Another Tuesday and another set of finds on Huddersfield second hand market. I notice that as we get into the summer the quality of collectables improves as dealers get out to house clearances and auctions. Today I was lucky enough to pick up something neither myself nor any of the militaria dealers had ever seen before…
British Army Assault Gasmask
Typically when collecting militaria you are buying items that are seventy years old and been well used, it is unusual to find items in mint condition; its even more unusual to find them in the boxes they came from their manufacturers in, but this gas mask is one such item:
In all my years of collecting I have never seen a gas mask as original as this one. Inside we have the bag, mask, filter and anti-dimming tin, unfortunately one of the eye pieces is cracked, but it doesn’t appear too noticeable.
The gas mask still has the cardboard cover over the mouth piece from the manufacturer:
The assault gasmask was introduced in time for the D-Day landings and was much lighter and more efficient than the previous type with the long hose and separate canister. These masks were issued routinely throughout the last years of the war and into the 60s when the potential use of CS gas, which the masks could not cope with, saw its withdrawal for replacement by the S6 respirator. This example is a post war one, as indicated by the screw thread on the mouth piece which was to allow a microphone to be screwed to the mask.
Shell Dressing Bag
Whilst commonly associated with 37 pattern webbing, the Shell Dressing Bag isn’t actually part of the 37 pattern set. Made of webbing with a canvas strap similar to gasmask bags of the period, this bag was used to carry shell dressings and basic first aid supplies in the field:
This example is dated 1942 and was manufactured by M&Co:
These two forks are both stamped with the WD arrow and dated 1939 and 1941:
I always try and have a root through boxes of cutlery in case there are any army forks lurking. The usual cry is ‘there’s no silver in there’…that’s fine because I’m not looking for silver! As they are not silver these spoons and forks can be picked up for pennies, these two cost me 25p each.