Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

sunglasses for soldiers


PhilB

Recommended Posts

Sunglasses seem to be a "must have" item for US soldiers, especially in hot, sunny countries. (I`m told that the Brits prefer not to use them when dealing with civilians in the interests of human contact). They would have been useful to our troops in Gallipoli, Palestine etc but presumably didn`t exist then and I don`t recall ever seeing Desert Rats wearing them. When did they come into use and have they ever been issue items to soldiers? Phil B

post-2329-1117103424.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They exhisted + were used in WW1 i recaal 1 or 2 pics of it...

But it was not so frequent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where have you seen them in use in WW1, bk? I would have expected to see T.E.Lawrence in them if anybody was?

What are Army issue sunglasses like these days, Heritage?

Unusual shot of a colonel in AC2 dress!

post-2329-1117108328.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i am 100% sure it was private purchas >> not common. But I am sure i saw pics with soldiers wearing it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See attached photo, Vickers crew in Mesopotamia, 3 men, 3 pairs sun glasses/goggles, all the same pattern, suggests issue to me.

Mike

post-97-1117118101.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was not private purchase.

Indian Clothing/ Field Service regs specify sunglasses as issue on campaign and on the march 'as required', at least as early as 1907.

Together with neck curtains and spine pads.

Winter xtras included mittens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should we differentiate between goggles and sunglasses? The latter are purely for protection against sunlight while the former are to protect also against sand, wind and exigencies of action. Phil B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should we differentiate between goggles and sunglasses? The latter are purely for protection against sunlight while the former are to protect also against sand, wind  and exigencies of action. Phil B

to me goggles are not the same. Goggles were issued, sunglases, i doubt it serious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'sun spectacles' 1907 India Field Service Manual.

I rest my case!

Sounds convincing, LB. Any evidence of their use outside of India? Or a photo perchance? Phil B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sunglasses were issued originally for the Khartoum Relief Expedition in the 1880s. They may have also been used prior to that on the N.W.Frontier.

Not British, but Napoleon's army which invaded Russia in 1812 also made crude sunglasses out of windows and roofing lead when they advanced on Moscow in the height of the summer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LB1418 is absolutely correct that sunglasses were issue items.

In WWI there were several models. In France issue of two types were common.

Spectacles tinted No. 2 (Feinzal) and No. 3 (Smoke).

In France they were issued to AA sections for use of Layers and Heightfinder observers. These were also eventually issued to Infantry Battalion signallers on the scale of 2 pairs No.2 and 2 Pairs No.3.

No. 2's were used in "Comparitively dull" weather

No.3 were used in Bright weather.

Main purpose in France was the glare from the sky when scanning for aircraft.

There were other types issued in more severe climates.

Also tinted lenses were available for most mnodels of telescopes, goggles and binoculars.

I have almost no information on what the sun glasses actually looked like.

Joe Sweeney

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange that it seems to be about the only piece of "solid" kit that doesn`t seemed to have survived, not even in photos? Phil B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'sun spectacles' 1907 India Field Service Manual.

I rest my case!

I will believe you...

We are here to learn not to be stifheaded. I learned again.

I believed only goggles were issue. The opposite is proven.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LB1418 is absolutely correct that sunglasses were issue items.

In WWI there were several models. In France issue of two types were common.

Spectacles tinted No. 2  (Feinzal) and No. 3 (Smoke).

In France they were issued to AA sections for use of Layers and Heightfinder observers.  These were also eventually issued to Infantry Battalion signallers on the scale of 2 pairs No.2 and 2 Pairs No.3.

No. 2's were used in "Comparitively dull" weather

No.3 were used in Bright weather.

Main purpose in France was the glare from the sky when scanning for aircraft.

There were other types issued in more severe climates.

Also tinted lenses were available for most mnodels of telescopes, goggles and binoculars.

I have almost no information on what the sun glasses actually looked like.

Joe Sweeney

any pics of how they look like?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In all of my huge collection of 2 RWF photos overseas Crete Egypt India Burma Malta 1897 to 1914, not a single shot of anyone wearing sun spectacles! Not even at leisure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tinted eyewear issued to infantry in Palestine and elsewhere.

post-6040-1117200116.jpg

post-6040-1117200130.jpg

post-6040-1117200148.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all about a month ago there were a pair of tinted sun glasses for sale on Ebay uk, that had been used by a british solider in Mesopotamia.

I thought I grabbed a image of them but cant seen to find it on my computer now, made with Metal frames they had square lenses and had glass blinds on the arms, nothing like any ww2 sun glasses.

ill keep looking and see where I put the Image wish I had bid on them now.

Regards Jonathan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neat! I'd wondered about this myself and never thought to bring it up on the forum. Thanks guys!

all the best,

Dan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This shows a Sergeant in the 19th London Regiment wearing what looks like a pair of sunglasses? Perhaps he has an injury to his eyes?

post-6-1117285597.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice one, Paul. What makes you think he might have eye trouble? I wonder if gas casualties might have had them issued? Perhaps a medical history might reveal some? Phil B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm told that the Brits prefer not to use [sunglasses] when dealing with civilians in the interests of human contact.

There was a British Army TV advert a couple of years ago in which a soldier wearing sunglasses approached and began to negotiate with an armed black militiaman, who became increasingly anxious and hostile until the soldier removed his glasses. I absolutely agree, it is difficult to communicate normally with someone wearing sunglasses, that important eye-to-eye contact is missing. Mirror glasses are even worse.

Gary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I can gather on google, the US forces have to buy their own sunglasses (which I find surprising). The following is a guide for recruits to the US Army:-

Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

Soldiers may wear conservative civilian prescription eyeglasses with all uniforms. Conservative prescription and nonprescription sunglasses are authorized for wear when in a garrison environment, except when in formation and while indoors. Individuals who are required by medical authority to wear sunglasses for medical reasons other than refractive error may wear them, except when health or safety considerations apply. Soldiers may not wear sunglasses in the field unless required by the commander for safety reasons in high-glare field environments.

Eyeglasses or sunglasses that are trendy, or have lenses or frames with initials, designs, or other adornments are not authorized for wear. Soldiers may not wear lenses with extreme or trendy colors, which include but are not limited to red, yellow, blue, purple, bright green, or orange. Lens colors must be traditional gray, brown, or dark green shades. Soldiers will not wear lenses or frames that are so large or so small that they detract from the appearance of the uniform. Soldiers will not attach chains, bands, or ribbons to eyeglasses. Eyeglass restraints are authorized only when required for safety purposes. Soldiers will not hang eyeglasses or eyeglass cases on the uniform, and may not let glasses hang from eyeglass restraints down the front of the uniform.

Phil B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...