About Us/Contact Us

 

Stuart Bates has been an avid collector of British and Australian headgear for over 20 years, and his collection includes more than 140 items ranging from 1768 to 1953. Stuart has written extensively about the subject of military helmets, in magazines such as The Armourer and the Military Trader. He also wrote his book on the Wolseley helmet and is an active contributor on several militaria forums. Stuart lives in Victoria, Australia.

Email: stuartbates[at]bigpond.com

Peter

Peter Suciu is a freelance business reporter and his work has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and websites including Newsweek, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, Forbes, Fortune.com, CNBC.com, Inc.com, Wired, Playboy and Reader’s Digest.

He has collected military helmets since his great uncle Louis Suciu bought him a British steel helmet in 1981. He currently has more than 400 helmets, including nearly 200 sun helmets and other tropical headgear. He covers military history and militaria for Military Heritage, Military Trader, Military Surplus and Armchair General. He is the author of Military Sun Helmets of the World. When he’s behind a computer keyboard Peter is a regular fixture at various military collectible shows including Show of Shows (SOS), MAX, The Baltimore Antique Arms Show, The West Coast Historical Militaria Collectors Show and The Michigan Antique Arms Show.

He sells original, quality militaria at his website PlundererPete.com.

Email: petersuciu[at]gmail.com

Roland Gruschka with his helmet collection shown in the background.

Roland Gruschka with his helmet collection shown in the background.

Roland Gruschka, Germany, is living on this planet already 5 years longer than Lord Roberts has spent in India. An MA in history, arts history and media, he is a manager for communications, marketing and corporate publishing in the IT industry.

He presented a TV program on antiques for Servus TV in Austria from 2008 to 2011 – partly in a pith helmet decorated studio and has been collecting pith helmets since he was 14.

The wish to own a pith helmet originated in a movie, first seen as a little boy: A British officer climbs a rock to watch a party of Dervishes. His helmet rolls down the steep rock, is lost and the officer suffers severe sunstroke and blindness. Roland doesn´t consider in necessary to mention the title of this movie to the readers of this website.

Email: RolandGruschka[at]web.de

James Holt and his daughter Veronica enjoying some quality time in "the Room."

James Holt and his daughter Veronica enjoying some quality time in “the Room.”

James Holt is a Graphics Color Specialist, and to some degree an Historical Artist, living in the United States of America. He has been collecting militaria for thirty years. The British campaigns of the late Victorian era have always held a particular interest, with an emphasis on the Second Anglo Boer War. 

 Email: holt430[at]comcast.net

pith on self!

Shea Megale is a young author from Virginia, U.S.A.  She has written nine novels and three children’s books and is a serious collector of old photos, most particularly ones featuring pith helmets. Shea’s fifth novel, Emporium, was the genesis of her collecting and is an alternative history, c1895, where the creation of a noxious gas practically destroyed the planet’s wildlife. “Thus, this society’s celebrities are not musicians or inventors, but Hunters, who brave the barren, dangerous wilderness in pursuit of the last living animals for the last living zoo in the world, the Emporium.”

Shea’s website is http://sheamegale.weebly.com/index.html and she can be contacted at – Email: klmmjm1995[at]gmail.com

Piero

Piero Pompili was born in Rome, Italy in 1955. He studied accounting and then biology in Rome, but has had an interest in military history from an early age, with particular interest on the British and Italian colonial events. He has been an avid collector of uniforms and accessories of the English and Italian Armies . His other interests include weapons and shooting. Piero lives in Rome with his wife and daughter.

Email: piero55[at]me.com

Pedro
Pedro Soares Branco, MD,  is chief of staff in the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Department of Curry Cabral Hospital in Lisbon, and assistant professor in the Lisbon Faculty of Medical Sciences. He is also a member of the Portuguese Fine Arts Academy, a life-long militaria collector and a militaria consultant for the Portuguese Military Museum and the Ajuda National Palace. He has published four books and several articles on the subject of Portuguese militaria.
jonairport

Jon A. Maguire  was born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jon graduated with a degree in Clothing, Textiles and Merchandising from Oklahoma State University. He has been collecting militaria since he was a small boy. Jon’s dad, Joe D. Maguire, served as a C-47 pilot in the 27th Air Transport Group, stationed in England and France during the second World War. His Great Grandfather, A. B. Davis was on the Punitive Expedition in 1916, chasing Pancho Villa on the Mexican Border. Jon served as historian to the 27th Air Transport Group, and wrote their unit history, Gooney Birds and Ferry Tales, The 27th Air Transport Group in WW2. Jon also has a number of books in print on US Air Corps flight jackets, uniforms, insignia and flight gear. He has also co-authored books on German headgear. Jon has a passion for German spiked helmets as well as Victorian British, French, and American head gear. Jon has two adult children, Sean and Megan, and is married to Rhonda – 31years and counting.

