WWI tank crew mask


aaaMystrySolvd-1070Q:  Hello Bob, although this mask isn’t mine, my friend would like to know what it is and where it originated. He got it at an auction in London for $200. It seems to be leather with chain-mail. If anyone knows the answer, it’s you! Thanks, Aiden, 1070

A:  This interesting piece of facial armor could come from anywhere in the UK, US or Europe. It is a true mask in that it is worn for a specific purpose. People make or buy these masks for medieval reenactment and possibly some steampunk events. In case you don’t know about these modern-day activities, please Google LARP (Live Action Role Playing), SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), and Steampunk.  I wrote chapters on both of these mask categories in my book, Masks of the WorldA-


  • Bob Ibold

    I was searching the internet and found a similar mask on Pinterest. They said it was a WWI protective face mask. Of course, Pinterest is not a reliable source, but I thought it was worth considering.

  • Bob Ibold

    This is a Tank Operators mask from WWI of iron, leather and chain mail.
    A man in the tank wearing a helmet would need to stick his head out at some point. The mask made of Sheffield hardened iron covered with leather and having a mouth veil of chain mail that would protect from shrapnel. The best feature was the eye cover made up of slits in the metal set at an angle. This allowed remarkable safe visibility through the slits.
    I found this on the Internet.

  • Terry Roberts

    I understand that they were worn inside the tank (the rhomboidal British ones) to protect against metal shards and molten splash thrown off by the impact of shells and bullets on the outside.

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