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Austrailian Made USMC Camo Helmet Covers


2ad82recon
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thanks for posting larger pics chris..this ones listed as WW2 HELMET COVER WITH AUSTRALIAN MAKER STAMP DATED 44...never issued dated 1944..

anyone seen this pile of crap before..its a new one on me ..and i thought i had a picture of every wobbly one out there in never never land..

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would like to chime into this discussion if I may bring some industrial perspective.

 

I am not convinced that the USMC would have contracted with an Australian company because of some sort of shortage. If they did the USMC would have required they be made from HBT and it would have been less costly in doing so rather than making them from shelter tent duck which per yard is almost twice as expensive. Also, cutting shelter halves up is a manufacturing nightmare because of the handling involved. It would have cost the Marine Corps a fortune. The period USMC specs for the helmet cover don't require a contractor ink stamp. I offer this observation coming from a manufacturing point of view. Just my personal opinion.

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Greg Robinson
I would like to chime into this discussion if I may bring some industrial perspective.

 

I am not convinced that the USMC would have contracted with an Australian company because of some sort of shortage. If they did the USMC would have required they be made from HBT and it would have been less costly in doing so rather than making them from shelter tent duck which per yard is almost twice as expensive. Also, cutting shelter halves up is a manufacturing nightmare because of the handling involved. It would have cost the Marine Corps a fortune. The period USMC specs for the helmet cover don't require a contractor ink stamp. I offer this observation coming from a manufacturing point of view. Just my personal opinion.

 

I own a camouflage helmet cover that was made by cutting up a USMC camouflage shelter half. But the Australians didn't do this nor did the Marine Corps. Some fakers here in the US once did this to fool collectors. At the time a shelter half was more valuable cut up into helmet covers than it was worth left intact. I doubt this is done today.

 

Greg

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  • 2 months later...
USMC RAIDER COLLECTOR
My opinion is that some may be legit but some are not. I still remember seeing a canvas bag for sale in a store years ago. It was made along the lines of a musette bag and had markings that best i can recall were "USMC / Made in Australia / 1943" I should have bought it but I had spent $1200 on a Raider stiletto so was feeling a bit broke at the time. Today, I believe it was legit. There most definitely were USMC gear items made over there during WW2.

 

 

 

I have a USMC / Australian marked bag like the one you mentioned. I recently aquired it from a long time collector that was getting out of collecting. There was also a non-hbt Australian marked camo helmet cover. This man hadnt bought anything in over 20 years...he is in his 70'S...he started collecting when he was a kid...

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Here you go mate, bigger pics.

5f99_1.jpg

6c7a_1.jpg

 

Chris

 

IMHO the one shown is a fake.

Companies in Australia finished with PTY LTD, not just LTD as in this case. LTD after a comapny name is British. Have a look where this piece originated.

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Greg Robinson
IMHO the one shown is a fake.

Companies in Australia finished with PTY LTD, not just LTD as in this case. LTD after a comapny name is British. Have a look where this piece originated.

 

And the contract markings are wrong for WW2 Marine Corps.

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  • 2 months later...
'Flage Guy
Of course lots of material was made in Australia during the war as part of reverse lend lease- but then, one of the reasons for the rarity is that if the US Govt left tons of material sitting on islands becasue it was not worth shipping home, then the only way any of it will get to the States is either from a vet who brought it back himself, or if someone sold some to a dealer some time after the war.

 

There were oddles of this stuff in the states, and it makes no sesne to waste time and energy on shipping home home material that is just going to sit in a warehouse until it gets sold for pennies on the dollar.

 

Now I can tell you that the Crystal covers were sold new, in numbers by Woodhaven Antiques about 1980 ish- I was told by a fellow that knew the owner well, that they had been made up, the Crystal name supposedly came from his girlfriend at the time, and that they screwed up on the pattern and made them just a tiny bit too small. So they were very hard to fit on a helmt. WHen asked the owner would tell people that the reason he had them, and in new shape, was the company made them too small in the War, so they sat in a warehouse until he found them int he 1970's.

