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Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion Rimless Brodie

Article about: Hey gents, I recently purchased this salty lid from an ebay seller in the states, it was listed in a lot with 5 other lids. I made an offer for just this lid, thinking that it would likely b

  1. #1

    Default Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion Rimless Brodie

    Hey gents,

    I recently purchased this salty lid from an ebay seller in the states, it was listed in a lot with 5 other lids. I made an offer for just this lid, thinking that it would likely be a 29th Brit Div brodie helmet from the somme. I normally collect CEF, but I didn't want to pass on a rimless!

    Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I had it in my hands and realized that there was more to the insignia than just a red triangle ! I researched further, looking through Australian and British ww1 formation patch references and found nothing.

    Finally, I decided to compare to CEF formation patch references, and discovered that the helmet belonged to a member of the Canadian Cyclist Battalion! The helmet itself is in near relic condition. It has the early small rectangular chinstrap bales, but was fitted at some point with the second pattern liner. The CEF divisional cyclists were amalgamated into a Cyclist Battalion in 1916, so the helmet must have been issued then. The paint is early lighter green with visible brush strokes. The Red triangle and French blue triangle still have plenty of colour, but the dark blue triangle is beginning to flak away. Enjoy!


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    Now, I consider myself to be decently well versed on the CEF in the first world war, but I must admit that I knew nothing about the cyclist battalion. So, more research was done! Information posted here was taken from this thread: Canadian "Cyclist Battalion" in The Great War. - Canada at War Forums



    "As the 1st Canadian Division was forming and training at Valcartier Camp, Quebec it was decided that a cyclist unit should be formed to carry out Intelligence work with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. The first Canadian Cyclist Company sailed for England with the 1st Canadian Division on October 14, 1914 with all ranks which had volunteered for the Cyclist unit from most of the battalions. As it had been decided that all further divisions must carry a Cyclist Battalion on their establishments, the recruiting was handed over and carried out by the Corps of Guides of the N.P.A.M. (Matrix: Non Permanent Active Militia), whose duties were commensurate with the training needs of the Cyclists.

    In addition to the training the Cyclists had received under the direction of the Guides in Canada, a much more intensive course was started in England which consisted of musketry, bombing, and bayonet fighting coupled with the highly specialized role of learning signalling and topography techniques, range-finding, tactics and the use of Lewis guns.

    Due to the more static nature of the war in the early years, the Corps duties were not those for which they had been trained. They carried out traffic control, sapping and mining, trench guide, listening posts, battalion runners and despatch riding duties.

    Owing to the diverse nature of the Corps duties the Cyclists had undertaken, it had become almost impossible to keep track of them, and to that end the various companies were reorganized into Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalions by May of 1916. For the most part the Cyclists spent from four to six weeks in the lines under intense fire which gave rise to an increase in casualties.

    During the last 100 days of the war, the Corps cane into its own. The value of the work they had been initially trained for came into constant use in forming the vital links between the Infantry and Cavalry and keeping in constant touch with the retreating enemy. One unit was attached to the Independent Brigade under the command of Brutinel. All the above duties coupled with reconnaissance duties, proved more dangerous than the early work they had undertaken. 23% of the Cyclists had been killed and the men soon placed "Suicide Battalions" as their nickname.

    Five divisional Cyclist Battalions were formed and It is of interest to note that a Canadian Cyclist was the first allied soldier to cross the Bonn bridge into Germany."

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    I hope you find the helmet interesting, and that you learned a bit about the Canadian cyclists of WW1

    Finally, I'll leave it off with some period photos for discussion of commonwealth cyclists.

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    An officer in the cyclist battalion. Note the shoulder formation patch. Source: https://servicepub.files.wordpress.c...2203.jpg?w=497

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    "A Canadian cyclist shouting into a German dugout during the 2nd battle of Arras." Source: http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ap/a/a003071.jpg

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    Canadian cyclists. Source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/397/18...134cb89b_b.jpg

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    Note the Ross Rifle. Source: https://servicepub.files.wordpress.c...5/02/bike1.jpg

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    Cheers,

    Quinn
    Last edited by matthewsq; 08-27-2016 at 10:06 PM.

  2. #2

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    That is a nice surprise! well done.

  3. #3
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    A rare find indeed. A very nice acquisition, congrats Quinn.

  4. #4

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    Thanks Scott! Still waiting for you to post your brodie collection

    Birkie, thanks! Btw, where in the Canadian prairies are you? I'm in Alberta working for a few months.

  5. #5
    CBH
    CBH is offline
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    The rims often come off these Brodie helmets and the photos show the ghost of a line .
    Nice helmet , I'd consider putting some WD-40 on the rust and should bring out the decals colour .
    Here is a before and after , also note the half of a rim still showing .
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    Cheers Chris

  6. #6

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the reply. I remember seeing a thread on a different forum where you cleaned the helmets and found the insignia, I was actually trying to find the thread to see how you cleaned it, as I remember you had good results. Does the oil help to stop rusting?

    The helmet has the early small rectangular chinstrap bales which from what I have seen and heard are only present on rimless examples. I understand that there is a large misconception regarding "true" rimless brodies versus lids that have just lost their rim to time. However, I have yet to see a helmet with early rectangular bales fitted with a rim. Unless a rim was field depot fitted when the second type liner was added.

    Here is information from "the brodie helmet and it's derivatives" which cites Roger Lucy.

    "A number of changes were approved in April, 1916. These included fitting a mild (magnetic) steel rim and larger lugs with wire loops to the body."

    On the same site, concerning the early brodies:

    "The Brodie helmet went into series production in October, 1915, and had raw rim, small lugs with wire loops and a lining that was made of a type of shiny oilcloth called America Cloth, with six tongues making up the crown."

    Here is the site: War Office Pattern - The Brodie Helmet and its derivatives


    Cheers,

    Quinn

  7. #7

    Default

    it is a really bad idea to oil things like this especially with stuff like WD-40 which is full of reactive agents. these things are best left alone or gently wiped with a lint free rag and mineral spirits if you are really keen to go after them,

  8. #8
    CBH
    CBH is offline
    ?

    Default

    You might be right Quinn , there is somewhat a debate . As for the treatment , I went with WD-40 on a relic due to it's condition and wanted to stabilize what little paint was left , also living on the coast salt air and high humidities rust will slowly eat paint and steel over time .
    Cheers Chris

  9. #9

    Default

    A great pick up on this CEF Cyclists lid, well done. Hard if rimless or not, but certainly a fairly early example with the rippled dome and pale green colour. Any sign of makers mark?
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    A great pick up on this CEF Cyclists lid, well done. Hard if rimless or not, but certainly a fairly early example with the rippled dome and pale green colour. Any sign of makers mark?
    Of course it's a rimless helmet. The early chinstrap loops were only used on rimless helmets.

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