Posted 10 months ago
British WWII Provost Marshal steel helmet. VERY scarce helmet. The officer who was issued with this helmet obviously rose from the ranks as his early MP, Military Police insignia can still be seen under his promoted rank insignia.
The Provost Marshal (pronounced "Provo") is the officer in the armed forces who is in charge of the military police (sometimes called the provost). There may be a Provost Marshal serving at many levels of the hierarchy and he may also be the public safety officer of a military installation, responsible for the provision of fire, gate security, and ambulance services as well as law enforcement. A Provost Marshal may also be in charge of the execution of punishments.
"The military police became so well known a figure on every road to the battlefield that his presence became taken for granted. Few soldiers (as they hurried over a bridge that was a regular target for the enemy) gave much thought to the man whose duty it was to be there for hours on end, directing the traffic and ensuring its rapid passage."
"General Sir Myles Dempsey KCB, KBE, DSO, MC"
Between the Wars the Corps dropped dramatically, but with the outset of World War Two it again rose to many thousands. The well defined tasks of the military police - maintenance of discipline, prevention and detection of crime, and traffic control - were employed to the full in all theatres, commencing with Expeditionary Force, to France, Italy, North Africa, the Far East and finally Germany itself. The provost were at Monte Cassino and Dunkirk; El Alamein and Malta; they dropped at Arnhem and they were the first on the beaches.
Until 1940 all criminal offences committed by British soldiers were investigated by civilian police. During January 1940 a Special Investigation Branch of the CMP was established.
•Provost Wing. The famous "Red Caps".
•Traffic Control Wing. CMP(TC) personnel were organised into armed companies each responsible for a specific area. Although they belonged to the Corps of Military Police they carried out all instructions issued by Movement Control.
•Vulnerable Points Wing. It was the task of the "Blue Caps" to provide guards for installations and buildings that were seen as vulnerable points, such as ammunition and petrol dumps, docks, locks, bridges and power stations. They were organised into sections each with 7 privates under command of a lance corporal. They were armed with SMG's and batons, and used guard dogs during nights. Their primary duty was anti-sabotage.
Each wing wore differing insignia and dress items in order to make them distinctive from the normal fighting "Tommy".
Steel Helmet Bands. So that members of the CMP were still easily recognisable when personnel wore steel helmets it was decided during November 1940 that their helmets were to bear the regimental badge of white letters "MP" on a square blue background and a bright red band around the helmet. The square blue regimental badge was placed in the centre front of the helmet. By April 1944 helmets bands for CMP personnel had been authorised (ACI 494 dated 5 April 1944) and expanded to the following: •Provost Wing - red band.
•Vulnerable Points Wing - oxford blue.
•Traffic Control Wing - white.
These bands were also painted onto the standard pulp motorcycle crash helmets worn by the CMP.