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US MP/British manufacture dispatch helmet


GITom1944
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White-painted steel crash helmet of a lieutenant. U.S. MP motorcyclists in the ETO were issued a British manufactured helmet, but I have no info on whether this was used during the war. 1944 regulations stipulated these were not to be painted white, so it might have been repainted post-war. There seems to be round 3rd Army insignia on each side under the white paint and the Berlin District paper decals.

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Yes, by regulation WW2 US MPs in the UK were to be issued crash helmets (normally leather tanker kind, but the DP rider helmet seems to have been more common. There was also a reg in early 44 that "all" MP helmets were to be painted white, so this could be wartime. however it is very curious that it is a LT bar as no Lt's were technically motorcyclists in any of the MP T/O's . So with the insignia one would suspect at the very least post war usage. If I had to guess I would say picked up by a joy riding MP officer for his trips. Not sure why you say they were not to be painted white- like to know where you found that.

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I have no additional info on the original user. Here's a document from Fold3 - from the History of the Theater Provost Marshal regarding the British crash helmets. No reason is given for the no white paint requirement. It might make tactical sense not to have white helmets in a combat zone but the order is dated well before D-Day so the units would still be in Britain. Page 1: (helmet reference on 2nd page).

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Johan Willaert

1945 picture of a similar helmet painted white worn by a MC rider of the 822nd MP Co in Berlin can be seen on this page of my site:

 

http://www.thelibera.../liberator2.htm

 

Here's another one from the same unit.

White Painted British MC helmet seems to be the first pattern with fiber edge.

Note the USAREUR patch on the sleeve...

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Johan - I just finished scrolling through your entire website. I've stumbled across a page or two in the past, but for whatever reason I never discovered its full scope. Great info and photos. I think the no-white paint order is an indication of the preparation for the Normandy invasion. MPs in Britain wanted the high visibility of white helmets & uniform accessories for safety in blackout conditions, and to make them more obvious to GIs and civilians alike for maintaining order. But anticipating their initial role in Normandy, MP units would see the highly visible white helmets as a tactical liability in a combat area. But as the fighting moved inland, MP units in secure parts of France would see high visibility as a benefit for traffic control & general policing. During occupation duty in Germany high visibility and a spit and polish appearance would again be desirable. I think my helmet is a later pattern type - there is no pronounced flair to the rim. It could have been used during the war & later during occupation service but may also have only been used during the occupation.

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Johan Willaert

Johan - I just finished scrolling through your entire website. I've stumbled across a page or two in the past, but for whatever reason I never discovered its full scope. Great info and photos.

 

Thanks...

 

The menu-page of the site ( http://www.theliberator.be/indexmenu.html ) shows a picture from a rather well known series taken in London where you see US MC riding MPs wearing standard issue British MC helmets...

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I totally agree that Johan's site is totally awesome. As a sidebar to this discussion it should be noted that unlike the British (and other nations) the US Army had no specific helmet for motorcyclists. Prior to the outbreak of war the US Cavalry had experimented with several types of helmets but but no specific helmet was ever designated for motorcyclist. The end result was that a polyglot of helmets were used, both in the UK and in the ETO. If you look carefully at the fantastic photos in Johan's site you will a bewildering variety of helmets in use, either unit designated or personal choice, or availability.

 

Larry

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I found a clip on YouTube (which I subsequently forwarded to Johan....mislaid the link myself!) which showed US Army motorcycle patrols in Germany in the early 50s. They were all wearing white painted tanker helmets.

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Not wishing to be a pest, but is there any chance of seeing what the guts inside look like?
No problem. Here it is.

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No problem. Here it is.

Thank you so much!

 

Looks to be in quite good shape in there!

 

Really interesting artifact, learned something from this.

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As an aside, I've had this helmet for awhile, but I recently saw what I thought was its cousin on ebay - and the sale was ending soon. It had a few other odds and ends associated with a vet who had been an infantryman and later an MP - discharged in October '45. I thought it would be cool to display them as a pair & I unluckily won it. Why "unluckily"? Because in taking pics for this post I became suspicious that my new helmet is really a postwar Belgian version. Not one of my better moments in collecting.

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GI Tom - somehow I missed that document. I have to go see how this fits into my run of orders to see if there might be a white painted helmet order that came afterwards.

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By the way, this IS the smoking gun document I have been seeking for years on white webbing. Clearly states standard leggings were issued, and either the white BRIT Made belts, or a standard pistol belt, AND two cakes of blanco as I suspected. I spent days on Fold 3 and never turned this one up for some reason, so THANK YOU!

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Johan Willaert

Because in taking pics for this post I became suspicious that my new helmet is really a postwar Belgian version. Not one of my better moments in collecting.

 

Any markings or size stamp in your 'Belgian' helmet...

 

Could be Belgian, but mights as well be very early British...

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...and now the better clues. The company name Le Levior. And from the pic I can now see what looks like "1946" or "1948". With my naked eye I thought it was a smudge - I have red/green color blindness. Upside down and with the different color saturation of a photo it looks like a date. So, even in the unlikely event that the U.S. Army received Le Levior helmets during the post war period, the documents that accompanied the item indicate an October '45 discharge.

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