STEEL HELMETS The steel helmet issued to the 52nd in the United Kingdom was the normal MKI and MKII “Tommy” helmet. This was worn until being issued the Helmet, Airborne Forces later on in the war when the battalion bacame Airborne.
MkII "Tommy" Helmet
Regimental Helmet Flash: A regimental order issued in August 1940 stated that the regimental flash was to be painted on both sides centrally above the ears approx 1 ½ inches above the rim. Size 2 ½ inches long by 2 inches high, colours are stacked on top of each other.
Colours as follows from top to bottom;
Oxford Blue – Dark Blue
Buff – Yellow
Scarlet – Red
Oxford Blue – Dark Blue
When serving with the Airborne Forces the battalion was eventually issued with the special helmet designed for airborne use.
For the most part two patterns of the Helmet, Airborne Forces were worn in the battalion:- The Helmet, Steel, Airborne Forces and the Helmet, Steel, Airborne Forces Mk1.
The Helmet Airborne Forces Mk2 was issued to the battalion in very small numbers and was used during Operation Varsity.
Helmet, Steel, Airborne Forces (Fibre Rim)
The Helmet, steel, airborne troops (also known as the “fibre rim” helmet)
Production of this helmet started on 24 June 1942-Production ended in October 1942; the helmet remained in service until 1946.
The hard rubber rim with lip from the earlier P type helmet was replaced by a 1" fibre rim.
The black leather neck and chin adjustment straps were fitted with several brass grommets; allowing the straps being attached to the shell in several positions for an optimal fit.
Helmet, Steel, Airborne Forces MkI
The Helmet, steel, airborne troops MkI
The MkI helmet was approved in 1942 but manufactured mainly in 1943 and remained in service until 1954.
The fibre rim was replaced by a narrow stainless steel band, the edge of the shell was no longer rounded.
It was used simultaneously with the helmet, steel, airborne troops.
Helmet Steel, Airborne Forces MkII
This particular helmet belongs to the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Museum Collection OBLI6062
The Helmet, steel, airborne troops MkII
In 1943 the MkII helmet was introduced which had webbing straps and a leather chincup. The leather straps on the earlier models were prone to slip in wet conditions. The metal webbing fittings were made from brass with a black finish.
They were not used on a very large scale during WW2, it seems MkII helmets were issued only to replace unservicable earlier patterns.
All the helmets were worn with camouflage netting of which there are two sizes of holes.
A rubber inner tube was also used around the rim of the helmet to keep the net in place and also used for attaching foliage as camouflage to the helmet.