Category Archives: South Africa

The Dutch-South African Helmet Connection

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South African Artillery in North Africa c1942

For years there has been an argument over the so-called “Polo” style helmet that was captured by German forces and used in the early stages of the campaign in North Africa. This writer actually tried to debunk that these were captured “Dutch” helmets, after a number of sources over the years suggested otherwise.

My argument had been that the Dutch had no African colonies so how could the German military have captured helmets intended for the Dutch Army? Continue reading

The Canadian Pressed Fiber Helmet of World War II

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A Canadian World War II era pressed fiber helmet. While it was against regulations many regiments issued these helmets with cap badges. This example features a 21st Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Corps cap badge. (Collection of the Author)

While little has been written about the American pressed fiber sun helmet, even less has been written about the versions used by Canada. According to our friend and colleague Clive Law the Canadian Army acquired the “fibre” helmets prior to the outbreak of the Second World War for summer training as a substitute for the more expensive and fragile Wolseley helmet.

Continue reading

Shako of the British South African Police (BSAP)

Shako

An interesting cousin to the South African polo style sun helmet is the shako used by forces of the British South African Police (BSAP), which was the paramilitary police force of Rhodesia. It was created as a force of mounted infantrymen in 1889 by Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company. It was originally known as the British South African Company’s Police and run directly but the company. Continue reading

Guardia Nacional/Fuerzas de Defensa de Panama Sun Helmet

Guardia-Nacional1The tropical climate of Panama is one where sun helmets are truly practical. Thus it is not surprising that the Panamanian Defense Forces did use some American pressed fiber sun helmets prior to, and even during, the December 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama known as Operation Just Cause.

This operation occurred to depose Panamanian leader, general and dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega  – the nation’s Maximum Leader – and to safeguard American lives and interests in Panama. Continue reading

A Trail of Khaki

Service Uniforms of Lt Thomas Patrick Milne-Home

Thomas Patrick Milne-Home
Born: 1875
Died: 1956
Commissioned: 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry 6 March 1895
Lieutenant: 3 February 1898
Captain: 1 April 1901

Milne-Home saw service in Crete, 1898, and in the Anglo Boer War, 1899-1901, where he was present at the Battle of Magersfontein (11 December 1899), Retief’s Nek (23-24 July 1900), the skirmish at Wittpoort (14 August 1900), was wounded in action at Dewetsdorp (23 November 1900) and Court Martialed 29 January 1901 for “Shamefully delivering up a post.” Exonerated, reinstated, and promoted to Captain April 1901. Battalion strength upon Embarkation October 23 1899 was 1,111 all ranks. Continue reading