Sometimes you come across items from the war and you just wish they could talk. I was having a root through one of my cupboards the other day, and I found a box containing some relics which I had completely forgotten about. I purchased the helmet and water bottle a few years ago, and at the time there was also a cape being offered which went with the two items. All three were being sold as separate items. but in my view, given their history, they deserved to be kept together. I did my best, but to no avail. As I was negotiating the separate purchases, I secured the helmet and bottle, but someone beat me to the cape.
All three items were found in Coudekerque village. They were hidden away in an old barn and were discovered when the owner was having a clear-out. The village is situated just a few miles away from Dunkirque, and so it doesn't take much imagination to speculate that the helmet may have belonged to a French soldier taking part in the retreat in 1940. interestingly, inside the helmet is a page from a newspaper which is dated September 1939. I have no idea why it is in there, but it is obvious that it always has been there. Apart from applying a coating of beeswax polish to the helmet I have left it exactly as it was found. I took the paper out to open it for a photograph and then put it back exactly how it was. I just find myself asking if the soldier made it on to one of the 'little ships' or whether he found himself left behind?