Tag Archives: Uruguay

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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Sun Helmets of Uruguay – From France and America to Monetevido

A French-made M31 pattern sun helmet, likely supplied to Uruguay prior to WWII.

A French-made M31 pattern sun helmet, likely supplied to Uruguay prior to WWII.

While the South American nation of Uruguay managed to stay out of foreign conflicts – and was neutral in both World Wars of the 20th century – internal strife including power struggles resulted in a large standing army that was often prepared for war.

The Uruguayan military forces used a variety of steel helmets prior to the Second World War and most seem to be either of French manufacture or at least French design. The same held true of its sun helmets. This author has previously noted that throughout the 1930s and 1940s the nation’s military officers were required to buy their own uniforms and looked to neighboring Argentina – another South American nation with a strong military tradition – for influence. Continue reading