 

Sadly, I think I tossed out any of the old 'newsprint' catalogs- and everything I say is hersay, but, the sources were very very good at the time.

 

So step one is to find out if there ever was a Crystal Ltd in OZ. Or do I recall someone saying they had copies of all USMC contracts for WW2?

 

I bought one of these "Crystal" covers from Woodhaven, and still have the "newspaper" catalogue (with a cartoon of Sam in a truck full of surplus at the letterhead) in which these were listed to be "found in England". It seemed very odd that it didn't have that beloved surplus store odor, and in the next couple of years I learned, word for word, the very stories which J.gawne has related. I even became aquainted with an expert tailor who claimed that he helped make them. Examining the stamp on the flap, the print was identical in size and font to my own personal envelope stamp I was using at the time. This cover is now in 2 pieces, and resides in my "parts box" as scrap repair material.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest buzzard517

Of course lots of material was made in Australia during the war as part of reverse lend lease- but then, one of the reasons for the rarity is that if the US Govt left tons of material sitting on islands becasue it was not worth shipping home, then the only way any of it will get to the States is either from a vet who brought it back himself, or if someone sold some to a dealer some time after the war.

 

There were oddles of this stuff in the states, and it makes no sesne to waste time and energy on shipping home home material that is just going to sit in a warehouse until it gets sold for pennies on the dollar.

 

Now I can tell you that the Crystal covers were sold new, in numbers by Woodhaven Antiques about 1980 ish- I was told by a fellow that knew the owner well, that they had been made up, the Crystal name supposedly came from his girlfriend at the time, and that they screwed up on the pattern and made them just a tiny bit too small. So they were very hard to fit on a helmt. WHen asked the owner would tell people that the reason he had them, and in new shape, was the company made them too small in the War, so they sat in a warehouse until he found them int he 1970's.

 

Sadly, I think I tossed out any of the old 'newsprint' catalogs- and everything I say is hersay, but, the sources were very very good at the time.

 

So step one is to find out if there ever was a Crystal Ltd in OZ. Or do I recall someone saying they had copies of all USMC contracts for WW2?

 

 

That kind of makes sense to me. I posted about these covers in another section, because I'm new and didn't look far enough! The one I have was one of my first buys. My Dad was getting into doing gun shows and started buying and collecting militaria, to sell along with the firearms. He was buying a lot of stuff from Woodhaven Surplus, around '87-ish. He bought about 20 or so of these "Crystal" covers, like new. They sold like hotcakes. I hadn't seen it in 18 years or so, and came acrossed it in a box after he died. I tried putting it on a front seam, WW2 pot but it's too small!

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  • 1 year later...

Just some information on the Manufacturer "Crystal LTD".

 

From what I have found, the company ' Crystal Clothing Industries Ltd' started operating in a factory in Wollongong in 1944 under the Governmants decentralisation of industry scheme during the war. They operated 4 factories producing shirts and childrens pyjamas. I presume it was moved from Sydney because of the attacks made by Japanese midget submarines, and the possibility of air attack, in the early stages of the war.

 

The Company liquidated in the late 70's, early 80's

 

The above is from:

 

'Migration Heritage Project'

Wollongong's Migration Heritage Thematis Study (Places Project)

 

"The Place Migrant Women Found work in Wollongong 1943-1990"

-Louise Thom

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  • 1 year later...

I found an "Austrailian 1944" stamped cover locally. I will have to go back to re-inspect it, but have we made any headway on this topic. Legit or not?

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I found an "Austrailian 1944" stamped cover locally. I will have to go back to re-inspect it, but have we made any headway on this topic. Legit or not?

 

It depends on how much they are asking. The jury is still out on these, and I don't think this will ever be solved 100%, so, I figure if you can get it for what a repro goes for or less, no harm done really. Just my $.02 though. Let us know if you get it or not.

