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Mk2 Royal Navy, Commander

Article about: Here's a heavy textured Mk2 with COM DR to the front for commander, of the Royal navy. At one time the sand textured repaint was very thick but quite a lot has come off,but the inside is sti

  1. #1
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    Default Mk2 Royal Navy, Commander

    Here's a heavy textured Mk2 with COM DR to the front for commander, of the Royal navy. At one time the sand textured repaint was very thick but quite a lot has come off,but the inside is still very good.
    EH is painted & scratched on the inside brim, note how he has folded the chin strap up out of the way, the liner is dated 1939 & made by BMB. The date/maker on the shell is not readable.
    The other helmet is another navy helmet with commanders mate to the front.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mk2 Royal Navy, Commander

    Very nice helmets indeed!

  3. #3
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    Just found some interesting information on another forum about paint scheme's for helmets used by the navy.
    During the 1920s the steel helmet in use with the RN was the MkI and known as the 'Shrapnel Helmet'. Provided from War Office stores they were finished in Khaki Brown as supplied and were taken on as armament stores. Khaki paint for refurbishing had to be obtained from the War Office.

    Instructions for refurbishment with grey paint were issued in 1930:-

    The helmet was to be sanded to bare metal and then painted with paint 'Dark Grey'. After one hour the paint surface was to be sprinkled with fine sand of "60 mesh". The paint was then left to harden so the sand would bond. After 24 hours a second coat of thinned grey paint was to be applied over the sand.

    During 1939 and again in 1940 it was proposed that steel helmets would be provided as personal issue as soon as supplies were available. In 1941 in was decided that the extreme shortage of steel helmets and lack of storage space on ships made this impractical and no personal issue of helmets would be made within the RN. A small number of men were issued their own helmet due to the nature of their duties, although I have been unable to find out who.

    At sea helmets were kept on the upper deck in storage racks close to posts manned during action stations. For men closed up in directors or similar locations the helmets were frequently stored in the director itself. The helmets were not allocated to individuals but to the position. However, it would be the same crews manning each post at action stations so this did lead to men adopting their own lid and applying suitable markings of 'ownership'. The upper deck stowage of helmets meant that they were often subject to considerable deterioration. Many officers took possession of their own personalised lid - because they could.

    Ashore, helmets were supplied in sufficient numbers to equip all sentries, fire parties, AA crews and all others who might be required to stay at their post during an air raid. Helmets were not available for those who would take refuge in shelters during raids. The quantity issued to commands ranged from 7,521 for Portsmouth to 70 for RN College Greenwhich.

    During the war all MkII helmets manufactured with ballistic shells were finished in Khaki Brown paint prior to delivery to the Army, RAF or RN. Helmets that failed ballistic tests or were made from batches of steel that did not meet ballistic requirements (Helmets MkII.No.2 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D) were painted grey to distinguish them from ballistic helmets and had 1 to 4 holes punched in the rim. They were supplied to the civil defence services who did not generally require ballistic protection. Helmets were usually repainted black in ARP or CD use. Interestingly the MkII.No.2 could not be worn if using a compass, unlike the ballistic helmets MkII.

    In 1943 the RAC MkI helmet was issued to Coastal Forces in limited numbers. It proved well suited to Naval use and was adopted as the standard RN helmet post war. Again it was supplied in War Office Khaki Brown.

    After a short time stored on the upper deck helmets would undoubtedly start to rust and require repainting. The repaint would be in whatever shade of grey the ship was painted, and that would depend on which station the ship was and stocks held. A large number of grey paints were in use during the war ranging from Mediterranean Grey and Home Fleet Grey to MS1 through MS4 at least eight distinct shades of grey alone plus numerous camouflage blues and greens. Add to this the finishes applied to ships commissioned or refitted in the USA, Canada or Australia and painted in 'continental' greys.

  4. #4

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    Interesting helmets Aaron, and interesting information. Leon.
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  5. #5
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    Are textured MKIIs often found or are they usually very rare?

    Tony

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    Do you mean standard military issue Mk2 No 1's or the heavy texture on the comander.
    If the latter, then I only have two, and they are not that common.

  7. #7
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    Quote by tinlid View Post
    Do you mean standard military issue Mk2 No 1's or the heavy texture on the comander.
    If the latter, then I only have two, and they are not that common.
    I meant in general Aaron, the MKII helmet is a whole new world for me but I'm sure I saw one recently, I only saw it pictured online so it may have been a refurb MKI.

    Tony

  8. #8
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    A typical Mk2 No.1 issued to the armed forces & to the home guard with textured paint on the outside, are getting harder to find. There are plenty of smooth factory finish painted khaki green helmets about(as used on the home front), & being sold as army.
    There are also quite a few refurbed Mk2's that were done in the early 50's.
    Mk1*'s are even harder to find.
    If you are after one & not sure about it, post a picture up here,I'm sure someone will put you right.

  9. #9
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    Now that's interesting, I didn't know army ones were textured and home front smooth.

    I'm all good concerning MKI helmets, I have several but all with WWI liners.

    Tony

  10. #10
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    Here's some WW2 painted helmets.
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