Stores reference 22c/1039. By British American Optical. Nickel plated wire frames with a plastic moulded rim insert to secure the yellow tinted Polaroid ovoid glass lenses. The side-arms have wrap-around 'comfort-cable' ear-pieces. These glasses were issued with a pair of green tinted cellulose acetate side shields that could be readily fitted to the side-arms if desired. They also came with black plastic side-arm covers for additional comfort but these have not been fitted. Supplied in a rexine covered metal case with velvet lining. Spectacles, Mk.X were intended for use by aircrew personnel when flying over water surfaces and under other severe reflected glare conditions. They provided an excellent filter for use in submarine spotting and coastal reconnaisance. They superceded the MK.VI, having a wider field of vision and being more comfortable to wear. Two variants of these spectacles exist, one fitted with a brow bar and this type without.
The frame is in very good condition and marked 'BAO' (British American Optical). There is minor verdigris where the nose-rests are attached. The lenses are very good bar minor delamination marking at the edges. The side-arms and acetate shields are in very good order but there is quite a lot of vertical 'play' / movement in the left hinge. One of the side-arm sleeves remains, one is absent. The case is in good solid condition although grubby, particularly inside at the edges where the lining is coming adrift. There are War Department broad arrow marks and stores reference numbers on the lid of the case and side-arms. This pair was originally purchased in the 1980s at Yeovilton Aerojumble from Tom Bennett DFM who said they were worn on sorties against the German battleship 'Tirpitz'. He was born on 27th January 1919 in Poplar, London, and educated at Raine's Foundation School. He joined up in 1940 and trained initially as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner before becoming a Navigator. He first flew with 49 Squadron on Lancasters but joined 617 'Dam Buster' Squadron in 1944. With his pilot Gerry Fawke they flew Mosquitoes, perfecting low-level target marking in advance of the D-day landings, against V-weapons sites in the Pas de Calais and E & U-boat pens on the French Atlantic coast. After 26 Ops he converted to Lancasters and on 15th September 1944 undertook a sortie against the battleship, 'Tirpitz'. Conditions over the target prevented success so another attempt was made the following month, also thwarted due to cloud. After completing his tour, Bennett was appointed Station Navigation Officer at Woodhall Spa. A very nice pair of these extremely rare spectacles that were the last to be issued during the war. This is only the fourth pair of this pattern we've ever had. Stock code G27183-37.