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Observer Corps "Tommy Helmet"

Article about: Hello chaps, what do you make of this one? It is being sold as a unit marked Royal Observer Corps helmet. Now I will firstly admit that I am no expert on unit markings but I was in the ROC!

  1. #1

    Default Observer Corps "Tommy Helmet"

    Hello chaps, what do you make of this one? It is being sold as a unit marked Royal Observer Corps helmet. Now I will firstly admit that I am no expert on unit markings but I was in the ROC! My concern is not that this is an original unit marking as it appears to be contemporary to the general wear on the helmet. My concern is that even though the "colours" match those on my Corps tie, I would not have thought that the ROC at that time would have had a unit marking like this on their helmets. The only "tommies" that I ever saw in our HQ museum were black painted(not khaki) and had either OC or OBSERVER painted to the front! Oh and this one is £195!! What are your thoughts experts!! Leon.
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    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  2. #2

    Default

    I agree that the unit markings appear to be original to the helmet. As for whether the ROC actually bothered with a unit badge in WW2 isn't that important. I reckon someone who served with them was proud enough of what he was doing to let everyone else know who he was serving with. It wouldn't be the first or the last time that someone added their corps insignia to their own helmet.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  3. #3

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    Morning Leon,

    It appears to be legit:

    Royal Observer Corps

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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    Thanks Ned for that link, I guess that confirms that it is a good peice then as there is a known attributed named one that is very similar. A most unusual item and different to those I ever saw!!Leon.
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  5. #5

    Default

    I couldn't resist, I tried but I just couldn't, I have only gone and bought it!! Joking aside, I know any unit marked Observer Corps helmets are a tough find, and even though I would prefer the earlier black one with the OC to the front I will happily settle for this one. It is a rare "bowler" in it's own right and I have always wanted a wartime one from the unit I served in some 45 years later!! Thanks again Ned for that link, I would not have bought it without seeing that example from the ROC museum and reading their confirmation. Leon.Click image for larger version. 

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    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  6. #6

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    I saw it for sale, flashed helmets are getting more expensive all the time and the price though not cheap is probably there abouts these days and such an uncommonly seen flash, probably not a bad price all things considered, especially if you wanted it Leon and served with them.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  7. #7

    Default

    very nice leon.especially with the personal connection.regardless of cost collecting is as much about wanting that item.as said these unit marked lids are quite scarce now and you simply have to act on impulse,well done on your purchase..........
    With Regards Jake.

  8. #8

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    Thanks Jake, I always wonder what happened to the WW2 helmets and uniforms that we used to have in one of the huts at 6 group Headquarters. I know there is now a small ROC museum at the old RAF Neatishead site here in Norfolk. I may just have to go and have a look and ask some questions, it's only 15 miles down the road. Leon.
    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

  9. #9
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    Looks good to me

  10. #10

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    Hi Chaps, it's arrived!! I am very pleased with this one as my 20 year search for an Observer Corps helmet is at an end! I have given it a light wipe down with a damp cloth,so that's the end of my "tampering" with it. I have taken a few more images of it in natural light. Looking at the layers of paint it appears that this helmet was originally a black home front issue which then had the "unit flash" painted on. Finally the Tan paint was applied carefully going around the "flash" and only around the inner rim on the underside as the inner behind the liner is still black. Tucked right in the base of the shell is a pencil initial of PAB, I guess the original owners mark. I hope you like the new images, Leon.
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    "Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." Ernest Hemingway

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