Aeronautical Headgear British
Price = n/a
RFC Goggles Mask Flying Mk II
In the early days of aviation flight clothing was often adapted from civilian or motoring apparel and the practice continued into the early years of WWI. In the case of goggles many were private purchase and the mask model gave excellent face protection when used in conjunction with the RFC cowl helmet. By 1916/17 the WD started issuing an official flying goggles which were designated the Mk I, stores reference 22C/10 which were fitted with clear lenses and the Mk II, stores reference 22C/11, which were identical but featured tinted lenses. The same pattern was also sold by Triplex as a private purchase item post war and was used up until the 1930's. Clearly the issue ones are the most desirable, scarce and as a result the most expensive to purchase today. Here we have a more or less text book example of this pattern.
The leather face mask remains supple and retains most of its original brown finish. To the left side and printed in gold leaf is the googles designation 'Goggles mask Flying Mk II' so these are the tinted lens option; the lenses are without damage and are not suffering from fogging as is normally the case. The manufacturers details are also shown as being 'The Triplex Mask & Lens Co Ltd' followed by the all important RFC property mark of a War Department Broad Arrow and an 'A ', designating the Air Branch, so no doubts this is a genuine RFC issue set. Clearly with use the gold leaf stamping invariably wears off or fades so this set is exceptional and the designation remains crisp and clear despite the 100 + years since it came out of the factory. The metal lens frame is blackened; early examples had chrome or nickel frames and the black variant was introduced to prevent glare. The classic 'teardrop ' shape will be recognised in the next development of RAF goggles of the 1930's, also confusingly referred to as Mk II goggles, which remained in service until the Battle of Britain despite being technically superseded by the less favoured Mk III and IIIA patterns. A patent number 116597 is stamped into the frame. Inside the mask is lined with leather and fur trimming to around the lenses. The back strap is a simple adjustable elastic strap that shows some age wear and stretching but remains sound.
In summary a very fine and desirable RFC issue example that rarely turn up for sale in any condition so grab them whilst you can.