Aeronautical Headgear British
Price = n/a
RAF Mk IV Flying Goggles 22C/111
The Mk IV series of flying goggle, stores reference 22C/111, was designed specifically for use with the RAF B type flying helmet, with the large elasticated loop straps designed to encircle the bulbous zipped receiver housings. First introduced by the Air Ministry in June 1940, the concept behind the design was sound but the manufacture of them proved a nightmare! Our set are the incredibly scarce original variant and features a complicated double panel laminated glass hinged lens arrangement, with the outer lenses frame swivelling outwards. The design was further compromised as the sun filter 'flip shield' with an external coiled spring arrangement was found to be incredibly weak and invariably broke off in service.
The Mk IV were also found to be heavy in use, so with all these problems the Air Ministry specified the Mk IV A of a similar deign but without the hinged windows but made of a plastic material. These however proved to be hardly any lighter and very few were made and were in turn replaced by the final variant the Mk IVB, which is the pattern that most often surfaces today. These redressed many of the issues described, were more robust, eliminated the opening window frames and had a stronger flip shield arrangements. Weight remained an issue, although the introduction of riveted guide plates to locate the goggles on the B helmet helmet, helped to an extent. The 1VB was issued in some quantity and remains the most common of the variants that turn up today.
Our example is a rare early survivor and is pretty much in text book condition. The black painted frame is excellent with just a little wear around the flip shield mount; the delicate flip shield, stores reference 22C/113 'Screens anti -glare', as previously described, is surprisingly undamaged. The lenses are above the average with just minor fogging. The leather nose cover and chamois backing are excellent, but the black rubber face pads are slightly distorted and hardened, as always seems to be the case, but this does not detract from a display point of view. The elastic loops and sprung cloth covered straps are in top condition, as is the leather back strap with good clear embossing with nice firm Kings Crown, A.M. Mk IV 22C/111 and makers details Levers Optical Co Ltd.
Not much more than we can add other than Mk IV's in any condition hardly ever appear on the market now and to find a pair in top condition as these is an exceptional opportunity that we are unlikely to be able to repeat anytime soon.