Tag Archives: Colonial Pattern

The Uruguayan “Colonial Pattern”

While many South American countries adopted sun helmets that were based on the British Foreign Service Helmet and the French Model 1878 pattern sun helmet, we would be remiss to describe these as “colonial pattern” helmets – notably as many of Latin America’s nations were actually former colonies of Spain. Thus while the helmet was the high domed pattern these were worn by the fully autonomous and independent government armies and military styled police forces – not by a colonial force.

What is unique about these South American helmets too is that little has been documented on their use, and even where these helmets were made isn’t entirely clear. This example above dates from the late 19th century or early 20th century and certainly does feature lines that show a British and French influence. It is a six panel helmet and features the Uruguayan military styled police badge on the front.

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Colonial Pattern Helmets of the Force Publique

A studio photograph of an officer of the Force Publique – wearing a French Model 1886 pattern helmet

A studio photograph of an officer of the Force Publique – wearing a French Model 1886 pattern helmet

Belgian Congo was an interesting state, as it was originally the “Congo Free State” and was the private property of King Leopold II of Belgium. As such it was administrated through a quasi-private military force, the Force Publique (Public Force). Continue reading

The Last Kaiser’s Sun Helmet

Huis-Doorn1

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was forced into exile at the end of the First World War into the neutral Netherlands. From 1920 until his death in 1941 he lived in the small country estate in Holland known as Huis Doorn, which today is a museum and contains many personal items from the last Kaiser.

Among these items is an interesting helmet – which by all appearances is a British six-panel colonial pattern helmet with typical puggaree cloth wrapping. What makes this helmet particularly unique about this example is that it apparently was “created” by Wilhelm. Continue reading

The “Smart” Helmet

A Maxim gun crew during the 2nd Boer War. Note the officer’s helmet far right.

A Maxim gun crew during the 2nd Boer War. Note the officer’s helmet far right.

Over the years of the Colonial Pattern Foreign Service Helmet there were many variations in style; by era, by construction material and by manufacturer. In the latter days of the 19th Century no style was more pronounced, nor more impractical than the so-called “smart” helmet. Continue reading

Sun Helmets in the London Guards Museum

Later Victorian Era uniforms and sun helmets at the Guards Museum

The Guards Museum in London chronicles the story of the five regiments of Foot Guards  (the Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards, and Welsh Guards). Its collection includes many fine examples of military sun helmets. Continue reading