Tag Archives: NBC

Tuesday Finds

After a short break ‘Tuesday Finds’ is back with another couple of Cold War NBC items. I am not sure where all these have come from recently, but a lot of nice rare bits of British Nuclear Biological and Chemical warfare bits have been steadily dripping onto my local market- I’m not complaining as I am building up a very nice little sub collection!

Kit, Vapour Detector, L1A1

One of the first jobs in a contaminated area is to discover exactly what gas or nerve agent has been used. Once this is know the correct procedures for neutralising it can be put in place. Whilst soldiers carried simple paper detectors to affix to their NBC suits, something more sophisticated was also needed. This little kit is designed to allow trace amounts of gas or nerve agent to be collected an analysed. It is housed in a green canvas bag, with a shoulder strap and quick release fasteners on the front:

A5EF6561-7B19-4523-A0D1-C3AD1A4B629EOn the side is a cord and fastener to allow it to be secured to the side of the body so it doesn’t move and get in the way during use:

046AC623-A472-4356-B2FE-0DC918EE40D7Inside is a selection of plastic vials, a detector pump and instructions:

0749A1C7-26C3-4FA0-B794-4FAABAF32D83Gas would be collected using the gas pump:

1260459F-5A37-4593-823B-5281420E9C5FThe tubes are in different coloured plastic, with some containing detector tablets that would be added to the empty tubes with a gas sample to identify it. I have learnt that some of these tablets are toxic, so if you have a set please keep them away from children and pets!

3C0818EA-B3FA-47B0-AA7C-F7CA514530CBDistilled water was then added from a dropper bottle:

30D48634-0E78-4CD3-8FD0-BD9026A3055FBefore applying the liquid to detector paper for the test. Laminated instructions detail the contents of the kit and how to use it:


The date marks are very faint but I believe this set dates to 1968. Apart from an entry in the Imperial War Museums online catalogue, which lacks pictures and details, I can only find one other reference to the set online and no photos. This suggests it is either very unusual or just completely ignored by collectors. Either way it is a nice complete set and a good addition to my collection.

NBC Smock

This sealed packet contains an NBC Smock or ‘Suit Protective NBC No1 Mk3’:

29A452A2-DF36-4BAB-93B3-EE5F9126959CInside is a green smock with hood that was worn over a soldier’s uniform, with webbing on top. The labels on the front indicate that the fabric was manufactured in 1975:

E66EDF81-49B7-442C-B596-BF640D7DC12CAnd that the smock itself was manufactured in 1978:

6AEA72AD-ABF3-48B2-878A-346664EA362FThe dates were important in determining is a suit was still usable- they had a shelf life of four years from manufacture. Once made the suits were then vacuum and pressure sealed to reduce the space they took up and to ensure they stayed in pristine condition ready for use. The suit is in olive green and was pulled over the head. It was baggy to allow air trapped inside to move around. The suit is made of two layers, impregnated charcoal cloth on the inside and a modacrylic and nylon blend on the outside giving up to 24 hours protection.

NBC Haversack and Contents

Following on from last week’s NBC find, I have set out the contents of my mid-1980s NBC haversack, this is an almost complete set now and demonstrates one of my favourite bits of collecting. I like tracking down all the bits to fill the various bags and packs I have, In this case it wasn’t too hard as most of the contents are easy to find and fairly cheap…


1. Spare Respirator Canister- A spare canister for the respirator is carried inside the bag in a special pouch on the right hand side. These should be sealed to keep them clean and ready for use. This example is missing the foil sealing packet.

2. S6 Respirator- The first modern NBC respirator used by the British Army, the S6 was developed at Porton Down in the 1950s. It is made of soft black rubber, with a 40mm thread to allow a canister to be quickly screwed on. It was available in either a right or left handed version and has an elastic strap system to secure it firmly to the face.

3. Haversack Mk 2- The haversack is made of a nuclear and biological agent resistant Butyl Nylon with pockets for all the contents. The bag has a strap for securing it over a shoulder and a belt loop allowing it to be worn on the 58 pattern webbing.

