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 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, has been collecting pith helmets since he was 14. He is an MA in history, arts history and media. Since 1999, he is working as a manager for communications, marketing and corporate publishing in the IT industry. Besides, he presented a TV program on antiques for Servus TV in Austria from 2008 to 2014 – partly in a pith helmet decorated studio.

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.

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 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 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.

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

50 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

  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.

  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.


  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.

  5. Rick Stanfield

    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.


  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?
    Mike Green

  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

    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,


      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

        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.



  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

    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,


      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.


  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.



  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.


  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.

  12. Farrell


    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.

  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,


  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

  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.



  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

  17. Nick Sceusa


    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

  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.

  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.

  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.


    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!

  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

  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?

  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?

  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.

  26. Victor Hando

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


    Victor S Hando GySgt USMC Ret.

  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?

  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???

  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!

  30. Melvin W. Quinene

    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.


  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?

  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

  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.


    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

  35. Robyn Lovett


    The other day, I picked up an old pith helmet from an antique store while vacationing in GA. I collect militaria, mainly American World War II items. I already had a couple US pith helmets in my collection, but this one grabbed my attention. It was labeled “Classic British India Sun Hat” by the seller. It was only $40, so I bought it. After a little online research, it appears to be a British Khaki Sola Pith Helmet (though I could be completely wrong since it’s out of my normal collecting comfort zone). I read those are from the 1930s and replaced the Wolseley pit helmet? It has a tag inside that simply reads in all caps, “MADE IN INDIA.” The underneath part of the brim is green. The inside leather bands that crisscross the interior look like they might have been added later (or reattached) by someone because they’ve been hand sewn-on poorly in OD thread. I was moving over some of the paper and plastic flaps on the inside to look for a maker label, and it looks like someone a long time ago stuffed an old typed memorandum in the top that got stuck there, I would assume from water and sweat over time. There’s no getting it out without peeling it up and destroying it. Can’t read all of what it says very well because other papers have been attached to it over time from said moisture. What’s throwing me though is an embroidered red star patch that has been affixed to the front of the helmet with some sort of glue and five pins at each point. There are three other pins tacked randomly along the outside hat band, I guess to keep it pinned in place. All the pins look old because of rust. The leather strap that went over the top on the outside is not there anymore, but you can see remnants of it still hanging on in the folds of the hand band and in the domed button on top. Looks like it dry-rotted over time.

    Is there anyone that I can send photos to of the hat for more information? The red star made me think originally that it was a Japanese item, and the seller might have mislabeled it. However, it very much looks just like the British Khaki Sola Pith Helmet. Any thoughts? Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  36. Robyn Lovett

    To add to that, I have been able to read some of the memorandum that is stuck on the inside, who it was from. The parts that I can read that are not covered up by other debris
    Inspector General (then can’t read the name)
    ….torate, West Bengal
    …..e & Defence Depart
    …..of West Bengal,

  37. Jeff VanDam

    Thanks to your sight I have been able to identify a Japanese sun helmet my dad brought back from WW2. I remember him talking about being in the Philippines and Leyte. Your Evolution of JIA sun helmet: part IV-1939-41 shows mine in the 1939 March, design patent granted for the type 98 sun helmet liner system. There is I assume Japanese “writing” on the two large sewn in tags on left and right inside top sides. Slightly smaller tag on right looks to be commercially printed, however, larger tag on right looks hand printed. The ink ran some but is still legible. Two other small tabs have Japanese icons as well. If you have any idea what it might say I’d be glad to send pictures via email. Any other information about it would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Jeff VanDam

  38. Libor

    very interesting page and I hope you can help me with my army sun helmet, which I can not determined. How to send photos to someone ? Thanks all Libor


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