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WW1 British / Australian Brodie Pattern Steel Helmet Mk.I (ANZAC - AIF) – 1916

WW1 British / Australian Brodie Pattern Steel Helmet Mk.I (ANZAC - AIF) – 1916

$825.00
Product code: 189

Availability: SOLD

Quick Overview:

AN ORIGINAL ‘MUSEUM QUALITY’ BRITISH MANUFACTURED, AUSTRALIAN USED FIRST WORLD WAR BRODIE HELMET, STEEL, Mk.I PRODUCED BY THE MIRIS STEEL CO. LTD IN 1916 AND FITTED WITH ITS ORIGINAL 6 LINER. THE HELMET IS FINISHED IN ITS ORIGINAL WARTIME KHAKI TEXTURED PAINT.  THE HELMET IS UNRESTORED AND HAS THE PAINTED INSCRIPTION ‘WDH + RJL FEB 22 GY’ ON THE INNER RIM. 

Details

AN ORIGINAL ‘MUSEUM QUALITY’ BRITISH MANUFACTURED, AUSTRALIAN USED FIRST WORLD WAR BRODIE HELMET, STEEL, Mk.I PRODUCED BY THE MIRIS STEEL CO. LTD IN 1916 AND FITTED WITH ITS ORIGINAL 6 LINER. THE HELMET IS FINISHED IN ITS ORIGINAL WARTIME KHAKI TEXTURED PAINT.  THE HELMET IS UNRESTORED AND HAS THE PAINTED INSCRIPTION ‘WDH + RJL FEB 22 GY’ ON THE INNER RIM. 

This is a superb ‘museum quality’ example of a British manufactured Size 6 Brodie Pattern Helmet, Steel, Mk.I manufactured the Miris Steel Co. Ltd in 1916. The helmet is still fitted with its original Size 6 Mk.I helmet liner and is markedon the inner rim with the painted inscription WDH + RJL FEB 22 GY’.  As Michael J Haselgrove & Branislav Radovic describe (P. 194) in their excellent reference ‘Helmets of the First World War’ describe; ‘All demobilised British (and Commonwealth) troops were allowed to keep a helmet as a souvenir’ of their service.

As Roger Lucy describes in his excellent article on First war Brodie Helmets, Britain began to examine the need for a trench helmet in June 1915. Experiments were made with early French Adrian helmets, but the design adopted was one submitted to the British War Office by an inventor with a very chequered history, John Leopold Brodie. Brodie's helmet design was one that could easily stamped from Managnese steel with the pressing technology of the time, and offered good protection from descending projectiles. It went into series production in October, 1915. With the exception of the first 4,440, produced in mild steel, it was made of non-magnetic manganese steel. A superb picture is also attached of Diggers of the 9th Battalion AIF in 1916, wearing their Helmet, Steel, Mk.I’s for an amusing photograph to be sent home. A number of similar helmets are held in the collection of the AWM, the most famous being the one worn by Sergeant W E Brown VC DCM, 20 Battalion, AIF.  That helmet which is listed as item REL/00985.001 can be viewed at: https://cas.awm.gov.au/item/REL/00985.001 .

This particular example is one of those produced after a number of changes were approved in April, 1916 to the original design. These included fitting a mild (magnetic) steel rim and larger lugs with wire loops to the body. A new lining was designed, comprising a top pad of fire retardant material, lint and felt, attached by a copper rivet to the interior of the helmet body along with a leather strap. The strap ends were riveted to hold a basil (reddish brown) leather headband, padded with cotton wool and covered by lint and canvas. Twelve tubular rubber buffers were inserted around the edge of the head. To the headband was sewn a crown made of America Cloth, it had no tongues, instead, an adjustable cotton net fitted it to the wearer's head. The ends of leather strap, which attached the lining to the top of the helmet body, were riveted to two small brass wire loops, to which were riveted, in turn, the ends of a one piece leather chin strap with a plated steel slide buckle. The linked straps passed through larger brass wire loops attached to the chinstrap lugs.

The helmet displays none of the 1917 improvements that were characterized by the introduction of the rubber crown ring, designed to prevent impact shock being transmitted directly onto the wearers skull. As a consequence , this helmet is almost certainly one of those first issued tonthe AIF when it arrived in France from Egypt in 1916.  The lining, chinstrap and oilcloth in this helmet are in excellent original condition.  An excellent article on these helmets is available on the Australian War Memorial website at: https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/blog/introduction-military-helmets .

This helmet is inscribed markedon the inner rim with the painted inscription WDH + RJL FEB 22 GY’.  The meaning cannot be confirmed although it’s possible that the Feb 22 and GY refer to a date and grid reference (many WW1 trench maps used a letter based biogram) while the three letter acronyms are initials. A superb Australian War Memorial (AWM) picture is attached of an Australian Machine Gun Section at Ypres in 1917 also showing Diggers wearing their Brodie’s in action. 

In September, 1916, this modified helmet received the designation Helmet, Steel, Mk.I  As these changes were phased-in between April and September, 1916, combinations of old and new features can be found on helmets manufactured in this period.  The helmet bodies were marked by large letters and digits stamped on the brim to indicate the steel maker and lot number. This example is very clearly stamped with the makers code MLS 27 which indicates that this Mk I was produced by the Miris Steel Co. Ltd early in its production run in 1916. The Linings (made by the Army and Navy Stores, in which Mr Brodie had an interest) were marked BRODIES STEEL HELMET Registered No 65199 WAR OFFICE PATTERN PATENT No.11803/16, the stamping on this example is still clearly visible in red (see photo).  Some 7.5 million Mk.I helmets were produced during the war.

This particular example is still finished in its original khaki textured painted finish.  The inner rim is marked with the hand painted inscription WDH + RJL FEB 22 GY’. The helmet is patinated consistent with age and use and is up there with some of the best finishes I have seen on a Brodie of this age.  The original Mk.I helmet lining, is in good condition, and the leather chinstrap, is complete. The helmet has not been refurbished, restored or repainted.

This British manufactured, Australian sourced, unit marked and named First World War Helmet, Steel, Mk.I is cracking example of its type.  The textured paint finish is particularly good and while the helmet has clearly seen use it’s patina is all the better for it.  If you are after an outstanding and real unspoiled example of a genuine Australian sourced WW1 Brodie, this helmet is it.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 1.5000
Country of Origin Australian, British
Pattern Brodie Pattern Helmet, Steel, Mk.I
Maker Miris Steel Co. Ltd
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1916