4. Detector Paper No2 Mk1 Liquid One Colour- This is chemically treated paper designed to be attached to various points on the suit, it changes colour and spots appear on it if a chemical agent is present.

5. Kit Decontamination No1Mk1 DKP1- This is a cloth pad filled with fuller’s earth used to decontaminate uniform and equipment. The pad is blotted on the chemical agent, turned over and banged to release the powder and then rubbed to absorb the chemical agent- ‘blot, bang, rub’.

6. Survive to Fight NBC Manual- This is the 1983 edition of this simple picture handbook giving troops the basics they needed to know in how to survive and fight in an NBC environment.

7. Pralidoxomine Mesylate Tablets- See last week’s ‘Tuesday Finds’ Post for more details

8. Kit Decontamination No2Mk1 DKP2- This is a plastic puffer bottle filled with fuller’s earth. The bottle is designed to allow fuller’s earth to be blown onto areas that the DKP1 pad can’t reach.

9. Anti Dimmng Tin- This little tin, unchanged from the second world war, contains an agent that can be applied to the eye pieces of the mask to prevent them misting up with condensation from the soldier’s breath. One end has the agent, the other a cloth to apply it.

10. Gloves, Protective NBC Inner- These cotton gloves were designed to be worn under the outer rubber NBC gloves. They helped the wearer retain sensitivity under the heavy gloves .

11. Autoject Pen- See last week’s ‘Tuesday Finds’ Post for more details


Tuesday Finds

Today’s finds have a definite theme to them, chemical and biological warfare. Since the First World War this form of warfare has caused terror amongst civilians and soldiers alike- despite any real evidence that it is an effective weapon of war.

Defence Against Gas book 1935

This little book predates the Second World War by a few years, but shows that throughout the interwar period defence against Gas was taken seriously by the War Office. The title sheet within the book dates it to 1935 and the price of 1/- indicates that it was not considered restricted material so was available for anyone to purchase and read:
Included in the book are a number of official amendments and updates- indicating an ongoing effort to improve knowledge on the defence against different gases:
Most of the pamphlet is words, however there are a few diagrams, including this intriguing one of modifications to the respirator haversack to allow it to be used by cavalry:

Radiation Calculator

This frightening little mechanical computer dates from the cold war and was used to determine how long soldiers could be exposed to NBC material depending on the background radiation levels. The Calculator is stored in a green cover with the title ‘CALCULATOR RADIAC No 1’, the crows foot acceptance mark and the NATO stock number 6665-99-911-011 on the front:
Inside is a mechanical calculator consisting of three discs:
Instructions on its use are printed on the back, along with the previous owners details- a WO2 Wroe employed at the Defence NBC Centre:
The Defence NBC Centre is a facility at Winterbourne Gunner in Wiltshire and is responsible for training all personnel in CBRN matters
More details on the calculator can be found here: http://calculating.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/brl-radiac-calculators-1-and-2/ according to this site my calculator dates to the late 50s or early 60s.

Pralidoxomine Mesylate Tablets

This sealed pack of tablets dates from 1975 and contains four tubes of tablets used as an antidote to nerve agent in case of an attack. It was carried by troops in their respirator haversack and was only to be opened in times of need. The outer packet gives instructions on the use of the tablets and shows they were made by Glaxo- one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies of the period- now merged into the Glaxo Smith Klein Beecham conglomerate:


Autoject Pen

This autoject pen was also carried by troops as protection against nerve agents. It is a plastic pen identical in operation to those used by allergy sufferers. Inside it Atropine Sulphate:


Around the pen is a printed set of instructions and the whole thing is secured in a plastic packet to ensure it remains protected from any damage or contamination:

The pen is dated June 1976 and the contents worked against most phosphate based nerve agents. These pens are incredibly rare as most were handed back in and destroyed. I have never come across another one. Reassuringly the contents of both this pen and the tablets are more commonly used as medical treatments prescribed by doctors, however their use here illustrates a dark and frightening time in our recent past.