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The Story of the Sun Helmet Continues

Since launching MilitarySunHelmets.com over two years ago Stuart Bates and I have continued our study on the history and development of the sun helmet. We have also been helped along the way.

We wish to thank Benny Bough, Pedro Soares Branco, Enzo Faraone, Dr. Chris Flaherty, Roland Gruschka, James A. Holt, Clive Law, Shea Megale, Piero Pompili and Michael S. for their excellent contributions to this site.

This story won’t end anytime soon.

Peter Suciu
January 2014

The Wolseley Helmet of Major George Henry William Baird, Seaforth Highlanders.

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Major George H. W. Baird was born on 10 January 1903. He married Catherine Augusta Forester on 22 January 1931. George Baird was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, England.

George Baird was a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military College and was gazetted as a 2nd Lt in the Seaforth Highlanders on 30th August 1923. In October of 1928, Lt. G. H. W. Baird was selected for service on Staff and was appointed A.D.C. to the Governor & G.O.C. in C. (General Officer Commanding in Chief) Gibraltar. I believe this is the time period when he purchased this helmet. Continue reading

Mystery Solved – Victorian British General Staff Officer’s Foreign Service Helmet circa 1884-86

HeaderThe subject of this article is a Foreign Service Helmet that I acquired 10 or so years ago from an antique mall in Canada. The seller did not represent it as anything in particular. It was just an old military helmet and plume with no provenance. Since that time it has been the focus of much frustration, as I have tried to nail down exactly what it is. I must thank my new friend Stuart Bates, for his “dog with a bone” attitude in helping me finally identify it, with certainty! Also thanks to Clive M. Law, Benny Bough, and my old friend Douglas N. Anderson, for their assistance and contribution in this effort. Continue reading

The Luftwaffe Sun Helmet

LuftCrewWhen the German army headed to North Africa and other tropical regions during the Second World War it utilized the sun helmet. The Luftwaffe, Germany’s air arm, followed ground units to the Mediterranean theater where it made up a significant portion of the “Afrika Korps,” and included the Fliegerführer Afrika.

The Luftwafffe personnel, who included air crews, Flak troops and support units were equipped with a variation of the Model 1940 sun helmet. Continue reading

The Gloucestershire Back Badge

Battle of Alexandria 1801During the Battle of Alexandria in 1801 the 28th Foot (North Gloucestershire) Regiment was attacked from behind by the French. The commanding officer Lt. Col. Paget then gave the famous order “Rear rank, 28th. Right about face.” With consummate discipline the rear rank turned to face the attacking French and at short range fired one devastating volley which caused heavy casualties and forced the enemy’s withdrawal.

For this action the regiment was allowed the distinction of wearing badges on both the front and rear of the head-dress. Only the two regular battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment, formed by the amalgamation of the 28th and 61st Regiments which occurred as a result of the Cardwell/Childers reforms of the British Army in 1881 were allowed this distinction. Militia and Volunteer battalions were not allowed this distinction. Continue reading

The Chinese Sun Helmet

Chinese1Many armies marched into China while wearing sun helmets. This included the European powers that fought in the Boxer Rebellion, the American soldiers that protected U.S. interests in the early 20th century, and notably the Japanese that invaded in 1937.

However, the sun helmet was also used by Nationalist forces during the prolonged war with Japan. Continue reading

Royal Corps of Signals

A Royal Corps of Signals (RCS) radio party in Quetta, India 1932. (Photo Peter Suciu)

A Royal Corps of Signals (RCS) radio party in Quetta, India 1932. (Photo Peter Suciu)

The Royal Corps of Signals was formed in 1920 however prior to that date the Royal Engineers provided a communications system during the Crimean War and the Abyssinian War of 1867 brought further active experience for the telegraphists and signalers of the Royal Engineers. 1

Note the white/blue armband worn by the signalers in the above photograph.

Continue reading