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British MkIII Turtle pattern helmet

Article about: Hello Ade, Here's a post war Turtle given to me by a friend who found it in a garage. Mk IV 1954, manufactured by CCL. Do you know who CCL were? Cheers, Guy.

  1. #161


    Quote by canti44 View Post
    How much is he asking?

  2. #162


    I'm copying this over from the World Steel helmets section where I first posted it, as it may get some response from Mk3 enthusiasts here (I apologise in advance if it contravenes any Warrelics regulation I don't know about) -

    We're talking about the British Mk 3 and Mk 4 helmet shells. There are two points. It turns out there's some degree of uncertainty as to the actual production years of these helmets, especially as to when they ceased production. Also, there is a theory, propounded by the estimable Roger Lucy, that Knowledge can be obtained from examining the batch codes stamped inside most (but not all) of these helmet shells.

    Popular understanding has it that the Mk3 (that's the one with the bolt-in liner and the high-set chinstrap lugs) came into production in 1944, with the revised version, the Mk 4 (lift-the-dot liner, lower set chinstrap lugs) in 1945 (contract awarded December '44).

    It isn't clear when production of the Mk3 ceased, though it would be reasonable to believe it would have been at the time Mk4 production was started. It is said - Cotton, MILITARIA MAGAZINE article 1995 - that 1-million+ Mk4 helmets were ordered in December 1944 - but Cotton himself later implied that few were actually produced soon after. It is thought - perhaps wrongly - that there were two bursts of production, one immediately at the end of WW2 and the other during the Korean crisis of the early 50s.

    Given the present lack of the promised book by M Cotton which will make everything clear, the best we can do is try, by looking at the actual shells, to establish a fair idea of the period(s) of production. It is generally believed, for example, that there are *no* shells dated after 1953. Is that true?
    So the task is simple but difficult. Just examine the shells of your Mk3 and Mk4 (which includes the notional Mk5 which is after all only an old Mk 4 shell with a different liner and a fresh coat of paint).

    The difficult part is that the manufacturers stampings can be hard to locate, hard to read, and maybe not even there in the first place. And may have been totally obscured by many coats of paint. Look under the front brim, or around the chinstrap lugs. Stampings can be aligned either horizontally or vertically. There's no pattern or sense to it.

    What you will be looking for is a grouping of letters and digits that will probably (not always) comprise something like this -

    RO&CO CA 1952 4

    but *not * in a line like that. That information is the manufacturer (RO&CO, or BMB), a batch code, the date, and the mark of helmet (this could be 3 or 4, or III or IV).

    These stamps are often very lightly struck and will be difficult to read - use a bright light angled against the metal to bring out the lines. Even if you cannot make out all the characters just the maker and date will be good.

    The more I (and Roger) have looked into this the more we realise the published information is inadequate and that the more we find out the less we know. This is useful research, please help.

    This is what I have been able to read from part of my collection (some unreadable, some inaccessible at the moment) -


    RO&CO DO 1944 III

    BMB A6 (could be 3) III (no date - really no date it seems, not even a faint image)


    RO&CO FS 1945 4
    RO&CO FS 1945 4
    RO&CO FF 1945 4

    RO&CO DI 1952 4
    RO&CO CA 1952 II (that's really what is there!)
    RO&CO MA AD 1953 4

    BMB C791 (date unreadable) 4

    On the basis of this sample it does seem to reinforce the idea that there *was* indeed a substantial batch produced immediately after the Mk4 contract was awarded. And the Korean War crisis run seems to be reflected also. And is it really true that no shells were pressed after 1953?

    (NB If you feel posting details here would be uninteresting please send what you can in a PM)

  3. #163



    Here are my Mks III to V legible stamps

    RO&CO CF III 1944
    RO&CO DX III 1945
    Mk.IV or V
    BMB 1945 D96 MKIII
    BMB 1945 E67 MK4
    BMB MK IVC26 1951
    BMB MK IV C41 1951
    BMB MK IV C98 1952
    BMB MK IV C213 1952
    RO.CO EF 4 1952
    RO.CO O 4 1953


  4. #164

    Default Mk III shown in US Intelligence Document January 1943

    Although a report on the US M1 Helmet the illustration shows an outline of the "New British" helmet shown in January 1943.

    Interesting report anyway.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture British MkIII Turtle pattern helmet  

  5. #165

    Default MK3 MK4 Turtle helmets

    I have just joined this Forum and I wish to add to this thread.
    I have a number of MK 3 and MK 4 helmets and I wish to participate by
    submitting what I can make out from the stampings;
    Here are my Mks III to V legible stamps

    has rim spot weld dots, but I cannot find any stampings
    Paint colour is olive brown/VMC liner dated 1942
    has remnants of a blue and red insignia on the LHS

    BMB MKIII W02 1944 (same batch # as another one that someone listed)

    BMB 1945 322 MKIII (double checked. MK 4 stamped as MKIII)
    paint colour is a lighter green/smooth finish

    BMB MK 4 1952 (smaller stamping than the others)

    ROC J0 4 1952

    ROC JP 4 1952

    I am going to try using a USB microscope to get a better look at these.

  6. #166


    Just an additional thought about the paint colours on the MKIII helmets;
    I have seen Canadian and British uniform items where the item is pretty much identical, but
    the Canadian piece is green and the British piece is brown.
    Is there a chance that MKIII's that were issued to Canadian troops were painted in the olive green colour
    and the British were issued the olive brown colour in order to better match their uniforms?
    I've also noticed over the course of a few decades that the Canadian olive green paint on many of my helmets has oxidized to more of a brown shade.

  7. #167


    Gentlemen: I have reread this long thread with interest. And I have read Tin Hat For Tommy by Mr. Carter and Tin Lid by Mr. Lucy re the Mark III and Mark IV. It's time that I list my 5 examples, leaving the best for last. A Mark IV stamped "RO&CO FS" on top of "4 1945." The liner is stamped "CCL 1945." A Mark IV stamped "BMB E49" followed by "45." The liner is stamped "FFL 1945." A Mark III stamped "RO&CO III 1945." It has a Royal Artillery flash. The liner is stamped "FFL 1945." A Mark III stamped "BMB" over "V99" followed by "Mk III 1944." Smooth light green paint and no liner date. This week, I received the most interesting Mark III. It is stamped "BMB" over "/ 9" followed by "MK III 1943." Smooth light green paint, and the liner is stamped "FFL 1943." In light of full production starting in November 1943, I wonder how many Mark III's were actually made in '43? Or even whether the factory faithfully changed the year stamp on time?

  8. #168


    Thank you, those are interesting additions of the Mk.III/IV serial number data base. Could you post some pictures of your 1943-dated example. Do you think the light green paint oh it is original or post-war?

  9. #169


    Well, I am not well-versed in closeup photography. When the wife gets home, I'll see if we can access the photos of the seller (Roverbert) on eBay as they are still there. He must have removed the very worn liner as I had a devil of a timBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmete finally reading the flange stamp. The chinstrap is an all-elastic Mark III. Re the color, it looks original. Interestingly, my 1944 Mark III has a much lighter shade of green than the 1943 version. Stay tuned.British MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmetBritish MkIII Turtle pattern helmet
    Last edited by Jack; 05-06-2017 at 01:29 AM.

  10. #170


    Gentlemen: I reiterate that I am unskilled, so my dear wife just posted the above photos. Giving credit where it is due, these shots were made by the seller in Holland (Roverbert) and posted on eBay. I believe that Bert removed the liner to view the shell stamp which he reported was "1943." I shoved aside the liner far enough to confirm what he said or else I wouldn't be this excited.

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