I'll try and keep the long story short, but I'm a bit pumped at the moment
A while ago I nabbed a USAAF used RAF Type C Flying Helmet off eBay. It was fairly beaten up with split seams, rock hard ear cups and no chin strap. But it still had the US receivers in place and I could see a name stenciled inside so I figured it must be saved and I was the one to do it!
Once I got the helmet, my next step as always was to see if Stephen Silburn at Sefton Clothing would be willing to do the repairs. As usual he said send it over. I was wavering between having the rock hard ear cups replaced along with the stitching repair and the chin strap. Once Stephen got it in hand, he noticed a bit of yellow paint near the ear cups and also what appeared to be tape residue. Since often times the US receivers were taped in to keep them in place, that made sense. He asked if he could attempt to replicate the tape and paint to get it back to how it would have looked in 44-45. That made sense to me so he went to work.
While he was doing that I was trying to see if I could connect the name to an ETO pilot. My first connection and the one I figured it to be was a pilot from the 366th FG flying Jugs with the 9th AF. I'd found a photo and he was wearing a Type C. But his did not appear to have taped in receivers so I figured I was probably out of luck.
I got the helmet back yesterday and was pleased with Stephen's usual amazing work. I had it in hand again this morning in the sunlight just to get a better look when I noticed on the forehead what looked like a capital Y. Closer inspection revealed the word LUCKY in all caps that appeared to have been painted on with yellow at some point and had mostly worn off. I suppose from the goggles being used.
But Lucky Lowman run a bell and I went scrambling for my books and computer. Turns out Lucky Lowman was a fighter pilot flying Mustangs with the 20th FG 8th AF during WW2. I'd remembered his name from a book on Vietnam Skyraiders written by Richard Drury. Some Googling and I turned up a couple articles on Lowman and well as a couple of photos. It appears he is still living as well!
The photos show the helmet as it looked in 44-45. In one photo LUCKY is clearly visible, while in the other it's been worn off a bit. It also shows he didn't have a chin strap attached so I'll have to remove the one I had added! So I have the Type C of Captain Lucky Lowman, 20th FG.
Images of Lucky Lowman in WW2 showing the helmet in use as well as one showing the faded "LUCKY" and the helmet as set up now with B-8 goggles and A-14 as he had then.
And yes I'm more than excited. What are the odds that the beaten up old helmet turns out to be golden?