email: c47skytrain[at]gmail.com

46 thoughts on “About Us/Contact Us

  1. Jeff Dickinson

    Fantastic site! Could you provide me with information or place me in contact with Mr. Holt about the great display heads in his collection/ photos? Many Thanks

    Reply
  2. Mark Kasal

    Peter: I use your book all of the time. I also refer it to other members of the Company of Military Historians. It seems that the “lowly” headgear items have been greatly elevated. Do any of your contacts have an ORIGINAL U.S. Marine Corps summer helmet either officer or enlisted? If so I would like to contact them and get some details.

    Reply
  3. Norman Thelwell

    Great website, well arranged and excellent illustrations. I have a request regarding a Wolseley Helmet I have owned for a number of years. If I send photographs (as an email attachment) can you please identify the regiment and confirm the age of the helmet. Thanks.

    I presume this email request would be directed to Stuart Bates and Peter Suciu.

    All the best.

    Norman

    Reply
  4. Jan Britton

    Great website, really interesting to read. I shall hunt out your book. In the meantime I will email Peter some pictures of my father’s sun helmet from his time as an officer in the Army of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the 1950s.

    Reply
  5. Rick Stanfield

    Hello,
    I am looking to purchase an M1899 Summer Helmet as issued to the U.S. Army. Please contact me via email with information, condition and price.

    Thanks

    Reply
  6. mike green

    Hi, I found this to be a helpful and informative website. I purchased the book which is excellent especially for beginning research on the subject. I also have a quilted Cawnpore Tent Club Helmet which I’m interested in selling. Could I do so through this website?
    Regards,
    Mike Green

    Reply
  7. Anne Wares

    I was very excited to find your website. The St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society are working on a project to study the effects of the First World War on the city of St Albans, which we intend to publish. One of the major industries in the town was straw hat manufacturing and we were puzzled at first learning that straw helmets were being made during the war. E Day & Co were notably involved in this. I understand that straw helmets had been made in Luton at the end of the 19C for the police and fire departments. I would very much like to know more about the British straw helmet business and particularly anything known about the trade in St Albans. If it is possible I would like permission to use one of Stuart’s photos of the Wolseley Helmets made by Days in our intended book.
    Many thanks!
    Anne Wares

    Reply
    1. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

      Dear Anne,
      please feel free to use my photos (and thank you for asking). If you would like very high resolution copies then email me at stuartbates[at]bigpond.com.

      As a byproduct of what you are doing is it possible that you could pen a short article for our website?

      Best regards,

      Stuart

      Reply
      1. Anne Wares

        Thank you, Stuart.
        I’m not sure just what kind of thing you’d like, but I would try to produce a short article when we wrap up this part of our research. As the common view is that straw hat making died out after the turn of the century it was a great surprise to find out that the straw helmet business was extremely large during the War. You may be interested to know that the man who was greatly involved insetting up E Day’s helmet division was Tom Noblett, who after the war started his own business Helmets Ltd, which is still going strong.
        Yours, Anne

        Reply
        1. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

          Hi Anne,

          Jon Mein has been in contact and I have sent through several hi-res photos and a booklet titled The Story of Helmets Ltd which is available on their website.

          I shall be very interested in whatever your research comes up with and don’t forget that we would love a short article for our website.

          Cheers,

          Stuart

          Reply
  8. Anne Wares

    Thanks very much for the pictures, Stuart. I have read the Story of Helmets and am hoping that someone in the firm may still be able to tell me more about Tom Noblett. Can you tell me if the straw helmets were solely sun protection, or also military protection?
    You might also like to know that one of the members of our team is photo archivist at the Imperial War Museum in London. He had never heard of helmets being made of straw-and nor had his colleague in the Helmet department. We feel quite chuffed at being able to inform the IWM of something!
    Yours, Anne

    Reply
    1. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

      Hi Anne,
      the straw helmets, and in fact the cork and felt ones, were for sun-protection only. They certainly provided no ballistic protection. In earlier times there were anecdotes which indicated that a cork helmet with a thick puggaree did provide some protection from a sword cut.

