Early War Mk II Anti-Gas Eyeshields

Whilst most collectors are familiar with the anti-gas eyeshields in the cardboard wallet with printed instructions on the outside, before this was introduced eyeshields were issued in small cardboard boxes instead. Made of a buff coloured cardboard, this simple box is robust and held six of the anti-gas eyeshields:

A white label is stuck to the front indicating the contents and the faintest remains of a date stamp can be seen:

This matches with the date embossed on the box and is 1940. Inside the eyeshields are contained in paper envelopes rather than the paper concertina used on the later patterns:

The eyeshields themselves are the Mk II version, which was a simple update of the Mk I with a piece of cotton stapled to the top of the eyeshield to improve fit and how gasproof they were. The eyeshields are assembled by attaching the press studs in the corners to shape them. A piece of elastic with a simple metal hook and eye is fitted and a tiny friction buckle allows the length to be altered:

Some variations can be found with the bottom edge of the eyeshields bound in waxed paper for strength to stop splitting and I believe that this modification indicates later production and the Mk III, but there is little source material on the exact differences between marks. This early pack is much harder to find than the later packet and will be a nice addition to my early war respirator haversack.

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