Tommy helmet worn by Lt Colonel John Oliver-Bellasis DSO, 8 Royal Fusiliers, Italy

Discussion in 'British Army Units - Others' started by 509thPIB, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. 509thPIB

    509thPIB Well-Known Member

    The Fusilier Museum London opens up its collection and explores its human stories | Culture24

    The Fusilier Museum London opens up its collection and explores its human stories
    By Richard Moss | 04 May 2011

    Among the headgear, which ranges from Boer War headdress and German trench helmets through to modern Kevlar lids worn by today’s Fusiliers, is a Tommy helmet worn by Lt Colonel J Oliver-Bellasis DSO in Italy during World War Two.

    Holed dramatically to the front, this famously old-fashioned protection served the British Army through two world wars. This one saved its wearer from a German bullet.

    The bullet damaged Brodie helmet from the Italian campaign.
    © Richard Moss / Culture24
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Recommendation for Award for Oliver-Bellasis, John Rank: Major Service No: ... | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 373/5/7
    Name Oliver-Bellasis, John
    Rank: Major
    Service No: 30693
    Regiment: 8 Battalion Royal Fusiliers
    Theatre of Combat or Operation: Italy
    Award: Distinguished Service Order
    Date of announcement in London Gazette: 04 May 1944

    "167 Brigade, 56 Division, 10 Corps
    30693 Substantive Major (Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) John OLIVER-BELLASIS, 8th Battalion ROYAL FUSILIERS

    On night 17/18 Jan 44, the task allotted to 8 RF was to cross the R. GARIGLIANO, to advance 2 1/2 miles and to seize the commanding feature Pt 411, over 1200 ft high.

    Directly after the Bn crossed the river it was subjected to enemy DF fire and in addition met considerable enemy opposition, including MG and mortar fire, wire and mines. Throughout the advance Lt-Col OLIVER-BELLASIS encouraged his men forward with the utmost coolness and bravery and it was mainly due to his leadership that his Bn overcame opposition and seized the feature which was vital to the success of the Corps plan.

    On the following morning, finding his left flank unprotected, he re-adjusted his positions in spite of enemy fire and so enabled it to be held.

    Throughout the seven days that 8 RF were in forward positions, which were constantly counter-attacked, Lt-Cxol OLIVER-BELLASIS' coolness and courage gave great confidence to all ranks and inspired them, not only to hold their positions, but to take such offensive action as to drive the enemy away from their vicinity."

    Attached Files:

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  4. 509thPIB

    509thPIB Well-Known Member

  5. 509thPIB

    509thPIB Well-Known Member

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  6. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    From 8 RF War Diary (WO169/10213):

    9 September 1943 SALERNO BAY
    Assault landing made in Salerno Bay at Spineta Nuovo (764173, 1/50,000 Sheet 197 I.)…
    0930 Lieut Colonel J. Oliver-Bellasis wounded in head, believed by shell splinter.


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  7. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    To follow up on Tom's post. There is no mention of Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver-Bellasis resuming command nor is he mentioned as being wounded on the two 3008s in the WD.

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  8. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Gary,

    I agree with your remark re the AW 3008's, but my transcription contains this:

    18 September 1943
    CO rejoined the Battalion and took over command.

    Major J.R. Cleghorn had assumed command in his absence.

    I assume he would have been kept in the bridgehead in one of the Beach medical units?


  9. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Hi Tom,

    Ooops, yes you're right - I was scanning for his double-barrelled name. :D And the first AW 3008 was on the 19th...

  10. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    And a hell of a name it is! :D
  11. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    Point 411 to which the DSO citation refers to is Monte Damiano, a huge feature that overlooks the Lower Garigliano and the town of Castelforte.

    Securing the feature so quickly was a coup for 167 Inf Bde.


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  12. Gary Tankard

    Gary Tankard Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2018

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