Andy Macnab’s Ross telescope

I was quite surprised to find Andy Macnab’s telescope in an antiques saleroom: this was way back in 1995, in Beacon Marine Antiques, in Swanwick, near Hamble, UK. In fact the saleroom was in a barge, called the ”Bernadette de Lourdes”, moored on the Hamble River near Moody’s boatyard.


The telescope was made by Ross, and is engraved “Ross, London” and gives the serial Number 58140. I don’t know whether there is any reference book to find more data about these Ross serial numbers, maybe someone can tell me? Ross became part of Avimo in Taunton in 1975. It looks and feels like a 1930s built telescope. The feel is also just right, it’s relatively small, solid, easy to focus, light and easy to carry.




It is a two draw brass telescope, 24” long when extended, 10.5” closed, nearly 1.75” diameter. The barrel has a stitched leather covering, with a sunshade, and the objective lens cap has two holes to allow it to be retained with a leather thong or cord. The eyepiece has a sliding shutter to cover the lens. Inside, the lens cartridges are well engineered, and conventional. Bothe sliders are lined with felt, to give a very tight joint: the air inside is able to escape through an air exhaust hole under the sunshade.


The telescope came with its own leather case, which carries the initials AJM for AJ Macnab.

A J Macnab, the owner



Well, I wonder who AJ Macnab was? At least we know he was the owner, probably the first owner, as the telescope is engraved “A.J.Macnab, From A & J”. Presumably A & J were his parents, and it is reasonable to postulate that this was a gift maybe when AJM left home to join either his first ship or his first Regiment.

I have not found him as yet. It is not really likely that this was Andy McNab, the well-known author of “Bravo Two Zero”, and other stories about a Sargeant in the SAS in the Gulf War, as first this was just a pen-name, second, if he had this telescope when he joined the Army in 1930, he would have been about 80 years old in the Gulf War, and thirdly, he spelled his name in a different way! Plus if he was in the SAS, he surely would not have used a bright polished brass telescope when trying to hide in the desert sand!


Current use

This telescope has been one of the first choice units for me to take away on holiday, or on any leisure trip, for the past twenty years – usually accompanied by the Carpenter multi-draw, which fits better into an anorak pocket. It has also been to lots of air displays and events. It was acquired in 1995, and is Accession number 26.


Not a telescope I am going to part with!


2 comments on “Andy Macnab’s Ross telescope

  1. Dear Sir,

    Thank you for compiling such wonderful information & images telescopes . To be honest we have been manufacturing & selling brass telescopes on our website from quite some time but never had an opportunity to understand its details , history, backgrounds ever. Many brass telescopes that we replicated for our clients were named and we never understood why they were named so, But now after reading your blog I am happy that I have a lot of understanding. I am really grateful to you for taking time to write such informative posts.
    I was searching for blogs and informative posts about brass telescopes just to request owner for a backlink to my website where we offer brass telescope replica. We do not sell antique telescopes , we just sell newly made brass telescopes for decorations . It will a great honor for us if you can just add our website link in your prestigious blog .

    Kindly also let me know if I can add a links to your post on my product page so as the buyers can visit your blog if they need in depth information on brass telescope.

    We offer excellent customer service. We are equipped to replicate any type of brass telescope and hence if you have any telescope with a missing part and wish to restore just let us know and we will try our best to recreate the missing part. It will an honor for us to serve you.
    Just forgot to mention that I have some old telescopes. These are all pretty old, kind of samples that we got from our clients for replication..
    They are in good condition.. Not antiques but yet they are quite old. If you can send me your email address I can send you some pics for reference.
    Best Regards

    I thank you for your time.

    Best Regards

  2. Pingback: Three small telescopes: Dollond, Dixey, and A. N. Other | The Telescope Collector

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