Looking like something out of a horror movie, British troops operating in Arctic conditions are issued with white cloth face coverings to protect themselves from frostbite in the sub-zero temperatures:Tonight we are looking at one of these facemasks in detail:The facemask is made of white fabric, with two holes for eyes, slots being provided above to allow the straps of a pair of goggles to be fitted through the mask:The mouth piece of the face mask has a removable cover, secured with Velcro and a single button:Each face mask comes with two spare covers, allowing them to be replaced for the purposes of hygiene as this is obviously the area of the mask that will collect most germs:The face mask creates a layer of warm air between the wearer’s face and the frigid temperatures that protects the soldier form frostbite. A Royal Marine Daniel Murphy of Bradford explains their effectiveness:
‘When I first saw the face masks I thought “what’s this?” but they obviously work. I actually had to pull mine off because I was getting too hot.’
The face mask has a small label sewn into it with details of its NSN number and manufacture:Note also that the fabric has been treated to make it flame resistant. This particular mask dates from 1993 and was supplied in a ziplock bag:This again has a stores label on it with details of the contents and date:As in the case of the wristlets we looked at earlier this month, the MoD’s ‘Black Book of Kit’ includes an entry on the facemask, indicating it was introduced prior to 1991:For the collector of British Army Arctic equipment, these facemasks are easily available online and are frequently not more than £3 or £4 for a brand new set.