A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Friday, 1 July 2016

A Useful Bit of Nostalgia


A couple of weeks ago I bought this on eBay. It was just a whimsical rush of blood to the nostalgia gland, I guess, but I used to have one of these when I was a lad.

I hasten to add that the item was already pretty old when I had it. A great many of my boyhood outings to football matches and motor races, cycling trips and journeys to Preston with Cousin Dave to spot Ribble buses involved one of these - ideal for carrying a plastic mac, a package of pilchard sandwiches (in red, gingham greaseproof paper, borrowed from a sliced loaf), and a map in the front pocket.

It is, of course, a Mark VII gas-mask bag, dating from 1942, as issued to civilians (and the Home Guard, I think). The ones for sale on eBay are original, but new (if that makes sense), stored since the war, just in case. Oh no - it didn't come with a gas-mask - that would be silly.


If it's a fake, please don't bother to tell me - I'm quite happy with it. Apart from a pleasing nostalgia value and a kind of lowbrow utilitarian appeal, it will be a useful conversation piece if we now get endless re-runs of Dad's Army on British TV.

Anyway - there you go - it doesn't take a lot to make me happy. I'll have to see if I can get pilchards online.


Completely Separate Topic

I was intrigued by this picture from the 1920s of a social day out for a local branch of the Klu Klux Klan. It may be a fake - I have no idea, but it is an image which will stay with me for a while...


11 comments:

  1. Is it a rotary smurf discharger?

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  2. You could keep your Klan gear in the bag when you're out and about? I hope the photo is a fake!

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    1. Hi Ian - I hope this is obvious, but I also got an email from Martin S, asking where there was a local KKK branch in East Lothian. In case there is any confusion, I meant local to somewhere or other, not to here. I lost the original note I got with the picture, but I think this is supposed to be in Missouri in 1926 or so. In answer to your question, yes, the bag's very useful for my Klan gear.

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  3. Oh my ! that gas mask case takes me back ! - had one as my 'bait' bag (lunch) when I started work in 1970 , Tony

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    1. It's great isn't it? My dad also had an ex-Home Guard knapsack(?) he used to use for his camera kit, and that was still around in my mother's house just a few years ago. It was thrown out, apparently, because the straps eventually fell apart. I wonder if they've got any of those on eBay? - must have a look.

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    2. ...yes - they do! It seems that what my dad had was a Model 37 WW2 army "small pack" - you can get identical 1950s surplus stock on eBay, in khaki or grey, £12.95. Hmmm.

      [You don't think this is getting a bit weird, do you?]

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  4. I had one too! It was faded to a light green/grey as I recall and was given to me by my grandmother along with my grandfather's steel helmet he wore in the European theatre. I still have the tin helmet but the bag is long gone.

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    1. The tin helmet is especially good - you must cherish that. I'm starting to think seriously about the Small Pack, to go with my gas-mask bag. If one is going to look like a prat, I believe you should make a job of it.

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  5. The Mark VII gas mask bag was good enough for Indiana Jones (aka Mr Harrison Ford), so I think you'll cut a rather dashing figure on your next outing M. Foy.

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    1. Thank you - I am encouraged. I received an email asking me what pilchard sandwiches were like, and I had a think about it. I think they were rubbish, in fact, but it was a tradition. These days I might pack some nice cheese and tomato rolls (Lancashire cheese, maybe) and a small pork pie. These days I'd take along a drink, too, though in those days I never seemed to bother. Maybe that is why I had a face like a raisin.

      Come to think of it, have you ever seen Indiana Jones unpack his sandwiches, or a flask of tea? Hmmm.

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