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SAPHI (South African) Compo

Article about: This isn't the most common of Compos and without a label it's not easy to be 100% certain re dates / makers BUT I strongly suspect this to a SAPHI-made Compo from the '90s....possibly. See C

  1. #1

    Default SAPHI (South African) Compo

    This isn't the most common of Compos and without a label it's not easy to be 100% certain re dates / makers BUT I strongly suspect this to a SAPHI-made Compo from the '90s....possibly.

    See Composite Helmet, Ballistic helmets, Military helmets SOUTH AFRICA, SOUTH AFRICAN helmet, Kevlar helmet for more

    I got this from a visiting (to W&P) Polish friend of mine who told me it had come from Polish SF (from Afghan) - I have no way of confirming this but why shouldn't it....SF seem to prefer using everyone else's helmets!

    It's a pretty unique shape - when I first saw it I thought it was yet another PECOC variant. The liner is incomplete and it's breaking down into an unpopular carpet-staining powder. The central chin-cup piece is missing (anyone?), there's no label....and the harness is black (the other's I've seen in pics are green/khaki)....but apart from that it's beautiful ;-) ...eye of the beholder and all that.....

    It LOOKS small but it fits big heads....and its clearly had a sand-ish over-paint.

    'never seen one in the flesh till W&P.......ahhhhh.....only 261 days to go........

    SAPHI (South African) CompoSAPHI (South African) CompoSAPHI (South African) Compo

    ...'would be interested in a Chin Cup section and any more info......oh, and a cover.....and some carpet cleaner, preferably before she comes home!

  2. #2


    Real nice Helmet Ade and a new one on me i must admit so thanks for sharing Totally agree on the unusual profile shape and love the been there look about this example
    Regards James

  3. #3


    So there IS somebody there! :-)

    ..seriously, this was quite a coup for me .....and it seemed to fall on stony ground......thank you JC.

  4. #4


    What? I dunno boss, wasn't paying attention. Did you speak? Was it interesting? I dunno.

    ANYWAY, I do believe you are right and this is a SAPHI compo and is essentially the same thing as illustrated by Chris Johnson and Eric Lacaze on CompoSite. (Remember the days when CompoSite actually had *contributors*? It was so much easier to get enthusiastic way back then in the Golden Age of the early 2010s. And I am sure people actually used to access it and read through it then too, but then I understand that actually *reading* websites is all so passe today up here in the new wonderland of the future.) It is of note though that both their examples and *every other* I have been able to find on the web have the heavy khaki (almost British Mk2 HSAT) straps. But cleaely the shell and liner are the same. So far so interesting, an unusual piece that I bet cost you less than £200, which in some circles seems to be the asking price for any slightly unusual compo.

    I started to wonder about SAPHI (South African Pith Helmet Industries) and whether they still existed in some form, or even when they expired entirely. Actually unable to find answers to either question really, but when I added their base town of Rosslyn into the search terms I found a link to the Botswana Cap and Helmet Manufacturers, who although based in Botswana do have an office (and perhaps more) in Rosslyn S.A. And if you go to Ballistic Helmets - Botswana Cap and Helmet you will find a small range of composite helmets and one of them, the BH-06, could well be the same as the helmet Composite started this thread with, and if they sell them for export might explain why a Polish soldier had one.

    It seems from their webpage that the Botswana CHM started in 1963 when SAPHI was still going strong. I think - with little real evidence - that SAPHI folded some time in the ealry 2000s. To what degree it was absorbed by the Botswanan company... well I dunno, boss.

  5. #5


    Ah-ha! how interesting...I shall write to them forthwith...or even sooner!

    forgive me for a short while whilst I sit and lament the old days of CompoSite....and other Helmet websites which are now little-used/ was a great idea tho ;-)

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