WW1 British “Small Box Respirator

WW1 British “Small Box Respirator" Gas Mask

Code: 56075


A very good example of the rare WW1 British "Small Box Respirator” Gas Mask.

First introduced in late 1916 to provide reliable protection against chlorine and phosgene gas, it replaced the less effective PH “Gas Helmet” to become a classic part of the silhouette of the allied soldier for the second half of WW1.

The Small Box Respirator Gas Mask was a huge leap forward in gas protection at the time, far outstripping in effectiveness any other gas protection in existence on either side of the conflict. It was issued to all British and Commonwealth troops, as well as to other Armies such as the Americans and Italians.

This example is complete and in very good condition for the type, only suffering a few of the standard ravages of time to the very susceptible rubber elements, this being pretty much always encountered on any surviving examples of these fragile Gas Masks. As is usually the case the invariably brittle small rubber valve at the corner join of the mask to the hose has disintegrated whilst the rubberised face mask itself has gone stiff.  It however a better than average example and displays very well. Most unusually the important hose though slightly twisted is absolutely undamaged, and the elasticated straps to the mask remain complete. Even more unusual the fragile filter box is not rusted through or even pierced in any way. This is an exceptional occurrence as most commonly on these the internal chemicals to the filter degrade over time rusting it to oblivion. 

The Bag  is no less pleasing. In the first instance it is nicely British Government “broad arrow” marked and dated 1917. Then the webbing shoulder strap is once more complete and undamaged, as is the all important leather tab to the side which holds the Bag in the “alert” position. This is admirably still very pliable. Still present also is the often missing length of string which keeps the Bag firmly held to the chest when at the “alert”.  To the exterior the Bag bears the name of the original owner and his service number.

A very good example of a classic WW1 item.