      Glad to hear that you got one on the IWM :-)

      Best regards,

      Stuart

      Reply
      1. Peter Suciu Post author

        Hi Anne–
        The only thing I would add from what Stuart said is that the sun helmet did provide “military” protection in that it did reduce casualties from heat stroke. In some parts of Africa – notably the West African coast – many soldiers succumbed to illness related to the elements.

        In this way the helmets did help provide a sense of protection. When the sun/pith helmet was introduced only cavalry units were still using steel helmets. Infantry helmets were not introduced until the horrors of the First World War.

        Cheers,
        Peter

        Reply
  9. Don Elsrd

    G’day Stuart,

    I came across this website in the course of my studies into Royal Australian Navy Uniforms throughout the years and wondered if you could help me in clarifying a few points?

    1. When did official use of the Sun Helmet in the RAN cease?
    2. When did official use of the Cocked Hat in the RAN cease?

    I wasn’t sure if you’d know anything about the Cocked Hat, but it is a point of interest to me.

    Cheers,

    Don

    Reply
  10. Stuart BatesStuart Bates

    Hi Don,

    according to the Curator of Artefacts the Royal Naval Museum use of the sun helmet was discontinued about 1955. I suppose that the RAN followed suit if they had not already done so.

    I have read that the Royal Navy discontinued the use of the cocked hat in 1940 and can only conclude that the RAN once again followed suit.

    You could try contacting Ronald Kirsch at ronald.kirsch[at]defence.gov.au for more definitive information.

    Stuart

    Reply
  11. Leo

    Hello I found a Boer War British Artillery Field Cap Middle 1800s to late 1800s.
    If you’re interested or anyone else and I need more professional information on this very rare cap. Was a lucky find! And I also have a British Red Ensign ships large flag, the only one of two in perfect condition I’ve ever seen in my life that’s an estimate year of the late 1700s to the middle 1800s. The only other flag I’ve seen anywhere else is in a Ships Museum in the Western-Cape. And I have a few very interesting relics dived off a well known ghost ship the HMS Birkenhead 1853 Gansbay during Makoma’s War against the Zulu’s. If anyone’s interested. I’m looking for serious buyers and collectors.

    Reply
  12. Farrell

    Hello,

    I am trying to locate information on how the sun helmet is made. What kind of paper is used, how the twill is stretched and formed over the helmet and how the helmet is molded into shape. Been searching through books and the internet and I come up empty.

    Reply
  13. David

    Hello Peter,

    I have a cast iron hat mold from the factory its ww 11 era. It appears to be a sun visor pith style military hat mold.

    The Only mark on it is 7 1/4 which suggests to me it could be an American hat mold?

    I was curious about how common these were and the rough value? I have never seen one in all my years of collecting.

    Thanks for your time,

    David

    Reply
  14. Raj Guram

    Chanced upon your lovely website! Have enjoyed it very much. I make camping gear with Campaign style furniture . The Sola topees hark right back to that time and spirit.
    Good Luck.
    Raj Guram

    Reply
  15. Jon Maguire

    Hi Mark – I would love to talk to you about a US m1881 cavalry officer’s helmet I am seeking. Drop me a line when you can.

    Thanks,

    Jon

    Reply
  16. Anne Wares

    Hello again, Stuart,

    I’m still trying to find out more about the WW1 production of military sun helmets by E Day & Co (St Albans). The company claimed in 1920 to have made 750,000 helmets for the British Army during the war. This seems to me to be quite a considerable number. I wonder if there is anyone in your group who could give me an idea of how many sun helmets in total the British Army might have needed, particularly between 1916-1918. What other companies are known to have made them at that period? Also, I understand that the traditional method of making helmets (of all sorts) was one man-one helmet (from start to finish). Any ideas on how many one man could make in a day? If any of you could even give me some ideas on where I could get such information I would be very grateful!

    Many thanks, Anne

    Reply
  17. Nick Sceusa

    Hi,

    I am a scientist. My field is drug delivery. I have occasion to travel to very warm and very hot climates. I am looking for a pith helmet, preferably with pith rather than cork, in a size 8 1/8 (24 1/2 inches SAE) or 63 to 63.5 cm. Can you advise where I may purchase one. I have not been able to get one since Whiteleys closed in 1970 in London. Do you know of any makers who will accept an order?
    I particularly like the one Teddy Roosevelt is wearing on your website.
    Thank you.
    Dr. Nicholas A. Sceusa
    gelsus@gmail.com

    Reply
  18. Will Fox

    Absolutely fantastic site! I purchased the book, Military Sun Helmets of the world which has been great fun reading through. I have been collecting Sun helmets since I was 12 years old. Am still collecting at 36! Would love to find the right Cawnpore Tent Club in good condition. Also am wondering if anyone has a cork Foreign Service, original or (correct) reproduction, they might be interested in selling on.
    Best regards.
    Will

    Reply
  19. Bill Putko

    Great site. I too am an avid student of history and collector of helmets and other militaria (mainly edged weapons and shooting). I love it all!!! It’s always gratifying to find a group of people who also are interested in similar and related interests. Best regards, Bill.

