The Mark V General Service Respirator was a Second World War-era gas mask issued to the British Armed Forces and to other armies in the Commonwealth.

Overview Edit

The Mk V respirator, at its most basic level, was essentially another iteration of the Mk IV. First appearing around 1940, the design is not too much changed from the earlier Mk IV respirators - with the notable exception that the facepiece lacks the stockinette. The stockinette was removed for two main reasons. Firstly, it made the Mk V cheaper to produce in a war economy. Secondly, the small fibres of the stockinette were thought to be capable of trapping deposits of deployed chemical weapons, thus stockinette-covered masks presented a potential decontamination issue. Early Mk V respirators still had stockinette on the hoses but by 1941 this had also been removed, leaving the mask in just plain rubber. The microphone port became standard unlike on the Mk IV.

Around the time the Mk V was adopted. Another Variation of the mask was introduced. This Mask was the Mk Va GSR. It incorporated a longer hose about 3 times longer than the regular hose used with the Mk IV and Mk V masks. The reason the mask had a longer hose was than before was because some of the branches of the British military like the RAF found out that the way the mask was chest carried was too restrictive. So they adopted this Mask instead. The Mk Va was essentially a stop-gap replacement for the Mk IVa Which was of the same design, The only difference being that the Mk IVa used the Mk.IV face piece instead.


An early MK.Va with MK.VI carrier and stockinette hose


Type E Mk IVEdit

The Type E container was basically a brown-tan painted oval tin with an outlet tube at the top, with two inlet vents cut into one side close to the bottom of the container. Each inlet valve led directly into one diaphragm, containing two asbestos fibre pads in each one. The air then travelled through these and into a single diaphragm through a layer of charcoal granules and then through the last single diaphragm and finally to the breather tube. The container was attached to the breather tube with wire tied by a machine in the early stages. In 1938, the design was improved by replacing the wire with a clip that had a screw-fixed ring, which made replacement of the container easier in the field. On the base of the container was stamped the manufacturer, date of manufacture and also ‘No.4A’, which referred to the metal container style rather than the contents within it. 

Type E Mk VEdit

In early 1940 Mk V made the EA extension filter finally unnecessary as it contained the plus filtration built in against arsine. The filter is the same oval tin with an outlet tube at the top and inlet vents cut into one side close to the bottom of the container but it is painted grey.

Type E Mk VIEdit

Mostly identical to the Type E IV filter whit only change in the color (now it is brick red) and the inlet valve is a bit more resistant. It remained the main filter till the Respirator, Anti-Gas, Light series.


Mk VI Haversack Edit

The MK.VI haversack was, for the most part, an updated version of the MK.V haversack. The MK.VI had incorporated a rear flap that when opened two pockets were exposed. The left pocket contained the Anti Gas Ointment and the right pocket contained the Anti Gas Eye Shields. 

Mk VIa Haversack Edit

The MK.VIa haversack was essentially a regular MK.VI haversack but Incorporated an attachable waist strap that was a more comfortable and had a more ergonomic fit compared to the regular waist cord that normally issued with the carrier.

Mk VII HaversackEdit

The MK.VII haversack was the Last one Designed for the GSR Platform. It incorporated five pockets contained in one flap. The rear left pocket contained the Anti Gas Eye Shields, The rear midle pocket contained the Anti Dimming Outfit, And The rear right pocket contained the Anti Gas Ointment. Lastly, the two front pockets were used to store the mask and filter.

Accessories Edit

Anti-Dimming OutfitsEdit

The Mk III, Mk IV and Mk V Anti-Dimming Outfits came in small round tins whit unscrewable top and bottom, one side contained the cloth while the other the anti-dimming compound (Turkey Red Oil).

The Mk VI was a flat round tin containing a cloth pre-soaked with anti-dimming compounds.

Anti-Gas OintmentsEdit

Main article: British Anti-Gas Ointments

Ointment for prevent or treat blister agent injuries on the skin.

Anti-Gas EyeshieldsEdit

Simple stransparent plastic visor with rubberised canvas straps. It was meant to be worn all time alongside gas detecting paper. Of course, nobody wore it all time but the Brittish army expected a First World War type war with common gas attacks. However, it was used during in North African against the sand. One pack was issued to each man, one pack contains 3 clear and 3 tinted eyeshields. There were 3 variants. The Mk I, Mk II and Mk III. The difference is minor. The Mk I came in a basic brown cardboard packet with the designation of the device printed on. The Mk II packet was changed to include basic decontamination instructions and was printed left to right on the front. The Mk III was printed in the vertical orientation.

Anti-Gas suitsEdit

External informationEdit

Foreign use Edit Edit

Portugal Edit

Portugal imported masks for the military, Civil Defence and firefighters.

Netherlands Edit

The Dutch army in exile used this mask as Model I or AG nr. 5 (Dutch: "Algemeen Gebruik nr. 5" - General Service No.5).


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