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Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)

Article about: I’ve managed to finally pick up what I believe to be an early British lightweight para helmet. I’ve taken it apart and took some pics. I’ve noticed on the liner that there are two Thetford t

  1. #1

    Default Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)

    I’ve managed to finally pick up what I believe to be an early British lightweight para helmet. I’ve taken it apart and took some pics. I’ve noticed on the liner that there are two Thetford tags that both end with different contract numbers and the helmet has a Permali Glos tag on it. Would be grateful to hear your opinions of it
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)   Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)  

    Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)   Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)  

    Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)   Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)  

    Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)   Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)  

    Early British Lightweight Para Helmet (M76)  

  2. #2

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    Yes, that's exactly what you think it is. And a nice one too. There were other companies making these before the whole contract went to National Plastics. Did you have much trouble breaking it down and then reassembling it? I have always found that suprisingly difficult, though others assert it is easy (though I've never seen them do it!). See here for my own adventures along this path - UK Helmet Parachute breakdown.

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    It was fiddly Greg and by no means easy. Just took my time as I didn’t want to damage or scratch anything. Just need to source a nice set of chinstraps now

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    Great Find Ian and in great shape for it's vintage ,Just curious but what's to make of the white residue over the exterior and can it be cleaned up

  5. #5

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    Quote by James C View Post
    Great Find Ian and in great shape for it's vintage ,Just curious but what's to make of the white residue over the exterior and can it be cleaned up
    Hi James I think this has been like this for a very long time. I’ve posted this up on another forum and a falklands veteran knows the guy who wore that helmet. He has contacted him and has confirmed that this was his helmet. Will get all the info I’ve got together as soon as I can and will repost this soon 👍🏻

  6. #6

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    Just one more thing - this 'M76' business. What's all that about then eh. Now, I admit I have seen very little paperwork (full reveal - none at all really) on this helmet other than the labels and at *no point* does anything ever cite or even refer to its designation as 'M76'. Quite apart from anything else it would be a substantial departure from usual UK kit designations.

    Now I know Marzetti refers to it as a 'Model 1976' and CASQUES DE COMBAT also throws around '1976' a lot in reference to the year of introduction but does *not* use 'M76' or anything like it. Brayley's TIN HATS TO COMPOSITE helmets refers to '1976' only as year of introduction, otherwise calling it the 'Helmet Parachutist'.

    Fisher and Lock's BRITISH AIRBORNE HEADDRESS has a section headed ''76 PATTERN' but does not otherwise call the helmet the 'M76' or any variant thereof. There is a reproduction of some official paperwork regarding tests (seemingly in 1973) which calls it the 'Parachutist Helmet'. By the way I asked Oliver Lock about this on a FB forum and he said he did not know why the 'M76' was ever used and had no idea why it had any currency at all, other than perhaps collectors' shorthand.

    As we all know from the actual labels these are tagged as 'Helmet Parachutists Light Weight' in the early days and then simply as 'Helmet Parachute' during the majority of the NP days, with some not having proper printed labels at all, just generic NP labels with 'Para' written in.

    So what's the point of all this longwinded stuff then eh, those of who who have read this far may be asking; well, first off can someone prove, showing the workings, that this thing was ever at any point officially called either the 'M76' or the Model 76' or anything similar. And if not can we all please just stop using any of those designations? Yes, I know they're in the books, and on Joseba's otherwise excellent website ('M76 Paratrooper') and likely on others as well, but assuming this is wrong (which I do for the moment) can we just *stop*. I'll stop now too. Play the music, open the cage.

  7. #7

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    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    Just one more thing - this 'M76' business. What's all that about then eh. Now, I admit I have seen very little paperwork (full reveal - none at all really) on this helmet other than the labels and at *no point* does anything ever cite or even refer to its designation as 'M76'. Quite apart from anything else it would be a substantial departure from usual UK kit designations.

    Now I know Marzetti refers to it as a 'Model 1976' and CASQUES DE COMBAT also throws around '1976' a lot in reference to the year of introduction but does *not* use 'M76' or anything like it. Brayley's TIN HATS TO COMPOSITE helmets refers to '1976' only as year of introduction, otherwise calling it the 'Helmet Parachutist'.


