Medical instrument - vagina expander (vaginal speculum)

Place Oceania: New Guinea, Huon Peninsula, Finschhafen, Finschhafen area
Accession Number REL28929
Collection type Technology
Object type Medical equipment
Physical description steel
Date made 1939-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Steel medical instrument - vagina expander (vaginal speculum). Consists of two 120mm flanges which expand out by turning a screw aparatus to close two actuating rods. Chrome plated.

History / Summary

Souvenired by donor in 1943 at Finschhafen, New Guinea while a member of 1st Operating Group Small Ships Water Transport, Royal Australian Engineers, conducting a supply operation with the auxiliary sailing ship AK95 Sir John Franklin. Following air raids, crew went ashore for rest & recuperation. Writes donor, 'A friendly Provost Sergeant inquired of the Ship's Master Lieutenant Mick Markey whether some of us would like to visit a captured underground Jap hospital. Lieut. Mick Markey, Second Mate John Donellan and myself elected to go and have a look at it. Tunnelling into a hillside the nip had done a masterly piece of work, about 6ft in diameter, very smoothly finished and had been electrically lit up. We walked in with torches for about 150 yards and eventually came to the end, which had filled with water. Our guide said that there was a Jap Geisha girl entombed under the water, they had recognised her as a woman because of her long hair. Of this, I had always been doubtful until recently. Outside the entrance to the tunnel, once again, were scattered small waterproof packets of Condy's Crystals, a known earlier-time antiseptic. I picked up a small silver plated medical instrument also lying there and brought it home with me. As recently as early July this year 2000 I rediscovered this instrument whilst looking for something else. A friend of mine Dr. M.J. Malone visited shortly afterwards and immediately identified it as a vagina expander. I therefore believe the tunnel was the haven of the Japanese comfort women and not a hospital. This reasoning may not have been accepted until a few years ago when the Japanese Army was found to have promoted such places.'.