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British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan

Article about: Hi all. Got this helmet the other day. I was drawn to its thick textured desert tan paint job as I have not come across this before. Interior is chocolate brown colour. No date visible but i

  1. #1

    Default British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan

    Hi all. Got this helmet the other day. I was drawn to its thick textured desert tan paint job as I have not come across this before. Interior is chocolate brown colour. No date visible but it is a BMB shell and the liner is FFL 1945.

    The previous owner's name and service number is written rather conspicuously across the front of the helmet. From a rough guide online it looks like the service number puts 23698231 Private Felton as having joined between May 1956 and October 1960. The only historical context that I can think of for this helmet based on this is that it was painted this way for the Aden Emergency (1963- 1967). Contemporary photographs from Aden show helmets painted in a similar fashion. Although generally soft head gear appears to have been favoured during the conflict a quick google search shows that steel helmets tend to make an appearance in crowd control operations. A rather interesting helmet I think. Any comments are welcome.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan   British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan  

    British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan   British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan  

    British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan   British MKIV Turtle Helmet in Desert Tan  


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  3. #2

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    Up to late 1969, Libya was often used for desert warfare training, our battery being (possibly) the last to go. While there, Gadhafi seized power and our battery ended up being there for longer than intended. The point I'm making is that it might have been painted for use in Libya while training.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    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'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  4. #3

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    Certainly an interesting helmet.

  5. #4

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    Quote by HARRY THE MOLE View Post
    Up to late 1969, Libya was often used for desert warfare training, our battery being (possibly) the last to go. While there, Gadhafi seized power and our battery ended up being there for longer than intended. The point I'm making is that it might have been painted for use in Libya while training.

    Cheers,
    Steve
    Thanks for that Steve. I will add that information to my research as I had no idea about British troops training in Libya and I think its fair to say that the list of areas that fit the paint job and time frame of this helmet is fairly short.

    As a matter of interest, roughly how long would a training deployment to Libya usually be?

    Many thanks.

  6. #5

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    I have absolutely no idea. I was a young 17 year old gunner, and just recently arrived in Dortmund in July 1969 to join my regiment. I was assigned to 9 (Plassey) Bty, but most had recently left to carry out desert warfare training in Libya. It was about spring 1970 before I got to see them, they were more or less held 'hostage' until they were eventually allowed to leave the country.
    Cheers,
    Steve.

    A bit of extra info... that service number puts your man some time in the 1960's. My service number starts with 241*****
    Last edited by HARRY THE MOLE; 01-15-2020 at 09:41 PM.
    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'.... 'A Salford Pal: Pte Thomas Jay.'

  7. #6

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    Were these helmets with the desert tan paint used in Cyprus during that late 1950's to mid 1960's era?

  8. #7

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    Anderson, Cyprus is a good shout, although I believe the Emergency period ended in the late 50s and as Steve has helpfully asserted, the service number indicates a 1960s enlistment date. From 1964 British troops were in Cyprus under the auspices of the UN as a peacekeeping force so I would have thought that painting helmets would be a bit superfluous. That being said, never say never. Thanks for the suggestion.

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