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British / Australian Paratrooper ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops MkII’ – SAS Issue

British / Australian Paratrooper ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops MkII’ – SAS Issue

$1,125.00
Product code: 50

Availability: In stock

Quick Overview:

A BRITISH MANUFACTURED, AUSTRALIAN USED, PARATROOPER ‘HELMET, STEEL, AIRBORNE TROOPS MKII' MADE BY CCL (CHRISTY & CO. LTD) IN 1956 - SIZE 7⅛ WITH CAMO PAINT AND ORIGINAL AIRBORNE PATTERN CAMOUFLAGE NET. THIS HELMET IS ALMOST CERTAINLY PART OF THE CONTRACT BATCH PROCURED TO EQUIP THE 1ST SPECIAL AIR SERVICE COMPANY RAISED AT CAMPBELL BARRACKS, SWANBOURNE IN JULY 1957.  This is a very good original example of a British manufactured Paratrooper ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops Mk.II’ manufactured by C.C.L. (Christy & Co. Ltd) in 1956.  The helmet is still fitted with its original helmet liner and chinstrap and is almost certainly part of the batch procured to equip the 1st Special Air Service Company raised at Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne in July 1957.

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Details

CCL (Christy & Co. Ltd) - Named (Maxwell) - 1956 Contract

A BRITISH MANUFACTURED, AUSTRALIAN USED, PARATROOPER ‘HELMET, STEEL, AIRBORNE TROOPS MKII' MADE BY CCL (CHRISTY & CO. LTD) IN 1956 - SIZE 7⅛ WITH CAMO PAINT AND ORIGINAL AIRBORNE PATTERN CAMOUFLAGE NET. THIS HELMET IS ALMOST CERTAINLY PART OF THE CONTRACT BATCH PROCURED TO EQUIP THE 1ST SPECIAL AIR SERVICE COMPANY RAISED AT CAMPBELL BARRACKS, SWANBOURNE IN JULY 1957.  This is a very good original example of a British manufactured Paratrooper ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops Mk.II’ manufactured by C.C.L. (Christy & Co. Ltd) in 1956.  The helmet is still fitted with its original helmet liner and chinstrap and is almost certainly part of the batch procured to equip the 1st Special Air Service Company raised at Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne in July 1957.

British airborne troops were first issued with their own pattern of helmet in 1941. The first type, known as the ‘P’type helmet, was short lived and was subsequently replaced by the standard ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops’. This was superseded by the MKI, and later the MKII. These three later types utilised a similar shell, but the first featured a black rubber fibre band around the edge and with leather harness (issued July 1942). The MKI retained the leather harness but deleted the fibre band, replaced by a stainless steel rim (issued October 1942).  The MKII, of which this helmet is an example, had the leather harness replaced by canvas webbing (from February 1944).

The MKII was not widely issued until September 1944, although some were used by the 6th Airborne Division in Normandy in June.  It was in widespread use when the Division fought at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden and was issued to the Polish Parachute Brigade. Attached to this listing are a couple of pictures showing paratroopers wearing the helmet during WW2, in Northern Ireland and on the Falkland Islands. A good example of a a British ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops Mk.II’ is held in the collection of the Imperial War Museum as item number: UNI 7936 and can be viewed online at: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30091198 .

This particular helmet has a clear Australian provenance. It was originally purchased from a seller in Perth, Western Australia and is almost certainly part of the batch procured from the UK in late 1956, early 1957 to equip the 1st Special Air Service Company which was raised at Campbell Barracks, Swanbourne in July 1957. After the Second World War, the need for an Australian military parachute capability was not immediately apparent. It was re-introduced with the creation of the airborne platoon of the Royal Australian Regiment (RAR) in October 1951. This unit, created as Australia's first tentative postwar step towards a nascent ‘special forces' capability, was the predecessor of the Special Air Services Company, formed in July 1957. Military parachuting remained the preserve of special forces until the formation of a trial airborne company in 1973 that generated strong support for a conventional airborne capacity in the Australian Army.

This helmet is in good original condition, and shows clear evidence of having been painted at least 3 times during its service life.  Traces of the original olive drab textured painted finish remain on the underside as well as the characteristic black ‘splash’ camoflage often noted on early Australian Special Forces helmets.  The shell appears to have at least two coats of olive drab and desert tan and is patinated consistent with age and use. The helmet is fitted with the correct close meshed Airborne Pattern Camouflage Net.

This helmet was produced by Christy & Co. Ltd as evidenced by the stamp on the liner (see photograph) C.C.L.  The original helmet lining shows significant wear which is not unusual given that these helmets remained in use with the Australian Army until the 1980’s. The helmet is also inscribed on the lining with a number of names including MAXWELL and GENT.  These are almost certainly the names of the troopers to who it was issued during its service.  The leather bracing, webbing straps and a leather chincup are worn and frayed in places. The helmet is fitted with its characteristic leather and webbed liner, with a thick sorbo rubber ring on the inside edge of the helmet. The interior crown has a rubber pad and is fitted with the original four tan web straps and a tie string for fit adjustment. The metal webbing fittings were made from brass with an olive drab finish. The leather sweatband is stamped with the manufacturer’s initials. The liner is fixed by three screws, all of which are original. The helmet has not been restored, re-painted or refurbished.

From Australia, a British manufactured, Australian used Paratrooper ‘Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops Mk.II’ dated 1956 is a superb original example of its type. Almost certainly part of the contract batch procured from the UK in late 1956 or early 1957 to equip the 1st Special Air Service Company, you won’t find better.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 2.2000
Country of Origin Australian, British
Pattern Helmet, Steel, Airborne Troops MkII
Maker CLC
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1956