World War II

During the war years Ken Beames' skills in optics enabled him to make a significant contribution to the production of optical munitions. At the time, there were very few people with the skill and knowledge of optic production and his services were called upon to make sighting telescope and signal lamp reflectors for Aldis signal lamps used by the Royal Australian Navy & British Navy.

The extent of this production is currently unknown as he probably sub-contracted to AWA in Ashfield and is not mentioned in the official history as a contractor. Never the less, preliminary research in the observatory archives, personal reminiscences related by friends and the presence of machinery for mass production of these optical components indicate that his contribution to the production of optics during World War II was sizeable. He also manufactured naval artillery fuse gaskets for the British Navy and parts for the airframes of Mosquito bombers for the Royal Australian Airforce. It was also during the war that Beames joined the NSW Branch of the British Astronomers Association.

There are many artifacts remaining from the WWII production including notebooks, jigs, lens', telescope parts and lens making machinery. There are few, if any, sites remaining in Australia with the range of artefacts chronicling Australian optical production during WWII.