So - this is a new acquisition of mine that I am completely thrilled by - authentic WW I commonwealth helmets to OR's with sacking field made covers are rare enough - but this one is unit battle patched and named to the soldier who wore it. It is the Mk I brodie with no donut c. mid 1916- early 1917 named to Benjamin Baldrey S-20418 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade (confirmed on the medal rolls and the unit WW I nominal rolls) with the correct (faded but clearly yellow) fabric Maltese Cross on the 3 - 9 O'Clock position on the helmet - further confirmed by Warings War Department pamphlet documenting BEF formation flashes, entry D 298. The helmet maker is not one I've encountered before either.
1st Battalion, The Rifle Brigade were at Colchester with 11th Brigade, 4th Division when war broke out in August 1914. 4th Division was held back from the original British Expeditionary Force by a last minute decision to defend England against a possible German landing. The fate of the BEF in France and the lack of any move by the Enemy to cross the channel, reversed this decision and they proceeded to France, landing at Le Havre on the 23rd of August 1914 in time to provide infantry reinforcements at the Battle of Le Cateau. They were in action at the The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne and at The Battle of Messines in 1914. In 1915 they fought in The Second Battle of Ypres and in 1916 moved south and were in action during the Battles of the Somme. In 1917 they were at Arras, in action during the The First and Third Battles of the Scarpe, before heading north for the Third Battle of Ypres, where they fought in The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle and The First Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918 they were in action on The Somme, then returned to Flanders fighting in the Defence of Hinges Ridge during The Battle of Hazebrouck and in The Battle of Bethune, The Advance in Flanders The Second Battles of Arras, the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy. The 4th Division was demobilised in Belgium in early 1919.