"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Guide The Way
The Taylor Gydeway Compass
If you weren't able to find it, don't be surprised as it doesn't exactly jump out of the display at you. The enlargement above, of the "Auxiliary" equipment section, is where the formerly "unknown" item (at least to us at the time) appears.

Once we spotted it, the investigation was launched. If you've been collecting in this field for awhile, you are aware of the challenges posed by a lack of good references on the subject. Sometimes, the items we run across can be quite baffling and nearly impossible to identify, but in this case, you don't need a deerstalker hat and a calabash pipe to start your detective work. Obviously, it's a compass, but unlike anything we were familiar with that was used by Navy aviators. The matchbox compass (found in survival kits), late-war wrist compass (part of the Pilot's Personal Equipment) and even later pocket card magnetic compass (used in multi-place life rafts) were the only types we had references on and were familiar with as Navy issue items. Our three goals were to first, identify the item, second, try to find further evidence of it's use and lastly, add one to the collection if the first two tasks proved to be successful. Inquiries were made to a few knowlegable collectors, but that yielded no answers. Our first glimmer of hope came from an internet search that showed a picture of something similar. Further searching indicated it was a model made by Taylor and known as the Gydeway. A slight problem was that all the Gydeways we could find photos of, either through internet searches or online auctions, showed a card and needle that were different from the display at Norfolk. In fact, the example we were trying to match didn't appear to even have a needle. This had us stumped for awhile, but continued searching led us to realize there were a few variations of the Gydeway. The one we were looking for turned out to be a needleless type where the card itself spins.
Simultaneously, the search through our database of vintage photos had begun. Now that we knew what to look for, it was only a matter of time until we began to see the previously unseen. It had been there all along, but had simply been overlooked. Our photographic results are presented below. The conclusion we have drawn is that these compasses were procured and issued during the later part of 1944 and into 1945. We can speculate that the Navy bridged the gap between the unsatisfactory matchbox compass and it's soon to be issued replacement wrist compass by purchasing a quantity of an already existing and readily available civilian item. Unfortunately, we have no documentation to support this, but the hunt continues.

After several months, an example was found with a configuration that appears to match that of the Norfolk item and this was successfully added to the collection.

Below are the examples we found of the Gydeway in service. We would welcome any more that you might discover.