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I agree, i would like to think they are real but the jury is still out and i doubt it, and i wouldnt pay more than $20-$40 for one.......mike

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  • 4 months later...
jkash23686

I have been reading though this thread and the more I think about this the more I think they are fake. We had no shortage of production in WWII here in the US during the war, just think about how many tanks a day were made and from what I know we had no trouble getting those to the troops. Why on earth would we have trouble getting helmet covers to them, so much so that we would need to outsource to Austraila.

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I have been reading though this thread and the more I think about this the more I think they are fake. We had no shortage of production in WWII here in the US during the war, just think about how many tanks a day were made and from what I know we had no trouble getting those to the troops. Why on earth would we have trouble getting helmet covers to them, so much so that we would need to outsource to Austraila.

 

We were making webbing for US Troops here in England and the Australians provided uniform items for US troops in Australia so the possibility of Helmet covers isn't totally unrealistic.

 

Rich

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We were making webbing for US Troops here in England and the Australians provided uniform items for US troops in Australia so the possibility of Helmet covers isn't totally unrealistic.

 

Rich

 

 

That's right it was a policy called reverse lend lease.

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I have been reading though this thread and the more I think about this the more I think they are fake. We had no shortage of production in WWII here in the US during the war, just think about how many tanks a day were made and from what I know we had no trouble getting those to the troops. Why on earth would we have trouble getting helmet covers to them, so much so that we would need to outsource to Austraila.

We had an agreement with the Brits and the Aussies to build web gear and uniforms during the war in their countries. This was so our supply ships could carry more of the things they needed such as weapons, ammo and vehicles. So why couldn't it be possible...even practical that the Australians could have made helmet covers. They made patches. I certainly don't know, one way or the other...just saying.

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  • 4 months later...

Hi,

 

I'm joining this thread a little late, however when reading a post by General Apathy(Lewis) near the beginning of the thread it reminded me of a photo that has puzzled me...

 

Hi Everyone, here is my story on these Aussie covers. Back in the late 1970's I bought an M-1 helmet from an estate sale. It was a regular helmet WWII outer and liner, upon inspecting it later at home I lifted out the liner, folded flat between the two parts was this Australian made and dated camo cover. It has slight wear along a line were it was folded over the lip of the helmet, and a couple of small snags. Interestingly the two side sections have a different background color surrounding the spots it has the eagle stamp on the green side only, there are the WWII two ribbons above the eagle. It is stamped on the brown side ' U.S.M.C., Crystal Ltd, Australia 1943' . Now my thoughts, there were very-very few collectors back in the 1970's it would not have been worthwhile printing off this material, there would have been no quantity sales. It was hidden in-between the two parts of the helmet, so effectively it cost me nothing, it was from a deceased veteran, what would he want a ' re-production' for, it was used and had signs of wear. It's not to say that some sucker has not copied these in the last couple of years as they do with all other items, but I believe the pattern and this example I own to be real. Talking of re-productions in a surplus store in Belgium just before Christmas I couldn't believe that there were re-productions of an item that surplus dealers had difficulty selling after the war. The ' cartridge round catcher bags' they chopped them down attached two handles and turned into tool bags for commercial use. Now there are copies of these ???? Why ( Lewis )

 

Lewis, I am attaching your photo again to compare your image to the period photo I was reminded of, here is your helmet cover with the two sides having different background colors:

 

post-344-1168529134.jpg

 

And here is a well known period photo, look at the Marine on the left:

 

6196582109_2abda26d5e_b.jpg

 

Zoom in on the cover a little more:

 

6196583829_bc44c5c107_m.jpg

 

It certainly appears the cover is very similar to yours, it also has the distinctly different background colors on each side of the main seem. I have not seen this on any the American made covers, and the photo has puzzled me for a while but I think your cover may provide the answer.

 

Hope you find the image of interest, and I apologize for posting in an old thread but didn't want to start a new topic with this one already going. Would love to hear some other opinions on if this period photo may show one the Australian made covers in use.

