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Need help identifying pith helmet

Article about: by Adrian Stevenson Don't know if this helps, but here is a pic taken in the Notts & Derbys Regt Museum. (They have now banned pics being taken ) The example of a pith helmet there is pr

  1. #21

    Default Re: Need help identifying pith helmet

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Don't know if this helps, but here is a pic taken in the Notts & Derbys Regt Museum. (They have now banned pics being taken ) The example of a pith helmet there is pretty much devoid of insignia other than evidence of a cap badge to the front.
    The hat in the museum picture doesn't look like either a Foreign Service Helmet or a Solar Pith Hat to me, so it might be the exception rather than a standard rule. Here are a couple of pictures of the Sherwood Foresters in India that i found:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This one shows men of is 2nd Battalion in 1930. Most have the Foreign Service Helmet with regimental top green fold in the puggaree.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This one is later, December 1943, and shows Foresters personnel with General Auchinleck, all of whom are wearing rhe Solar Pith Hat, the Foresters with green fold and "The Auk" and his staff with plain hats.

    I have a definite reference to the regiment wearing the green top fold in 1939 as well. The same source gives a very similar patch (but with a maroon cross) for the Wiltshire Regiment. Anyway, just backing up my previous information with some evidence.

    Quote by MG42 View Post
    Interesting, I think that the patch on my pith is a bit too vague to be pinned to one particular regiment so it could be a different regiment?
    The patch is almost certainly specific to one particular battalion of whatever regiment it actually is. As for the Foresters theory, both 12th and 13th Bns were in India. The 12th formed a Jungle Training Unit, with officers and men going to other 14th Army units in Burma. It is, of course, possible, that an officer from this training establishment could have been sent/attached/seconded to a Ghurka battalion, making the original story 'sort of' true, just mixed up in the telling.

    13th Bn was converted to armour and became 163rd Regt RAC.

    Hopefully some food for thought here...

    Rob

  2. #22

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    I know this thread is ancient but I have just been directed here and it is quite amazing...... on many fronts.....
    I'll start with the identification......If it says "Compressed Pith" then it is most definitely a Polo Helmet and not a Solo Topee or Regimental Uniform Hat. Most officers were "expected to play" and certainly enjoyed a game of Polo. So being in a serving officer's possession is quite possible. The flash would probably be the team that the officer last played for and hence it is just tacked on and the tacking quality is not in keeping with the rest of the quality of workmanship (quite apparent). Most officers would have played for teams in the area they happened to be stationed and they would carry their personal helmets with them and changed flashes when they shifted teams. The more formal and larger teams would order their helmets for the entire team and then the "puggree" (sometimes called cummerbund) or pleated decoration around the crown would be made in their team colors.
    Now to come to the reason why I can be so definitive in my answer...... that hat has definitely passed through the hands of my Great Grand Father and my Grand Father who were the founders and owners of Imperial Hat Works in Bangalore India. The two of them were the final quality "sign off" points for all hats that left our factory and the Polo Helmets received special attention since, as my mum would narrate, they said "a man's life could be saved by this helmet"
    Truly amazing to see this piece still living after all these year's and history..................
    Hope my answer helps even though the thread is quite stale..........

  3. #23

    Default

    An interesting addition to the discussion of this sun helmet. One thing I would add is that it was quite common for them to have been reused by the British army when supplies of the issue type were not available, especially for officers and it might have been his before he needed one for army service or it was impressed for service from either the makers or a retailers.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  4. #24

    Default

    The hat in the middle is not the same at all. It is probably not a pith hat/helmet at all but a cork helmet but only closer examination (probably impossible) could tell. It is also probably not one of our - Imperial Hat Works' products.

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Don't know if this helps, but here is a pic taken in the Notts & Derbys Regt Museum. (They have now banned pics being taken ) The example of a pith helmet there is pretty much devoid of insignia other than evidence of a cap badge to the front.

    Cheers, Ade.

  5. #25

    Default

    Jerry, That is quite possibly true (I'm not a military historian or buff) but purely from the knowing the intimate details & history of our manufacturing business - Imperial Hat Works, I do know that this being a Polo Helmet meant that it had to fit right for it to protect, so no player worth his salt would have used a helmet that was not made to size, if not custom fitted.
    Quote by Anon View Post
    An interesting addition to the discussion of this sun helmet. One thing I would add is that it was quite common for them to have been reused by the British army when supplies of the issue type were not available, especially for officers and it might have been his before he needed one for army service or it was impressed for service from either the makers or a retailers.

  6. #26

    Default

    Quote by ruminocher View Post
    The hat in the middle is not the same at all. It is probably not a pith hat/helmet at all but a cork helmet but only closer examination (probably impossible) could tell. It is also probably not one of our - Imperial Hat Works' products.
    It is quite common for the term pith helmet to be used generically when referring to sun helmets and this usage does not take into account the type of material used in its construction and as you state many will be made from cork rather than sola pith, but it is a convenient term to use when talking about helmets of this basic type.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  7. #27

    Default

    Quote by ruminocher View Post
    Jerry, That is quite possibly true (I'm not a military historian or buff) but purely from the knowing the intimate details & history of our manufacturing business - Imperial Hat Works, I do know that this being a Polo Helmet meant that it had to fit right for it to protect, so no player worth his salt would have used a helmet that was not made to size, if not custom fitted.

    Sadly the British army was well known for its inability to supply uniforms of the correct size to its members and having a correctly fitting polo helmet when impressed into use as an army sun helmet would in most cases be very low on their list of priorities.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  8. #28

    Default Taken off a DAK ?

    Very very unlikely that a DAK soldier or officer would have got hold of this unless he took it off a British soldier. Imperial Hat Works did not export to the German forces and less likely a Polo Helmet would have been the choice of hat for a DAK Soldier. The Polo Helmets were much more expensive and the common "sola topee" was lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods than the Polo Helmet that was used during matches to protect the users noggin in the event of a fall.

  9. #29

    Default

    Quote by ruminocher View Post
    Very very unlikely that a DAK soldier or officer would have got hold of this unless he took it off a British soldier. Imperial Hat Works did not export to the German forces and less likely a Polo Helmet would have been the choice of hat for a DAK Soldier. The Polo Helmets were much more expensive and the common "sola topee" was lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods than the Polo Helmet that was used during matches to protect the users noggin in the event of a fall.
    Indeed and I posted much the same thing in one of my earlier posts, very unlikely to have been found in N Africa and certainly almost impossible to have seen German use, though they did use captured British Wolseley sun helmets and how these items sometimes traveled is very hard to follow in some circumstances.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  10. #30
    ?

    Default

    Quote by Adrian Stevenson View Post
    Don't know if this helps, but here is a pic taken in the Notts & Derbys Regt Museum. (They have now banned pics being taken ) The example of a pith helmet there is pretty much devoid of insignia other than evidence of a cap badge to the front.

    Cheers, Ade.
    That sun helmet looks Japanese, possibly a trophy brought back by a member of the regiment and donated to the museum.

    The webbing waterbottle carrier and holster look like they are from the Mills' commercial officers' webbing set, which is very interesting!

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