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Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

Article about: Even though I've sold off the majority of collection and still trying to sell the rest, I can't quite seem to kick the habit Recently, I've managed to get some very rare pieces indeed.... Fi

  1. #1

    Default Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    Even though I've sold off the majority of collection and still trying to sell the rest, I can't quite seem to kick the habit

    Recently, I've managed to get some very rare pieces indeed....


    First of all, the Service Respirator No.8 (SR8)

    Very, very little is know about this mask (its the 3rd example I've ever seen) so naturally theres nothing published on it. This mask was probably developed from the SR6 design in order to keep up with the technogical advances in military equipment. For example the eyepieces for using optical equipment such as NVG, telescopic sights etc and the a Primary/Seconary Speech Module that is compatable with communications equipment without the need for an adaptor which was the case with the SR6. The inflatable face seal of the SR6 was dropped on the SR8 design which shares a similar face seal to the later S10. However, although this mask was a finalised design it never made it into production, and instead the SR6 was used until the introduction of the S10. Its quite clear to see how this mask was influenced by the SR6 and how it in in turn influenced the S10.

    Heres a photo of the SR8:

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    PSM/SSM that allows the Clansman Respirator Mic to be fitted without modification:

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    Eyepiece:

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    A photograph showing rough evolution of British land forces gas mask design including the SR8:

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    Late prototype Service Respirator No.6 (SR6)

    For the most part, this mask is very similar in appearance to the finalised design however there are obviously some differences. Like the SR8, there is nothing published about this mask, in fact its the only example I know of. The main, and largest difference in my opinion is the lack of an inflated face seal which was a fairly unique characteristic of the SR6. Instead the face seal is padded out of a piece of foam. The other difference is in both the appearance and the internal layout of the voice diaphragm and exhale valve assembly, which I won't bore you with by going into the details The external differences can be seen in the photographs below.

    Here's a photo of the front of the mask:

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    The foam filled face seal:

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    Photo of the Exhale/Voice Diapragm assembly on the inside of the mask:

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    Photo of the Exhale/Voice Diapragm assembly on the exterior of the mask:

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    Pre AR5 Aircrew Gas Mask

    This is a rather unusual piece and very different compared to the previous to masks I've shown.... However, like them there is as far as I know nothing published on it so what I'm writing is 100% based on my own assumptions. I believe that this mask was intended for use by helicopter crews as it has certain pilots oxygen mask characteristics to it such as the communications fitting, hose and the clamp on the end and it certainly doesn't look like something made for use in planes as it is a rather bulky design that might not be practical in small cockpits..... I'm not too sure if it was a finalised design that never went into production, or if it was a mask that was made in very small numbers. It appears to have been influenced by full face visor designs such as the Siebe Gorman Vista Vision Gas Mask that was used in industrial applications, it also has a head harness identical to the one on the SR6 and like the prototype shown above, this mask also has a foam face seal. If anyone has any information/ideas about this one or the others I'm all ears


    Front of the mask:

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    Inside the facepiece:

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    Comms:

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    40mm NATO filter mount and clamp:

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    A rather unusual photograph of apparently very early SAS CRW equipment including this mask:

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    I've taken a lot of additional detailed photographs of these masks, so if anyone would like me to upload them too, don't hesitate to ask

    Thanks

    Danny
    Last edited by GasMasksUK; 01-30-2012 at 02:57 AM.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    what great finds danny and thanks for sharing the sr8's lenses look to give very restricted field of view the design reminds me of the postwar east german design im sorry to hear that youve sold off most of your collection i do hope it was duplicate masks that were sold kind regards james

  4. #3

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    I sold of the majority of my masks in 2010 because certain things cropped up in my life which required quite a lot of money I've now decided that I'm going to only focus on British Military gas mask developement instead of collecting every gas mask that takes my fancy I'm planning to re-create the black and white photo showing the SR8 above, just need to finish off making a replica of a PH Helmet....

