Author Archives: Steve Saunders

British Desert Goggles: Khartoum to Tunis

Figure 1. Left, Sudan (1882-98); Centre, Mesopotamian (1914-18); Right, North African (1940-43

Here the term ‘Desert Goggles’ is taken as those goggles which seem to have been issued to British Empire Troops specifically for use in desert campaigns in the late 19th to mid 20th Century. These goggles differ from the more ubiquitous; dust; general purpose; transport; tank; dispatch rider; mountain and snow goggles issued from mid-WWI by most nations, in being campaign specific. The three main goggle types discussed here were used in the Sudan (1882-98); the Mesopotamian (1914-18) and the North African (1940-43) campaigns respectively.

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An Interesting Goggle Type

‘FOUR WAY’, ‘FOLDING LENS’ or ‘SPLIT LENS’ TYPE

1900s Motoring and Early World War I Flying Goggles, World War II Japanese Type 5 Dust Goggles, WWII Russian Tank Goggles, Chinese Tank Goggles, RAF Split Lens &etc.

Figure 1, Pre WWI United States Air Corps pilot wearing folding lens goggles

Figure 1, Pre WWI United States Air Corps pilot wearing folding lens goggles

This goggle type has its roots in France, with most references relating them to ‘early French types’. The earliest advertisement sighted for this kind is dated 1904. They may have been a development of the 19th century ‘Railway Spectacle’ with protective glass side panels (Fig. 3). They could be folded into a very compact shape and allowed good peripheral vision. Continue reading

A Famous Goggle Type

Guards Officer 1886Goggles have been used at least since the American Civil War by Artillerymen and then Railway Engineers. Garnet Wolseley was an observer during that conflict and may have been instrumental in their introduction into the British Army for the Sudan campaigns of 1882-1885. However this article is concerned with “The Newbold Type” used by the British, Americans, Japanese and others. Continue reading