    Fisher and Lock's BRITISH AIRBORNE HEADDRESS has a section headed ''76 PATTERN' but does not otherwise call the helmet the 'M76' or any variant thereof. There is a reproduction of some official paperwork regarding tests (seemingly in 1973) which calls it the 'Parachutist Helmet'. By the way I asked Oliver Lock about this on a FB forum and he said he did not know why the 'M76' was ever used and had no idea why it had any currency at all, other than perhaps collectors' shorthand.

    As we all know from the actual labels these are tagged as 'Helmet Parachutists Light Weight' in the early days and then simply as 'Helmet Parachute' during the majority of the NP days, with some not having proper printed labels at all, just generic NP labels with 'Para' written in.

    So what's the point of all this longwinded stuff then eh, those of who who have read this far may be asking; well, first off can someone prove, showing the workings, that this thing was ever at any point officially called either the 'M76' or the Model 76' or anything similar. And if not can we all please just stop using any of those designations? Yes, I know they're in the books, and on Joseba's otherwise excellent website ('M76 Paratrooper') and likely on others as well, but assuming this is wrong (which I do for the moment) can we just *stop*. I'll stop now too. Play the music, open the cage.
    Hi Greg I know it’s not an M76 hence why I put it in brackets after Lightweight para helmet in my title. It’s definitely a collector term and one that is probably more recognisable than it’s official name, just try doing a search on google for both names. It’s like the MkIII, MkIV and MkV being called a turtle helmet or the US Para helmets post war being referred to as M1C when only the WW2 version are officially called M1C. There are a lot of wrong terms for lots of militaria out there Greg and facts and accuracy are essential to collecting but it’s one of those collectors terms for a piece of militaria that everyone recognises.

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    Quote by Redstalker View Post
    There are a lot of wrong terms for lots of militaria out there Greg and facts and accuracy are essential to collecting but it’s one of those collectors terms for a piece of militaria that everyone recognises.
    Well yes, what you say is entirely reasonable to a point and something I have noticed myself over the years. I definately remember some collectors being quite impatient with me when I persistently used the 'T' word to describe the Mk3/4. I try not to do it now! Likewise the 'Zuckerman' for the CPH (though not many people knew that, really), and so on, endlessly no doubt.

    The thing is though, should we make an effort to *not* use these terms in order to break the habit? New collectors may learn from what we say (is that optimism or pessimism, I wonder) and if we keep using the wrong terms this will go on indefinately. Being wrong is not right just because a lot of people do it. Or am I being too pedantic. I'm not objective enough to tell. Dangerous waters these though - how many things have I ever asserted that are actually quite wrong? Too distressing to contemplate.

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    Quote by Greg Pickersgill View Post
    Well yes, what you say is entirely reasonable to a point and something I have noticed myself over the years. I definately remember some collectors being quite impatient with me when I persistently used the 'T' word to describe the Mk3/4. I try not to do it now! Likewise the 'Zuckerman' for the CPH (though not many people knew that, really), and so on, endlessly no doubt.

    The thing is though, should we make an effort to *not* use these terms in order to break the habit? New collectors may learn from what we say (is that optimism or pessimism, I wonder) and if we keep using the wrong terms this will go on indefinately. Being wrong is not right just because a lot of people do it. Or am I being too pedantic. I'm not objective enough to tell. Dangerous waters these though - how many things have I ever asserted that are actually quite wrong? Too distressing to contemplate.
    I totally understand where you are coming from as all the terms I learned when I first started collecting back when I was wee nipper are still the terms used now. I fear Greg it maybe to far down the line and as you stated certain websites call these helmets by these terms and collectors of today and the future will see these sites and not question or dispute this as fact (as we know everything written on the internet is the Gods honest truth )

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    Ian That's Great the original owner has been identified ,it might be worth asking him if he could possibly write up a provenance letter for you to add with the helmet for future keeping

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