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British Motor Cyclist's helmets of WWII

Article about: Hi Guys, this is the second pattern helmet introduced for wear by "Don R's" or Motorcycle despatch riders. The first pattern helmet was not steel but was like civvy bike helmets of

  1. #31
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    Default British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    The first proper despatch rides helmets were first introduced in 1939, the Helmet, Crash, Despatch Riders ( HCDR) Before this they would have used soft caps, MkII steel helmet or leather helmets similar to pilots helmets which would have kept them warm but would have given no protection.
    Being made of rag pulp within layers of linen & coated in shellac varnish. In 1941 a modification was added, 2 extra ribs to protect the lace that went around the helmet which held the liner in place.
    This one has seen better days & had a hard life post war, being painted many colours. It is dated 1942 & made by C.C.L, it also has had the flaps taken off which cover the ear vents.

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  2. #32
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    In 1940 another type began to be produced, the HCDR Economy Pattern. Made from compressed rubber & fibre compound. It was cheaper & easier to produce than the pulp type, the maker was the Empire Co.
    This one is not dated but has the letter P stamped on the leather making it 1941.
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  3. #33
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    In 1942 the first steel helmets for Despatch riders came into use, Helmet, Steel, Despatch Riders. (HSDR)
    These fibre rim HSDR were only produced for a short while in 1942, later that year they could produce them without the fibre rim & fixed the liner to the shell with 4 rivets instead of the 4 nuts & bolts.
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  4. #34
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    If im not mistaken quite a few of the Wall of Death riders wore the earlier style helmets right up into the late 60s, for some reason they seemed to prefer them over the composite types being produced at that time, in fact i think my uncle had one for his scooter still in the army colours, which he later painted white

  5. #35
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    The pulp one was also painted white
    In about October 1942 the last modifications were made to the HSDR, these would last to the end of the war & also stay when production started again in the 50's.
    Doing away with the fibre rim & adding a steel rim with a slight flare to the edge of the helmet making it stronger. Although the bolts on the nuts & bolts fixing the liner to the helmet were snipped shorter it was thought that serious injury could still happen. therefore the liner was now fixed by 4 rivets, ( the 2 at the front being slightly bigger than the back 2)
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  6. #36

    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Excellent thread.

    Thanks Aaron.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  7. #37
    SMP
    SMP is offline
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Great collection, Aaron ! That HSDR ( fibre-rim) is one of the nicest I've seen.

    Are there any other DR types for you to find ?

    Steve

  8. #38
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    Always on the look out for DR helmets with div' or reg' flashes like this Scots Guards.
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  9. #39
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    This is a really good post, thanks.
    I was at a flea market in northern Holland some years ago and a woman had 8, 1942 dated DR helmets that had been in a barn since the war (and looked like it), she told me that they came from glider that had landed on her parents farm. If I remember rightly I got the three best ones for about 10 Guilders, so she wasn't trying to get one over on me, but I have always wondered if DR helmets were used by any other units in the army, if not seems like there were a hell of a lot of despatch riders as these are fairly easy to pick up.
    Steve.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: British ww2 despatch riders helmets

    That's very interesting about the DR helmets from gliders, I know there are quite a few pictures of Para's on airbourne motor bikes who would have worn a DR helmet.
    I guess signals & MP's would have worn an HSDR, in the average division there were over 900 motor bikes.

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