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WWI 1st Infantry Division helmet

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That is interesting. I have not seen one like that before. Looks like someone has touched up the “One” with black paint. 





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Hink441---I agree...it was called the Big Red One for a reason.....


"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


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Here's what you generally see.  The patch was added post WW1 for parades and ceremonies.  The helmets were rubbed to make them smooth and then the patch painted on.





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I believe it’s Steel Pots vol2 that talks about the process of these ones specifically being made, or some of them at least, with supporting pictures. Quite a few are the same because they were done as shown above by thorin by teams at the same time.

They were smoothed out, repainted and dried. Then the yellow shield was painted and dried. Finally the red one was added. I remember seeing pictures of this were the helmets are hanging in rows during the process of guys having this done by a few people, presumably soon after the armistice or during occupation.
Given accounts, photos, and stories the division may have been another first in their applying their insignia earlier than others and often in a similar manner.


As to the opening post example I don’t know. never seen one like it and I’m unaware of dull colored patches and insignia until the ones we see today. I don’t think it was until sometime in the 20s or 30s that the insignia saw its first major change in going from a yellow shield to a green one.

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22 hours ago, FT.Monmouth1943 said:

Do you have the helmet in hand? It looks like it’s been painted over with gold paint which would explain why the insignia is hard to see.


- Jakob

Yeah, you can make out what appears to be the bottom of the original Big Red One


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IMO ... there's a number of better examples out there, without gold overspray, for a more reasonable price.  This example is priced at $425 on eBay.



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  • 2 months later...

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