 

Cheers,

-Steve

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Corpsmancollector

Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for digging this topic up, it’s a good discussion. Ken’s cover sure is an interesting one! With regards the period photo you have posted above, I’m not sure that the cover of the Marine on the left would suggest Aussie made though. There is definitely a difference between the background colour of the left and right side of the cover, but as we’ve seen in other camo items (jackets, pants etc.) and even sage green Marine dungarees, all kinds of different fabrics were used to construct an item in the height of wartime production. These fabrics may not match in colour and could have been from different dye lots (fairly common with camo items) and put together in haste to reach the theatre of operation as quickly as possible. It’s also possible that different pieces of fabric can fade/wear differently, producing the effect shown above. I was just yesterday looking at my 1953 dated USMC camo cover of which the 2 halves are completely different in colour. One half is the distinct green shade (background colour) whereas the other half is a more faded yellow, the latter we usually associate with well-used camo pieces. The cover is undoubtedly original and both halves show consistent wear, it just seems to be ‘one of those things’!

 

Re: Aussie made patches, from what I can tell there seems to be solid documentation in the form of contracts/production notes from the Australian companies which made patches used by the Marine Corps. Where these helmet covers differ is that there is no solid proof that they are wartime items. I’d love to see an example directly from a Veteran or contract info containing numbers, dates of when/where they were produced etc. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility that these covers are original, but IMHO there is nothing to suggest that just yet.

 

My $0.02 only.

 

Will

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Hi Will,

 

Well, if there is lots of documented examples of American made covers with different colors like that, then I suppose there is no way of knowing!

 

I'm actually on the market for a genuine WW2 cover and have found this thread helpful, I have all of the books on USMC gear including Grunt Gear, ect. but it's so hard for me to be 100% sure with this item, and I don't have any collectors nearby who have genuine examples, it makes me a little nervous to buy one!

 

Thanks!

-Steve

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Steve:

Thanks for posting those pics; a couple of those guys look like they could be among the famous Navajo Marines...?

The wide range of shades seen in W.W.II camo HBT is, like Will says, just one of those things. The camouflage printing and dyeing process was still under refinement in the '40s, and it is very common for us collectors to encounter all kinds of weird colors in the 'flage world. I used to bypass camouflage pieces which were made from some of the earlier "ugly" dye lots, but after becoming more learned in the matter, I actually sought the "strange" stuff out. A couple of examples follow; it must be said here that all these pieces are in mint condition...

 

"Strange" Helmet Cover made from 2 bolts of HBT fabric; this Cover came from the same large lot from which General Apathy procured his Covers some years ago:

 

post-3226-1317419375.jpeg

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Shelter Half, made of the same light-gauge canvas as the Aussie covers...this Half is actually made up from 5 different dye lots of material...

 

post-3226-1317419837.jpeg

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Another Shelter Half, even weirder colored than the one above. Unissued and unlaundered, believe it or not.

 

post-3226-1317419934.jpeg

 

Just about all of the "Crystal Ltd." covers I've seen appeared to be made from the same bolt of material, one half of "General" Ken's being an extremely rare exception.

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Steve,

 

I agree with the previous posts that various covers exhibit traits of being made from different bolts of camouflage cloth. I have even owned a couple of those myself over the years. I do, however, respectfully disagree with your conclusion that the picture of the Marine shown exhibits two different base colors on his camouflage cover. I am not saying they aren't different colors, I am saying there is no definitive way to tell from that black and white photograph. As a former police photographer, having used the same type of large format view cameras that were used to take that WWII picture, I am suggesting that there are too many variables such as lighting, aperture setting, film speed, type of film and development process that could affect the composition of the the image. The slight discoloration on the cover could be dirt, moisture, staining or reflection from the light source (sun). The lenghth of the exposure, the amount light and the light sensitivity of the black and white film could also affect the shades of the color of the camouflage cover. Different shades of dyes and background colors were common on WWII U.S. camouflage cloth but that photograph , in my opinion, is not a very conclusive example.

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