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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Helmet identification


Tinhat47
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I got this helmet shell off eBay from a guy who lives about an hour up the road from me and thought I'd ask you folks about it.

It has split rivets on the chinstrap anchor points, so I'm assuming it's British-made

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3331/323143...2cd6e32.jpg?v=0

It has the remains of the old strap assembly, with bits of cloth under the rivet, which appears to be brown horsehair, then a fluffly white fabric, then a loosely woven tan fabric

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3365/323146...c4e5781.jpg?v=0

The inside of the brim appears to have been painted a darker color than the rest of the helmet

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3388/323143...aa9223e.jpg?v=0

There's a maker's mark that appears to say "BS 5"

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3426/323228...63b3e6e.jpg?v=0

The top of the helmet too damage at some point ... not sure if it's from battle or storage ... that's knocked the sand/cork texture off in a rather odd pattern

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3080/323228...b9609fc.jpg?v=0

And there looks like maybe there was something painted on the front of the helmet ... it's really hard to see, but it looks like a circle with some sort of fancy cross in it

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3339/323146...63d237f.jpg?v=0

Any ideas?

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Hello, Matt - The "BS" marking indicates that your helmet was made by W. Beardmore & Co. Ltd. in Glasgow. The "5" indicates the steel batch number. I hope that this information helps. Regards, Torrey

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Thanks! That confirms it's definitely British then (or Scottish :D )

I've been looking at it for a while, and I think the painted insignia on it is a Lorraine cross with bottony ends. The U.S. 79th Division used the Lorraine cross, but theirs is contained in a shield-shape or a diamond, not a circle. I'm stumped.

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A variation insignia for the Service Of Supply, Advance Sector used the Cross of Lorraine within a circle; the letters "A" and "S" at the bottom of the cross... This would be the US Army

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It has the remains of the old strap assembly, with bits of cloth under the rivet, which appears to be brown horsehair, then a fluffly white fabric, then a loosely woven tan fabric

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3365/323146...c4e5781.jpg?v=0

Be VERY careful - this is the remains of the asbestos wool pad used in the tops of the helmets! One of the reasons I wear a reproduction liner for living history, as opposed to some people who still wear originals :ph34r:

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WHoa ... thanks! I'll remove it ASAP.

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:o Hold on! Don't touch that asbestos! Unless you're planning to wear this thing and sweat in it a lot, don't mess the remnants of that pad - you're going to do yourself more harm than good. Pulling that thing out or cutting it out is going to cause it to splinter and tiny particles of asbestos are going to get airborne and unless you're wearing a resperator, you're going to breathe them in. If you do this indoors, those particles are going to settle all over the place, and if you have air conditioning, they could be recirculated over and over again for an extremely long time. Leaving the pad in place isn't going to hurt you unless you have repeated contact with it, as asbestos material left alone does not give off airborne particles. The problem comes when people mess with the stuff.

I used to work in a boiler maker plant and we did a lot of asbestos removal on old units, and I can assure you, in every case I worked on, ambient air asbestos levels were MUCH higher in places where we had gone in and removed the asbestos than it was before we pulled it all out. I don't know how long it took for these levels to go away, but our state DEQ always found considerably more asbestos in the air after we were done than before we started - reason being, the stuff blew everywhere and settled all over the place where it then posed a much more serious hazard to workers.

Again, if you're just going to display that helmet or use it for your collection, my advice would be to leave it alone, unless you start licking that pad, it's hardly likely to ever cause you or anyone else any harm. Take care and God bless.

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Don't worry ... I did it outside while while wearing my respirator. I do a lot of spray painting so I always have mine on hand.

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another helmet destroyed.

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I hope someone has warned Harry Patch about this. All the brave lads who have passed on since the Great War, how many because they used their Brodies...

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