Posted 7 years ago
I feel a bit silly posting this after seeing Petey’s collection, as well as the postings from tinlid, Battlegear, kozowy1967 and others. However, my goal is to get my entire collection up here by doing a post per week, and it’s my Brodie’s turn. As always I welcome your comments and appreciate any corrections.
The Brodie helmet, nicknamed after it’s designer, John Brodie, was Britain’s answer in 1915 to the disproportionate number of head wounds by troops at the front. Designed to protect from shrapnel shells bursting overhead, it could be pressed from a single sheet of hardened steel, but left the lower parts of the head less protected.
Back when I was a wee lad, I sent for a “genuine doughboy helmet” from an advertisement in the back of a magazine. With it came their free catalogue, and the whole thing cost me $5 including postage (yes, I am that old). When it arrived, the liner was so dry rotted that I chose to cut it out and throw it away. I kept the rubber donut part of the liner for some years, but it was lost decades ago.
Along the way, I learned it wasn’t the American version (the Model 1917) but British. The clues were the overlapping vs. butted together rim (Photo 2) and the split rivets vs machine rivets for the chin strap bales (Photo 3). I also learned that the Americans purchased about 400,000 British Mk I helmets upon their entry into the war, so this still may have come out of American stocks.
The liner indicates this was a WWI era Mk I type, and not the MK II of WWII fame. This helmet had a leather strap riveted to the top which went through the rubber donut and side bales to become the chin strap. You can still see where I cut away the single leather strap from that top rivet. The helmet is stamped HS 402, indicating the steel shell was supplied by Hadfield Ltd of Sheffield, steel lot number 402.