris

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