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Mk II flashed to the Free French

Article about: I have known of the existence of this helmet for for some time and it has always intrigued me I was fortunate to be able to add it to my collection a few days ago... This particular Mk II ha

  1. #1
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    Default Mk II flashed to the Free French

    I have known of the existence of this helmet for for some time and it has always intrigued me I was fortunate to be able to add it to my collection a few days ago...
    This particular Mk II has been in a private collection here in Canada and was purchased out of the US a number of years ago...It does show nice age and patina to the hand painted flashes on the side of the helmet body and would have what would appear to be the remnants of a yellow hand painted cross on the front just above the spot welds on the rim joint...IMO the age to the painted flashes is consistent to the wear and age on the helmet body...
    I strongly believe that this is a wartime example of a Mk II that was used by the Free French after the exodus from France the main question in my mind is were could it have been used was it while the French Army was being reconstituted in Great Britain and or Scotland..?
    It has also been suggested that it may have been used by a Colonial Free French unit as most of the Free French in Great Britain were issued and or used the US M-1 and that the shape of the flash might indicate that it was unit specific could it possibly have been used by one of the French Colonial armies who fought in North Africa,Italy and or Southern France so many unanswered questions...
    A friend and fellow collector did point out on a different venue that he had seen period images of Mk II's used by the French in North Africa....and a lot of Adrian's and M 1917 A-1. and so speculated possibly Operation Dragoon and or one of the North Africa campaign's.
    He did as well bring up another interesting point when would the flashes have been painted on this helmet would it have been before, during or shortly after the fighting and applied for a victory parade.
    There was but one reference found to this type of flash in a French publication so at the least gives a stepping stone to further research the helmet was reportedly used by members of the 1e Division France Libre.( 1st Free French Division.)
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    I can find very few period pictures of the Free French in any Theater of Operations with flashed helmets so there is nothing in the form of period images that I can find as of yet that supports were it may have been used and by whom so all of the above is purely speculation of course that said I am confident that it is a period original Mk II...Any thoughts and or opinions are most welcome ...
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    Regards Mark
    Always on the look out for WW II Canadian Helmets and Cam nets to add to my collection.

    Found a Canadian Mk II Medics Helmet and yes I know they are about as rare as hens teeth !!!!!

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    My thoughts too, N.Africa/Italy, I think the flash show enough wear that would lead me to think it could have seen combat in this configuration, nice helmet and pics haha

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    Nice one Mark, surely an interesting helmet.

    Looks more like Italy than N.Africa. Was it painted inside out?

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    just one coat of paint on this one,

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    Thanx John I was hoping you would chimb in on the paint and the pictures are not bad ..

    Regards Mark
    Always on the look out for WW II Canadian Helmets and Cam nets to add to my collection.

    Found a Canadian Mk II Medics Helmet and yes I know they are about as rare as hens teeth !!!!!

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    This one IMO has hard old wear to the finish, just in comparison to an Engineers helmet I have, thats had some mods (I posted it here mkII (&mkI or earlier) Helmets Steel, British & Commonwealth, show yours ) page 36

    notice the one in the book the flash is r/w/b one side and b/w/r the other,

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    I've found a site about the 1st Free French Division unfortunately in french but packed with period photos. Just scrolled through and I've already seen several flashed mkII's.

    For some reason the photos gets rather small when I try to save and upload them. So better have a look yourselves: LA PHOTOTHEQUE - Amicale de la premi

    The ones I've found are all from battle of Bir Hakim, but there are probably more from other theaters.

    Bir Hakeim 1942 - - Le RA - Amicale de la premi

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    Always hard to make a call on a painted flash but it certainly looks to have been on the helmet a long time.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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    Many thanks Madds I was struggling trying to find some period images in the theatre of operations and the link shows the detail quite clear...
    Hi Jerry as always your thought and opinions are most welcome IMHO it is a period piece but I lacked any solid proof in the form of period images to support its use or lineage..

    Regards Mark
    Always on the look out for WW II Canadian Helmets and Cam nets to add to my collection.

    Found a Canadian Mk II Medics Helmet and yes I know they are about as rare as hens teeth !!!!!

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    Mark, you did not see my recently acquired F.A.N.Y. helmet with decal that is a one looker but I have yet to find any period images of it in use, though I have no doubts that it is 100% period and original, just no pix of one in use.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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