    Reply
  20. Kris

    I recently purchased a green pressed fiber pith helmet. It has five folds and leather liner and chinstrap. There are three v shaped side vent holes and three front horizontal vent holes. Am trying to determine the age and any other info on this helmet. Thanks for any help.

    Reply
  21. DALE ELLIS

    I recently acquired a WWII era German AK pith helmet. It misshaped and the crown looks like the vet must have stuffed it in his duffle bag coming home. Hopefully I can restore it and respectfully ask for any tips or thoughts on what would be the best way to proceed. My first thoughts would be to steam it but the leather sweatband looks almost mint and I’m worried it would stain or shrink it. Thanks!

    Reply
  22. Clayton

    I have a Hawley model 1790 that is painted gold with a paper banner riveted to the front that says, “South Alabama Fair”. It also has all of the leather straps intact. Can anyone tell me the history of this hat. Very interesting. Thanks

    Reply
  23. Steven Jennett

    Can you tell me which Japanese pith helemt is worth more the pith with the star or the tropical with the metal star? Also am always leary of reproductions or replacement parts can you shed some light on this type of helmets?

    Reply
  24. LT Joe

    I am a US Navy officer, even though these are no longer authorized for wear I would like to get a genuine new pith helmet. I see so many adds on the internet that I am not sure who is reputable or not. Do you have any recommendations?

    Reply
  25. Catherine Rousseau-Jones

    I was very touched to see a photo of W.D. Wroe. We only thought that one member of the family was lost during WW1 but research has shown otherwise.

    Could you please pass on my email address to Toby Riley-Smith who like me seems to be descended from Dent Wroe (b1812) of Burnley?

    Very interesting and much valued background information.

    Great website.

    Reply
  26. Victor Hando

    Need to find a USMC sun Helmet of the 1940 tom1960 era, Can you help me??

    Thanks,

    Victor S Hando GySgt USMC Ret.

    Reply
  27. ed piller

    i have picked up a Wolseley Pattern military pith helmet made by Hobson and Sons – question is, it has a black puggaree (with six folds) – any idea which unit used this puggaree? I think the Palestine Police did but am not sure when this was discontinued – any ideas?

    Reply
  28. Victor Hando

    I am trying to find a Marine Sun helmet like the type worn by Marine rifle Range coaches and pre WWII Marines. I am a retired Marine and would like to get one for my father who is a Korean War Marine a veteran of Chosin Reservoir. Any ideas???

    Reply
  29. Stuart Levine

    I am a state law enforcement officer who collects ONLY “spike-topped” POLICE helmets!
    Are you aware of ANY like-minded collectors out there?
    Or sources for CURRENT ones?
    Thank You!

    Reply
  30. Melvin W. Quinene

    Hello,
    Greetings from Guam, I am interested in purchasing the famous pressed fiber helmets better known as the ptih helmet or sun helmet that were used here in the pacific theater during WW 11 as well as elsewhere I am sure, would any of you be kind enough to send me price qoutes ? I sure would appreciate it, I was able to purchase a couple from Sgt Grit’s website a few years back , and have been unable to come across them on that site any longer, thamkyou for your time.

    Melvin

    Reply
  31. Prescott

    Aloha! I’m from Hawaii and a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard Royal Guard. We represent the historical Royal Guard of the Kingdom of Hawaii under King Kalakaua. We wear the same uniform that they did during the monarch and are in need of replacement items for them, especially our helmets. Could you help me to find someone who would be able to replace such things as the spike and chain?

    Reply
  32. Charles Spence

    I am the military curator of the Indiana Historical Society museum at Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I have a mannequin dressed in a original 1889 Spanish American year military uniform and I am looking for a helmet for him. Do you sell such items. If so do they come in sizes and what is the cost? I will awaiting your answer.
    Thank you

    Reply
  33. Raymond Moore

    I have just came across your site and it is very interesting. Looking at the US WWII experimental sun helmet I would like you to know I also have one that came from a veterans estate.

    Reply
  34. DELFINO OCHOA YUDICO

    hI!!! I live in Mexico City and I want to know where I can to buy this hat, please if you know tell me .
    Best Regards

    Reply
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