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How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

Article about: So to clarify, the helmet, being a 6 and 1/4, could be for both women and men, and might have been unissued due to lying about in a regimental stores...I can live with that :>) tinlid, I

  1. #21
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Yep, I'm in the UK - Bedford - never thought about car boot sales, thanks for that...

  2. #22

    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Quote by nd1959 View Post
    Attachment 296992Attachment 296991Sorry davejb I didn't make myself clear, my uncle was a dispatch rider and I have seen one on ebay, which if i can upload the piccies I will show you the one I am looking at. He also was seconded to the Canadians whilst in France and he also drove trucks, here I assume that he would have had a Brodie or MKII, although I am unsure of the difference. At the end of the war, he was training would-be truck drivers, although he managed to get himself off this, as it was dangerous due to the poor standard of driving displayed by the newbee drivers and the wet cobbled roads in the German city at the time.

    Whilst I would love a dispatch rider's helmet, I also want a normal combat helmet...greedy aren't I ;>), hence me asking about the other style of helmet.
    Hello nd1959, welcome to the forum

    I don't think there is much I can add right now, unless I try to write a primer on British helmets. All i will do is clarify some terminology just to make it clear. Brodie really is just a name used to describe any Commonwealth helmet with the characteristic shape like this:

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    It's a reference to John Brodie, who designed the original concept helmet for the British Army, which was developed in 1915 with two trials models (Type A and B), which led to the first production type (usually called the War Office Pattern), but which had "Brodie's Steel Helmet" stamped in the liner, and I suppose the name stuck from that. This was replaced with the very similar Helmet, Steel, Mk I in late 1916. By the 1930s, it was seen necesssary to update the helmet, and the metal shells of the Mk I were upgraded with a new liner and chinstrap. This conversion was called a Helmet, Steel Mk I*. By 1938/9 a new improved steel shell, the Mk II was introduced, giving rise to the Helmet, Steel Mk II, which was the WWII standard. It was in turn replaced by the Mk III in 1943 (trials having been going on since 1941), but there was no wholesale changeover, with the exception of assault units of 21st Army Group for Operation Overlord.

    I feel compelled to ask, what did your uncle do specifically? What regiment/corps was he in? In order to get a good idea of what he would have worn, it would be helpful to get some background on him. After all, the term 'despatch rider' or 'Don-R' is/was used as a nickname for any 'soldier on a motorbike', whether they delivered despatches or not. Technically, Despatch Riders are tradesmen in the Royal Corps of Signals, but of course motorbikes were used in many other units, the Royal Artillery being a major example, each Field Regiment having 30 bikes on strength, plus one in their REME LAD.

    I'm sure it won't be long before you feel the need to collect the rest of the uniform and equipment, and you definitely came to the right forum for the right information.

    Rob

  3. #23
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Every few months they have a very good Arms Fair at Bedford, albeit the helmets may be slightly more expensive but at least you will be able to pick and choose

  4. #24
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Here's a website dedicated to WW2 British motorcycles, and they have a very good section on what motorcycle riders wore and carried, and lots of original wartime photos:

    THE BSA WD M20 WEBSITE

  5. #25
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Dave - thanks never knew that Bedford hosted an arms fair. I will certainly look into that.

    Boyt44 - Thanks for that, being a biker myself I had already found the site, as ultimately, one day when I am rich and famous :>), I would love to have a W2 bike. Nevertheless, I had only looked at it in terms of the bike, never thought about using it as a learning source vis. kit...so thanks for that.

    Rob - Unfortunately, my uncle is long gone. Consequently, all I have are his tales told to eager teenager. He trained at Catterick; he served from 39-45 making either corporal or sergeant (can't remember which); he did spend a period in Ireland as a batman/chaffeur (sp?); from what I can make out he spent most of time escorting convoys as an outrider and dispatching, whether the dispatching was as an out and out dispatch rider just as you pointed out a bloke on a bike I don't know, as I didn't realise until you posted that there was alternatives. He saw action in France: certainly he got machine-gunned whilst delivering dispatches (due to a mix up over directions with an MP) and shelled; he was seconded to the Canadians in France for a bit. Unfortunately most of his stories were anecdotes about his exploits and he never actually told me whether he was in the Signals, I just assumed he was. I found out recently that he had some medals (probably the Star for serving in France), and there might be some documentation, so I have got to try and get in touch with my cousin who has these...

  6. #26
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    He should have had his full set of awarded medals and the documentation may give you his service number, that way you can trace his service history, regiment etc, that may confirm his duties as a DR

  7. #27

    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Quote by nd1959 View Post
    Rob - Unfortunately, my uncle is long gone. Consequently, all I have are his tales told to eager teenager. He trained at Catterick; he served from 39-45 making either corporal or sergeant (can't remember which); he did spend a period in Ireland as a batman/chaffeur (sp?); from what I can make out he spent most of time escorting convoys as an outrider and dispatching, whether the dispatching was as an out and out dispatch rider just as you pointed out a bloke on a bike I don't know, as I didn't realise until you posted that there was alternatives. He saw action in France: certainly he got machine-gunned whilst delivering dispatches (due to a mix up over directions with an MP) and shelled; he was seconded to the Canadians in France for a bit. Unfortunately most of his stories were anecdotes about his exploits and he never actually told me whether he was in the Signals, I just assumed he was. I found out recently that he had some medals (probably the Star for serving in France), and there might be some documentation, so I have got to try and get in touch with my cousin who has these...
    Well, as Dave said, his army number and any other documentation is the key. Catterick is a big place with all kinds of training going on. The Canadian secondment is interesting, although you have to bear in mind that many British units and formations were under the command of First Canadian Army in Europe, including I Corps, 49th (W Riding) Inf Div, 51st (Highland) Div and, temporarily, even XXX Corps, 6th Airborne Division and many others.

    I found a couple of really nice pictures of typical Don-Rs in Europe online, which you might enjoy, as they both show the Helmet, Steel, Despatch Riders Mk I as well as some of the other biker clothing. They also show the variety of clothing worn:

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    The one on the left is definitely Air Force (not sure if RAF or RCAF), but its a lovely study of a typical Commonwealth Don-R. The second two are undoubtedly Canadian, shown by the CANADA title on the man's arm, and the 'CC' prefix of the bike's census number. He also is clearly showing the unofficial (but very popular) DR badge on his forearm, and his uniform seems to be a set of Canadian army work overalls with his Battledress blouse over the top.

    Anyway, they're nice shots

    Rob

  8. #28
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    I would suggest that the single rider may even be an MP due to the fact his m/cycle has a siren

  9. #29
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    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Thanks for that...

    The bike on the right looks to be a Harley, certainly has springer forks and the speedo is mounted on the tank.

    Not sure about the one on the left

  10. #30

    Default Re: How do I tell what constitutes a combat helmet?

    Quote by nd1959 View Post
    Thanks for that...

    The bike on the right looks to be a Harley, certainly has springer forks and the speedo is mounted on the tank.

    Not sure about the one on the left
    Both are Harley-Davidson WLC bikes in fact

    Rob

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