The headgear of officer’s has always been somewhat distinct from what the ranks wore – except for combat helmets typically. However, at the tail end of the Second World War it seemed that the American pressed fiber helmet was worn as much by those in command as those serving in the ranks. General Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith (center) – who is often credited as the father of modern U.S. amphibious warfare – can be seen along with other American military leaders wearing the distinct headgear. We can only imagine where their respective helmets are now.
Our friends at the National Museum of the Marine Corps recently shared some photos of the above helmet. It is truly something we’ve never seen before. It was suggested that the unique triangular metal plate may have been worn to identify the owner as an “instructor” but more information isn’t available. Continue reading →
It has been long established that there were two makers of the American pressed fiber sun helmet –Hawley Products and the International Hat Company. As we’ve previously noted, the USMC blueprints for the helmets dated back to the 1940s, however we’ve been provided with the original patents from 1935 and 1936. These were filed with the U.S. Patent Office by Jesse B. Hawley, the founder of Hawley Products and apparently the original inventor and patent holder of the Hawley sun helmet. Continue reading →
What is less understood is when and more importantly where the Corps used the Model 1887/89 pattern sun helmets. It has been argued by collectors that the USMC may have adopted its own helmets – which were similar to the Model 1881 helmets that were utilized by some National Guard and State Militia units. It is true that the USMC Band helmets are close to those designs. Continue reading →
Photo: Digital Commonwealth of the Massachusetts Collections Online
Since its introduction in the middle of the 19th century various military forces have used neck curtains as a way to shield the harsh rays of the sun from a soldiers neck. First introduced in India circa 1842, the neck curtain – commonly dubbed a “Havelock” – was not limited to use in India, or even by the British military. The French Foreign Legion may be one of the best examples of a military to use the neck curtain – in part thanks to movies and books, which showed the Legion in North Africa with a kepi and havelock. However it seems that even in the recent past military planners have considered how these simple neck curtains could be incorporated with modern combat helmets. In the 1970s the American military tested some helmet covers that could be left unfolded in the back as a way of creating an ad hoc Havelock neck curtain.