Captain Frank Osborne Creagh-Osborne (1867/1943) was Superintendent of Compasses with the British Admiralty and inventor. His various developments were built by H. Hughes & Son Ltd, Dent & Co & Johnson Ltd, Sperry Gyroscopes etc.
This compass is the Observer's wrist compass Pattern 261. Patent no: 1148/1915
These compasses were used by observers in observation balloons. Observation balloons are balloons that are employed as aerial platforms for intelligence gathering and artillery spotting. The balloons were fabric envelopes filled with hydrogen gas, whose flammable nature led to the destruction of hundreds of balloons on both sides. Observers manning these observation balloons frequently had to use a parachute to evacuate their balloon when it came under attack.
World War I was the highpoint for the military use of observation balloons. The British, despite their experience in late 1800s Africa, were behind developments, using spherical balloons. These were quickly replaced by versions of first Italian and then French designs, which were flyable and could operate in more extreme weather conditions. During World War I, artillery had developed to the point where it was capable of engaging targets beyond the visual range of a ground-based observer. Positioning artillery observers at altitude on balloons allowed them to see targets at greater range than they could on the ground. This allowed the artillery to take advantage of its increased range. The balloons were deployed on land and at sea for use in: Observing enemy troops, Locating submarines and Artillery spotting.
Text on the compass: C-O compass no: 2088 1148/1915 Blacker type.
The leather strap is still in good condition.
On the bottom of the compass the name of the owner is engraved. "R.H.Moore R.G.A."
On the leather compass pouch is written "Capt. R.H. Moore"
I found two ads in the London Gazette:
London Gazette 18-april 1918
TANK CORPS. 17 nov. 1917
The undermentioned Lt. (actg. Capt.) to be temp. Capt.
- R. H. Moore (R.G.A., T.F.).
London Gazette 24 february 1920
Royal Garrison Artillery
Lt. R. H. Moore, Essex & Suffolk R.G.A.(temp. Capt., Tank Corps), relinquishes his
commission on account of ill-health contracted on active service, 21st Feb. 1920;
and is granted the rank of Capt.