Help with a British Steel Helmet

Discussion in 'WW2 Militaria' started by derekb, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. derekb

    derekb New Member

    Good Day Everyone,
    This is my first post.
    I have a British Steel Helmet which has three holes in a triangular pattern on the brim, I have read that this is an indication that the helmet is sub-standard and wouldn't have been issued to front line troops, my helmet seems to have been originally painted in a light sandy colour, the exterior is a much darker brownish colour where it appears that sand or something similar has been added to the paint.
    The helmet came from a soldiers family together with all of his kit contained in his kit bag, the soldier served in the Royal Artillery, which seems to conflict with being it being sub-standard, or were the Royal Artillery regarded as not being front line troops, surely they would have been subjected to artillery and aerial bombardment.
    Any advice or comments welcome.
  2. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    There were various patterns of holes applied to helmets manufactured after the Dunkirk losses which reflected a shortage of the manganese steel used to provide ballistic protection. Those with three holes were made of mild steel plate, subjected to cyanide hardening. They were originally to have been painted grey and issued to the Civil Defence services. However, due to continuing shortages, the Home Guard was forced to accept about 700,000 grade 2 helmets during the first part of 1941. These were mainly painted khaki rather than grey. Some had non-magnetic rims but others ordinary steel.

    The Royal Artillery would most definitely have been issued with manganese steel helmets...but the helmets were not private property and should have been returned. Home Guard were far more likely to retain theirs.

    A photograph of date stampings of shell and liner might help but I'd be inclined to suspect that either it was from the same household or that he perhaps had Home Guard service prior to joining up and for some reason the helmet wasn't returned. What sort of other kit did he retain ?
    Giberville, smdarby and Tricky Dicky like this.

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