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Feeling LUCKY. A nice USAAF Type C surprise


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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? :)

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Good one! Congrats -

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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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Congratulations! So nice to see this history was preserved. Well done! Kevin

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after.

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  • 3 months later...

Postscript to this thread. Ive had the pleasure to speaking to Lucky Lowman, 97 years old and going strong. Turns out he has two sons. He gave his Type C to one son and his Vietnam combat helmet to the other. The one son, unknown to Lucky had let the Type C go about thirty years ago. The man was not happy.

 

So I sent it back with one request, that Lucky try it on to see if it still fit. His grandson said it opened a floodgate of memories so well worth it.

 

Image of Lucky 75 years later wearing the same helmet as in the photos above ?

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That is a kind thing to do and amazing too!

And I have to say that who ever it was that gave Mr Lowman the nick name "LUCKY"

sure got that one right!!! Wow !!! 97!!

And reunited with his old flght helmet!

Wow!!!!

Thank you for sharing this!!!

Thanks to Mr Lowman for risking his life for our country!!!

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Very cool! Great surprise for him I'm sure. 97 and going strong. Good for him!

 

JD

AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great story and a very nice thing to do.

Interested in US Naval and Marine aviation history, aircrew wings & insignia.

WW2 US Navy and Marine Grumman Wildcat, Avenger & Douglas SBD aircraft.

Also interested in US 5th AF in Australia.


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  • 11 months later...

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