E-TYPE, FIRST PATTERN
Type E, first pattern, unwired tropical flying helmet
Stores Ref: No. 22C/744-747
The Type E helmet, primarily intended for aircrew serving in Transport Command and Coastal Command, was introduced in 1943 and used unlined cotton “Airtex” material with the same construction pattern like the Type C. In tropical areas with hot climate this comfortable lightweight helmet proved immediately very popular. Fittings were almost identical to those used in the first pattern Type D, i.e. unwired with front goggle straps, “Bennet” buckle chin strap and press studs of both “sexes” to attach microphone carriers and all oxygen masks of the types D, E, E*, and G.
Lightweight flying goggles,
commonly referred to as the Mk II
Stores Ref. No. 22C/44
The “Mk II”, introduced in 1928, could not deny their heritage from WWI goggle types. Same style metal frames which contained flat laminated Triplex safety glass lenses and fur trimmed spring-loaded brown silk eye cups were now combined with a newly designed leather covered sprung steel headband. The frames came either in anodized black painted brass or light grey painted alloy.
Wearing comfort and undestorted vision compensated for the restricted field of view and the goggles proved extremely popular for many years, especially with aircrew serving in tropical areas. Officially replaced around 1935 by the Mk III / MK IIIa, these goggles continued to be used well into WWII.
Microphone carrier mask (replica)
Stamped with Stores Ref. 10A/7831
In 1937 the Air Ministry had rejected the use of throat microphones in favour of microphones integrated into oxygen masks. Laryngophones were considered dangerous and impractical.
This is in strong contrast to Luftwaffe or US Army Air Forces policy who favoured laryngophones in order to facilitate oxygen mask design.
Not all the missions required suplemental oxygen supply for aircrew, though. During daytime low level patrols below 10'000 feet crews often simply used their oxygen masks minus breathing tubes as « microphone carriers ».
Prior 1942 there were specific microphone carrier designs to be used mainly by maritime patrol and reconnaissance crews. Many modified « frontline designs » were possibly used, too.
This specimen is roughly based on the pattern used with the Type D oxygen mask with added grommet holes for airation. Using khaki cotton twill it contains a similar chamois horse-shoe pad for fit and comfort while giving a more streamlined shape. Two female snap fasteners on both sides allowed the mask to be fitted to adequately equipped flying helmets of the Type B, early Type D and early Type E. This arrangement replaced the former method of using buckles and straps.
A Type 28 carbon microphone (Stores Ref. No. 10A/12572) is fitted to the mask simply by twisting it into the front opening.