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Yankeeman

USMC M1917a1 Kelly Helmet

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Here i got a WW1 British made M1917 which was refurbished and updated sometime in the 30s to the A1 variant. Sadly theres no name, unit or provenance that came which it, but its safe to assume that it saw heavy action in the Pacific.AED5484C-FD03-44BF-BF0C-1BE260DE7764.jpeg.48ec91d5d212126fcae6e60ae0059563.jpeg481524DB-43C8-4D44-AD8D-9F361CC42CA2.jpeg.616ad3e39dd6679781c683aecfde9176.jpeg

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Welcome to the forum.

 

Why do you think it served in the Pacific?

 

Best regards.

 

Jim

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3 hours ago, Jim McCauley said:

Welcome to the forum.

 

Why do you think it served in the Pacific?

 

Best regards.

 

Jim

I came to that conclusion because it looks and fits the part of a Pacific-used Kelly. The ones i’ve seen for the most part look exactly like my helmet in wear, damage,  etc. and there was things that alluded to it being in tropical conditions such as the build up of sand on the brim and the condition of the liner. All of these things build up to my conclusion that it had been used somewhere in the Pacific, though i will never know where it was specifically and the extend of its use.

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How do you know it was a Marine helmet used in the Pacific war v/s a Army or NG coast artillery helmet that has suffered from neglect and poor storage.  I can not tell. 

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10 minutes ago, Rhscott said:

How do you know it was a Marine helmet used in the Pacific war v/s a Army or NG coast artillery helmet that has suffered from neglect and poor storage.  I can not tell. 

I can’t be 100% sure it really was a Marine helmet, but thats what it was marketed as so I'm just going with the little information i have. And i’ll provide some examples and go more in-depth in what lead me to my conclusion later today since i understand the skepticism of someone claiming something without definitive proof. 

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I'm thinking the same way as Rhscott. 

 

The coastal artillery branch used this style liner helmet, probably longer than any other branch, as they were stateside. Plus, almost any army base you go to seems to be made of sand.

 

This M1917a1 was also used by the first US troops heading to Europe in WWII.

 

The condition could also be explained by long attic storage.

 

Best regards.

 

Jim

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looks like one of the helmets in use in the Philippines, during the BATAAN DEATH MARCH , if the helmet could talk? imagine all the battles it has been through? you will never know, but it will still look nice in a early WW2 in the Pacific display.

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3 hours ago, Rhscott said:

How do you know it was a Marine helmet used in the Pacific war v/s a Army or NG coast artillery helmet that has suffered from neglect and poor storage.  I can not tell. 

 

1 hour ago, Jim McCauley said:

I'm thinking the same way as Rhscott. 

 

The coastal artillery branch used this style liner helmet, probably longer than any other branch, as they were stateside. Plus, almost any army base you go to seems to be made of sand.

 

This M1917a1 was also used by the first US troops heading to Europe in WWII.

 

The condition could also be explained by long attic storage.

 

Best regards.

 

Jim

I think both of your arguments are valid points, and i will take them into account as i explain my thoughts on the helmet.

 

First of all, i totally agree with you on the point that its condition is due to poor storage, but i don’t think thats the main cause. I believe it was also in combination with long exposure to a humid tropical environment, which would explain the horrible condition of the leather liner as leather didn’t do well in those environments. 

 

The helmet also displays heavy wear (Dents, large chips in the paint, and the paint is pretty worn out on the top) on the outside. Other than the paint wear on the top which can be attributed to be thrown on the ground upside down, where else would you get this many dents and damage outside of a combat environment? Maybe this could be attributed to training damage, and just poor storage but i doubt it. (And if we were to argue that it was used for training, i doubt they wouldn’t have repainted the places where the paint had came off)

 

Also, i think this Kelly is very unique as it displays lots of buildup of sand on the brim and throughout the inside of the helmet, and i don’t think i’ve ever seen a Kelly like this before. But i don’t think this all accumulated from a Army base stateside, i think it was accumulated from service in the Pacific from being placed down wherever and mostly in the sand and dirt. But we can’t definitively prove either, and for all we know this sat in a kids sandbox for a week. 

 

I also agree that i could of been a Army or NG helmet, but i’m just going off of what i got from the seller. It also could of been used in Europe or even Africa, but i doubt Europe as it just doesn’t seem right and i feel that the damage and grime wouldn’t fit with a helmet in the ETO, and apparently Kellys saw limited service in Africa but im not gonna go into a tangent on that. 

 

To conclude, i think that everything you stated could be correct and anything can be possible, but more than likely its just a Kelly that saw service early in WW2 in the Pacific, where and who we’ll never know. 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, BOLO said:

looks like one of the helmets in use in the Philippines, during the BATAAN DEATH MARCH , if the helmet could talk? imagine all the battles it has been through? you will never know, but it will still look nice in a early WW2 in the Pacific display.

Yeah its very similar to the helmets i’ve seen in places like Manila, Philippines, etc. but we’ll never truly know. And it sure will, i’ve been working on a early WW2 Marine display for about a year now and this will be the helmet i use until i get a early WW2 configured fixed bail with a Hawley liner

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Just for comparison, here are some of the 26 Virginia National Guard M1917s that were recovered in 2017 from an old warehouse at the state military reservation near Virginia Beach.  As you can see there was a variety of finishes and conditions---most of these were probably used stateside by the VA NG's coast artillery units that guarded the Chesapeake bay early in the war.  While a number of the Coast Artillery soldiers ended up in the Philippines as field artillerymen in 1945, none of these helmets went with them.923028955_m19171.JPG.7557f0b117f8277f3c0cdb7f4a3b7599.JPG297651742_m19172.JPG.3f3ff7cbc92accf8e48b3d837eba0ad6.JPG


AFB
"When in doubt, Go cyclical"

 

For more information on

"In a Strange Land: The American Occupation of Germany 1918-1923"

"Let's Go! The History of the 29th Infantry Division"

"To Hell with the Kaiser: America Prepares for War 1916-1918 Volumes 1 and 2"

"Desert Uniforms, Patches, and Insignia of the US Armed Forces"

"Forgotten Soldiers of WWI: America's Immigrant Doughboys"

"Play Ball! Doughboys and Baseball During the Great War"

go to

https://www.amazon.com/author/alexanderf.barnes

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Without provenance it's a surplus helmet with storage wear.  Nothing wrong that ... it's still a good example.


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