Protectors, Eye, Anti-Mine

The post war mine detector kit included a pair of specialist goggles to help protect the eyes of the mine clearance soldier from small fragments of metal that might be thrown up by an explosion. These goggles have a wrap-around design with extra thick lenses to help protect the wearer:imageThey were issued in a set with a case and anti-dimming kit:imageThe case is a small green carry case, secured by two quick release tabs on the front:imageA pair of ‘c’ hooks on the rear allows it to be carried on a belt:imageInside the goggles rest with the lenses to the rear of the case:imageA small pocket is provided at the front for the anti-dimming kit:imageThe case itself is lined with a soft white cloth to help protect the lenses of the goggles from scratches and a maker’s stamp for the case is printed here indicating the case dates from 1965:imageA label with instructions for the goggles use is sewn into the lid of the case:imageThe goggles themselves have a distinctive angular design to give them greater peripheral vision than standard goggles:imageSmall ventilation holes are stamped into the top, bottom and sides of the goggles to help air flow into the lenses and preventing the eyepieces from fogging up as quickly as they might otherwise have done:imageOne side of the lenses have the word ‘top’ stamped on them to ensure the wearer puts them on correctly:imageThe size of the goggles over the bridge of the nose can be adjusted and a green elasticated head harness is provided to help keep them on the head:imageA metal buckle on either side allows the tightness of the head harness to be adjusted:imageNote also the faint date stamp indicating that these goggles were produced in 1965. These eye protectors started being trialled in 1949 and seem to have continued in service until at least the 1970s.

One of the biggest mine clearance jobs after the war was clearing the anti-invasion mines laid on Britain’s beaches, as reported in the Times in 1956, eleven years after the war ended:

In Fairlight Glen, east of Hastings, sappers of the Bomb Disposal Unit, R.E., are now doing a job of mine clearance. This is not in fact as alarming as it sounds. The public still are able to walk freely and safely over large areas of the beautiful glen and up to the famous Lover’s Seat.

All the same, the various authorities concerned were not altogether satisfied that the glen was wholly cleared of mines that were hurriedly laid in the area in the summer of 1940. It appears that the original plans were lost when the officer of the laying party was blown up while carrying them, and accurate records of the mines laid before the accident were not available. After the war the area was swept with detectors except for a portion which since 1947 has been enclosed with the idea of allowing erosion to destroy or reveal the beach mines known to be there…

The first step by the R.E. was to gain access to the minefield by driving a road to enable bulldozers and other heavy equipment to get down to the beach. The whole densely overgrown area was suspect because of the discovery of a mine in the summer of 1954. It was decided that this growth must be burned down and the ground beneath swept with detectors as the access road was cut. In the course of burning off and sweeping the ground leading to the minefield proper four mines have been found…

We saw men moving over the ground and up the steep hillside with standard detectors, and later with the so called locators which find mines buried 5ft, or more below ground. The mines “found” were detonated one by one with heavy explosions, but there was reason to believe that these were nothing more than demonstration bangs.

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