    Thanks

    Danny

  5. #4

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    Exciting news, well for me at least... and those interested in the developement of Post War British gas masks. A couple of weeks ago I managed to buy a variation of the SR6 Respirator with a hose from the bottom of the facepiece leading to the filter instead of the usual side mounted filter. Its at home at the moment so I'll have to wait until easter to take photographs of it. Just thought I'd update this thread and let those that are interested know that theres more to come

    Thanks

    Danny

  6. #5

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    Well, I did say I would be back with some more interesting additions so here I am

    The first of the masks I'm going to show isn't a prototype as such, It's basically a special purpose variation of the Light Anti Gas Respirator. It was intended to give protection against a very wide range of chemical and biological agents, something which the standard filter was incapable of doing. This particular example came with a small piece of paperwork detailing what it can provide protection against, the most interesting thing about the paperwork is that it designates the filter as a "Porton Type" which suggests that it may have seen use at the well known, and fairly infamous Porton Down Research and Development Facility.

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    Mask, hose and "Porton" filter

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    Method of attaching the hose to the filter

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    Bottom of the filter

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    Straps allowing the filter to be carried on the back

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    Hose

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    The carrier, paperwork, cleaning cloth and label that was attached to the filter

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    Markings on hose

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    Markings on filter


    The next mask, as mentioned in post #4 is certainly one of the more interesting and unique pieces that has made its way into my collection recently. Like the masks shown at the start of this thread, its more of a mystery than anything else. The most interesting thing about this mask is that it pre-dates the SR6 that went onto become standard issue by quite a few years so its a possibility that it is a prototype and not a special purpose version of the SR6. Interestingly the mask has the same dates (1953) on it as a Light Anti Gas Respirator in my collection does. If anyone has any ideas or information, it would be very much appreciated as I'm currently resurrecting my website and using it to show these extremely rare and seldom seen respirators.

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    The mask and filter

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    Head Harness, showing the date 2/53

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    Marking on the side of the facepiece, the other side has an N molded into the rubber, meaning normal (size)

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    where the hose attaches to the mask

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    facepiece

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    how the filter is attached to the hose

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    bottom of filter

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    retaining ring holding the filter to the mask

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    filter and the part which attaches it to the hose

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    filter fitted inside the carrier

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    Carrier

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    how the carrier would be closed when the mask is being worn


    Thanks

    Danny

  7. #6

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    You have some very interesting masks, stuff I never even knew existed! Do you put anything on the rubber to preserve it?
    Cheers
    Hangarman

  8. #7

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    just superb danny ,your versions of the british gas mask are very interesting also i cant believe the mid 50's dated sr6 either ,fascinating , ive learned something new myself ,keep up the great work in sourcing these unusual items of post war britons history

  9. #8

    Default Re: Some rare pieces from Post WW2 British Gas Mask Developement

    Thanks for the kind comments guys Hangarman, I store the masks in conditions that aren't too hot, nor too cold and direct out of sunlight. Its far better to do nothing than take a risk with some sort of preservative that could have a long term side effect.

    Thanks

    Danny

  10. #9

    Default

    Its been a while since I've posted anything on this thread, however a few months ago I managed to get a small number of these rather unusual Light Anti Gas Respirator Variants. The main unique feature about these is that they are fitted with adaptors which are held in place with glue, meaning that 40mm (NATO STANDARD) filters can be fitted instead of the original 60mm filters. All of the masks I bought as part of the lot were manufactured by Avon, and the filters were all manufactured by the Leyland and Birmingham Rubber Company (L&BR Co) which I thought was a bit unusual. Another interesting feature is that each mask has a serial number engraved into the exhale valve/speech diaphragm assembly which corresponds with a number stamped onto the carrier, which is something I've never seen before. I'm unsure what these respirators were intended for, it could be that they were put together for trials using the new standardised NATO filter size, or they may have simply been intended for a whole other application.

    Shown below are two slightly different examples, the only difference being in the colour and construction of the eyepiece retaining rings.

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    Since posting the first part of this thread, I've managed to get some more information with regards to the masks that I was previously unsure of. The aircrew respirator, officially named as the AR3 was apparently a standard issue respirator, but only seen very limited use. The SR6 Prototype surprisingly came after the design that made it into production. This prototype was actually an attempt to simplify the design and try out a new speech diaphragm design.

    Thanks

    Danny

  11. #10

    Default

    fascinating stuff danny ,your one lucky guy to procure these historic gems ,keep up the great work

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