It is often said that war brings the best out of research and development. This was certainly true of WW1 when it came to the development of the first tanks and improved artillery. But, what it also developed was the helmet. Pre-WW1 most soldiers went into combat with a hat and only officers would have a helmet. However, with WW1 turning into a war of attrition and the trench warfare that came with it, both sides began developing helmets. So here is a selection of WW1 allied headgear for sale across the web.
1917 Russian Sohlberg Helmet
Early on during WW1 the Russian army adopted the Adrian helmet used by the French army as their main helmet. However, the Tzar wanted a new Russian design, so in came the 1917 Sohlberg helmet. The idea was for it to become the standard Russian helmet. This example is in overall very good condition; it has its original paint still intact and canvas lining is in great shape for an item over 100 years old.
Available today from CS Militaria for£695.
Royal Flying Corps WW1 Aviator’s Crash Helmet
Another huge development into WW1 was the use of warplanes. This brought about huge changes and a whole new market for privately purchased items. Here, Military Antiques have a fantastic private-purchase WW1 RFC gunner’s helmet for sale. Similar examples to this can be found in the RAF museum at Hendon and in the Imperial War Museum in London. A seriously rare item.
The original brown finish is still intact along with the elasticated chinstrap. The quilted silk lining is equally in good condition. A small size at 58cm, which is marked on the inside, but this is not surprising given the size of most RFC airmen.
Available from Military Antiques in the UK for £1,285.
British MK1 Raw Edge Brodie Helmet
Next we have a 1st pattern rimless British army Brodie helmet. The rimless variation is heavily sought after by collectors as one of the rarer variations, but this example is yet more interesting. It has a faint remnant of a 2nd US infantry division divisional sign on the front of it. Most likely this means it was first issued to the US troops who landed into France before they were later reissued with the US M1917 helmet. In overall good condition, this helmet is size-marked 7 and has the soldier’s name written inside, making it a historically interesting piece.
Available from Battleflag Militaria for £315.
Camouflaged WW1 British Army Brodie Helmet
After the Mk1 rimless Brodie we just discussed, came the rimmed version of the Mk1 helmet. This was the original predecessor to the current British Mk7 helmet. This example here is the 2nd pattern of the Mark 1, which was made from a non-magnetic, hardened manganese with a magnetic steel rim. What’s most interesting about this particular example is the hand-applied camouflage in tan and apple green paint.
The liner and chinstrap are complete and in overall good shape, especially for a 100 years+ old helmet. Under the edge of the rim you can make out a faint maker’s mark.
Available from The Collector’s Guild in the USA for $399.
M15 French Adrian Helmet (Engineers) with Plaque
Now a look at a French WW1 engineer’s helmet. This example is in overall good shape and has a few interesting features. Firstly, the brass plate on the front. This is known as a veteran’s plate and was added by soldiers to their helmet at the end of WW1 to show that they had served in the Great War. Secondly, the paintwork. The original factory finish is known as horizon blue and that is the blue colour you can see through the brown paint. The brown paint is period but interesting, as it’s not a common colour to see an Adrian helmet in. The badge on the front is correct for the French army engineers with the RF on the chest plate, meaning Republique Francais.
Available from Relic Militaria in the UK for £395.
WW1 US Army Visored Helmet
Another very rare helmet here from Regimentals in the UK. This US army No.8 Helmet is one of the most difficult US helmets to find, in any condition. Luckily the example we have here is in overall good shape. The helmet retains a reasonable amount of its cast finish and the visor on front is in particularly nice condition. Even the metal liner band is intact although part of the leather has rotted away internally. This has left the felt exposed but if handled with care, it shouldn’t be an issue.
Available from Regimentals in the uk for sale at £4,250.
KIA British 15th Hussars Officer’s Acier Trempe French Helmet
Finally, we look at an item with real history. During WW1, as a lot of officers were not issued their own helmets, some opted to purchase their own. One popular choice was the French-manufactured Acier Trempe (tempered steel) helmet. In general these are rare helmets anyway; however, this example has even more to it. Someone has gone to the trouble of doing a lot of research on this helmet. Marked on the front with XV K.H then 15 KH under the front peak and some initials on the inside, the research began.
Through the research it was discovered that this helmet had belonged to a Second Lieutenant L.N Kindersley, who was sadly killed in action at Bourdon Wood, Northern France on the November the 25th in 1917. He had joined the 15th Hussars on May the 12th in 1915. This kind of history with any item really attaches a perspective and historical importance to owning an item. Along with the sale of this item, you will receive all of the paperwork and research into Second Lieutenant Kindersley.
Available from CS Militaria in the UK for £1,395.
Another Listing from Us: WW2 Allied Home Front items
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