The British Brodie helmet, also known as the Mark I helmet, was a crucial piece of equipment worn by British soldiers during World War I. Designed by British engineer John Leopold Brodie in 1915, the helmet was initially called the “Shrapnel Helmet,” and was intended to provide better protection for troops against shrapnel and other projectiles. Prior to the introduction of the Brodie helmet, British soldiers wore the cloth caps that had been standard issue since the early 1900s. However, the nature of trench warfare on the Western Front, which included frequent artillery barrages, made it clear that more effective head protection was needed.
Brodie’s design consisted of a shallow, rounded steel helmet with a wide brim that offered protection to the wearer’s neck and ears. The helmet was made of two pieces that were pressed together, with the seam running from the front to the back of the helmet. The brim was reinforced with a rolled edge for added strength and to prevent rusting.
First regular use of a combat helmet
The Brodie helmet was first issued to British troops in October 1915, and quickly became popular due to its improved protection and ease of use. The helmet was also relatively light, weighing in at just over a pound, and could be worn comfortably for long periods of time. Over the course of the war, the design of the Brodie helmet underwent a number of modifications. For examples in 1916, a leather chinstrap was added for additional stability, and later a rim was added for extra strength.
The Brodie helmet was not only used by British troops, but was also adopted by other countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact, the helmet became so ubiquitous that it was often used as a symbol of the Allied forces during World War I.
Why is there so much interest in WW1 helmets?
There is a great deal of interest in collecting WW1 British helmets due to their historical significance and the important role they played in the war. The Brodie helmet, in particular, is seen as an iconic symbol of the war and has become a sought-after item among collectors. Additionally, the fact that the helmet underwent a number of modifications over the course of the war makes it an interesting area of study for historians and collectors alike. Different variations of the helmet can reveal important information about the development of military technology and the changing needs of soldiers on the battlefield. As such as collectors, we need to have them all!
So now we will explore a some of the WW1 British Army helmets we can find for sale at the moment from our partner sites across the world.
First Pattern Rimless Brodie
The First Pattern WW1 Rimless Brodie helmet was a variant of the iconic British Brodie helmet. Unlike later versions of the helmet, the rim of the First Pattern Brodie helmet was smooth and lacked the characteristic rolled edge that was added in subsequent designs.
Here we have an example of the rarer first patter currently for sale from Military Antiques in the UK for £380. This WWI British camo combat helmet is a rare find, with 80% of its rough texture mud green paint finish intact, complemented by a black block stripe camouflage pattern. It comes complete with its original cloth head cushion lining and half of the original chin strap.
Another Rimless WW1 Brodie with Cover
Here we have another rare helmet from WWI. A rimless 1st pattern design and it is worth noting that this is a non-magnetic example. The original second color has faded considerably, and there is evidence of rust on the interior dome, causing flooding through the cover. On one side, a lozenge form indicates where a unit insignia was applied, but the stitching has since rotted and fallen away from the cover.
When inverted, the sacking cup material still shows some original color, although it too has faded over time. The interior of the helmet includes a six-tongue oilskin 1st pattern liner, complete with an inner felt lining and the original chinstrap. However, the chinstrap requires careful handling due to its delicate condition.
Despite its wear and tear, this helmet serves as a significant piece of history and offers a glimpse into the conditions faced by soldiers during WWI. Its rarity and unique design make it a valuable addition to any collection of military artifacts.
This fantastic rare helmet is available from Regimentals in the UK for £2150.
A relic of the battle of Passchendaele
The Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, took place from July to November 1917 during World War I. It was fought between the Allied forces, led by British General Douglas Haig, and the German army, with the objective of gaining control of the ridges south and east of the Belgian town of Ypres.
The battle was marked by heavy rain and artillery bombardment, which turned the battlefield into a quagmire of mud and shell craters. This made movement difficult for soldiers and slowed down military operations. The fighting was brutal, with both sides suffering heavy casualties, and the conditions of the battlefield added to the suffering of the soldiers.
This exceptional artifact is a remarkable piece of WWI history. Recovered from the Battle of Passchendaele, this British Brodie Helmet has seen its fair share of battle damage but remains in solid condition. After careful cleaning and treatment, the helmet has been restored to its former glory and now stands as a testament to the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers who fought during this tumultuous period.
As one of the most significant battles of World War I, Passchendaele remains etched in history as a vivid reminder of the horrors of trench warfare. This helmet offers a tangible connection to that past, allowing us to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who fought in the Great War. It is truly a super piece of history, and a must-have for collectors of military memorabilia.
This amazing piece of WW1 history is currently available from Vigo Militaria in the UK for £145.
Officers Private Purchase Mk1 Combat Helmet
This is a truly unique artifact from World War I – a private purchase Mark l non-magnetic hardened manganese steel helmet with a magnetic steel rim. What sets this helmet apart is that it was specifically commissioned by an officer, who opted for a unique liner with additional padding and a cloth chinstrap.
Unlike standard issue helmets, this private purchase helmet was made from high-quality materials and tailored to the individual needs and preferences of the officer. The magnetic steel rim provided enhanced protection against shrapnel and other flying debris, while the customized liner offered improved comfort and fit.
Today, this helmet is a sought-after collector’s item, offering a rare glimpse into the personal experiences and choices of individual soldiers during World War I. It is a testament to the bravery and resourcefulness of those who served, and a reminder of the sacrifices made by so many during this tumultuous period in history.
Despite its battle scars and signs of wear, this helmet remains a remarkable piece of military history, providing a tangible connection to the past and a valuable addition to any collection of military memorabilia.
This unique item is available from The Collectors Guild for $299 or best offer.
Why do we collect helmets?
In conclusion, collecting WWI helmets offers a unique opportunity to connect with the past and honor the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers who fought in one of the most significant conflicts in history. These helmets are more than just artifacts – they are tangible connections to the individuals who wore them, offering insight into the experiences, choices, and personal preferences of soldiers during this tumultuous period.
Collecting WWI helmets allows us to preserve and protect these valuable pieces of history, ensuring that future generations can learn from and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who fought in the Great War. These helmets serve as tangible reminders of the horrors of trench warfare and the resilience and bravery of those who endured it.
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