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Crash Helmet RAC

Article about: Thanks Aaron.

  1. #1

    Default Crash Helmet RAC

    Finally got a Crash Helmet RAC. Wile looking through my reference material I found an article by Martin J. Brayley it states that the R.T.R Crash Helmet was introduced in 1939 [see picture of the man holding the R.T.R Crash Helmet] then in 1941 the Crash Helmet RAC was introduced based on the miners helmet as a economy measure but in the book Equipment of a WW11 tommy by David B Gordon it states that the one based on the miners helmet was the R.T.R Crash Helmet and came first and the one shown in the picture of the man holding the helmet is the second pattern so I am a bit confused although I do lean towards Martin J. Brayley's explanation as my helmet does look like it would be an economy measure, but what does everybody els think.
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  2. #2
    ?

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Yeah I love these little helmets too, waiting for a Canadian one to arrive at the moment.
    The one that I have like yours a copy of the miners helmet is dated 1940 & made by Helmets Ltd, I think they made this type up until 1943.
    The other one I have like the one in the picture which is made of cork covered in canvas & painted black ( although mine is painted khaki with the flash of the Royal Innesskillen dragoon guards) I think is made by J.Compton sons & Webb Ltd, maybe 1940, so I think they were made about the same sort of time. Although I don't know when production of the cork ones stopped.
    The Canadians copied the cork type ones as well.
    There's also the ones that the Empire Rubber Co produced, very similar to the Helmet crash despatch riders helmet that they made, would love to have one of those too.
    Aaron
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Quote by joseph barrett View Post
    Finally got a Crash Helmet RAC. Wile looking through my reference material I found an article by Martin J. Brayley it states that the R.T.R Crash Helmet was introduced in 1939 [see picture of the man holding the R.T.R Crash Helmet] then in 1941 the Crash Helmet RAC was introduced based on the miners helmet as a economy measure but in the book Equipment of a WW11 tommy by David B Gordon it states that the one based on the miners helmet was the R.T.R Crash Helmet and came first and the one shown in the picture of the man holding the helmet is the second pattern so I am a bit confused although I do lean towards Martin J. Brayley's explanation as my helmet does look like it would be an economy measure, but what does everybody els think.
    Nice one Joseph I've never owned one myself of either type, but wish I did.

    In Brian Leigh Davis' book (British Army Uniforms and Insignia of World War Two), he has your helmet as the first type, and the fibre one as a second improved version. I would tend to believe this author as he worked from actual documentary sources. He does miss things out sometimes, presumably when he had no documentary references, but it's an excellent book, and factual. His description only has two versions (your helmet was replaced by the second type with earphones - clearly there are more versions than that out there). I would agree with tinlid that production of the two types must have overlapped, probably manufacturers completing contracts for the older type.

    Personally, as I'm sure I have said to you before, I don't like the David Gordon books - I read the first one and saw 'schoolboy' mistakes which destroyed my confidence in the whole work. However, I suspect he was right in this case, probably because he read BL Davis...

    By the way, BL Davis refers to both types as the Special Non-Crash Helmet for Tank Crews, so I'm not sure what the 'proper' nomenclature really is.

    Rob

  4. #4

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    great lids guys , rgds Dave

  5. #5
    ?

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    I've always called them, Helmet, crash, Royal Armoured Corps. HCRAC. To use earphones both types of helmets had to have the leather scrum from which to fit the earpieces. The scrums are very precariously held in place by buttons & string.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Quote by tinlid View Post
    I've always called them, Helmet, crash, Royal Armoured Corps. HCRAC. To use earphones both types of helmets had to have the leather scrum from which to fit the earpieces. The scrums are very precariously held in place by buttons & string.
    Not necessarily... certainly for the early war period, you would need the ear flaps, as headphones were connected by a metal strap that couldn't be easily worn with a helmet. This problem was addressed by the introduction of the light canvas headband for headphones. This arrangement used a thin metal wire behind the head to provide rigidity and could be worn under a helmet. So the flaps would have originally been a useful upgrade, but by the end would have been redundant. Canadian-made headphones went even further, with just a thin web strap over the top of the head, and a larger sprung metal band behind.

    I wonder whether the flaps were introduced during the war then deleted?

    Rob

  7. #7

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Thanks Aaron and Rob, I think I am getting the Brian Leigh Davis' book for Christmas so looking forward to that, I do have the headphones Rob described so they will do for the moment but I would like the ear pieces and chin strap as the helmet does have the side strings , plus I need the MK.11 version and the MK.1 metal R.A.C, it never ends.

  8. #8
    ?

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Here's some original pictures that I have, the one with the tanks by the river you can see that they are using both types of helmet.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Great pictures Aaron if you ever come across a spare leather scrum and ear pieces let me know.

  10. #10
    ?

    Default Re: Crash Helmet RAC

    Although I'm no radio expert it looks like they are only using the earphones tied into the scrum & not the whole headset. Which I guess is an 19 set for AFV, I will look out for a scrum for you as now & again they do turn up.

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