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Post Your WWI & WWII American Field Service Adrian Helmets


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ADMIN. NOTE: We have retitled this thread to include all AFS helmets. Anyone who wants to post theirs here is welcome to do so.

This is one those helmets that was on my short list of "Must Have Helmets". Today, it got scratched off my list. First, a little information about the American Field Service (AFS) from WWI:

The American Field Service started as the ambulance arm of the American Hospital in Paris. Its driving force was A. Piatt Andrew, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and professor of economics at Harvard University. A mid-1915 agreement resulted in the U.S. Driven Ambulances being attached to French line divisions in the early pre-U.S. involvement days of WWI.

The AFS had recruited its drivers directly from colleges and universities around the United States. Individual ambulance units were made up exclusively of drivers from particular universities. Thus there were Harvard units, Yale units, etc. This helmet is Identified to John Aubrey Gordon of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and he served with T.M.U. 184.

There were three predominant WWI volunteer ambulance groups: the American Field Service (AFS), Norton-Harjes, and the American Red Cross operation in Italy. When the United States entered the war, AFS and Norton-Harjes were both merged into the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps.

However, because of bad eyesight, John Gordon was not allowed to enter the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps. So he joined up with the American Red Cross Ambulance Operation in Italy as an Ambulance Driver.

This M-15 French Adrian can be identified as being worn by an American by the distinctly U.S. style shield on the front of the helmet.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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According to newspaper accounts John Gordon was decorated personally by the King of Italy for the actions of himself and three other volunteers on June 15th, 1918. The newspaper article in the Boston Sunday Advertiser said the following: "At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 15th, the commander of the No.2 Ambulance Division, judged by the intensity of the bombardment, that a certain advanced post needed a reinforcement of ambulances. John Gordon and three other volunteers were detailed for this duty. They advanced to this post in spite of a violent enemy bombardment of shells and gas. This medical post became so dangerous that it had to be abandoned. However, these four volunteers continued to carry wounded, gathering them from the road. They continued their task throughout the day and night during the entire offensive."

 

Below is a close-up of the U.S. Ambulance Drivers helmet badge.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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After his service with the AFS in Italy, John joined the French Army as an officer and served until his discharge in March of 1919. After WWI ended John returned to the United States and continued his education at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Kent College of Law graduating in 1923.

 

Below is a side view of his AFS helmet.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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In 1931 John returned to his hometown of Barre, Vermont and set up his own legal practice. Then on October 21st 1932, He married Florence M. Smith. He and his wife had only one child: Janet.

 

Below are the initials that John Aubrey Gordon (JAG) scratched into his helmet brim:

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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John was elected to be Mayor of Barre in 1934 and served in that capacity until 1939 when he resigned to become the town manager. He resumed his private law practice for a short time from 1946 to 1948 and then returned to become the Barre Town Manager until ill health forced him to resign in 1951. John passed away in January of 1957.

 

Below is another view of Johns helmet.

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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This helmet was purchased from an antique shop in Danville, Vermont in 2001. the antique dealer had purchased it from an Estate Sale in Barre, Vermont. Thus, the points were all connected.

 

Here's a few views of the back and of the top of helmet:

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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I was fortunate to pick up this helmet from Scott over at Bay State Militaria last week. I'm absolutely thrilled! I was looking for any example of an AFS helmet but, to get one that was ID'd is just icing on the cake!

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"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Wow....a rare bird and IDed taboot!!!......nice ol pot!!...how many of these guys were there in WWI and i wonder how many examples exist today??........mike

Always looking for and buying 50's era 11th Airborne/ 187th ARCT/ 82nd Airborne tac mark painted jump helmets!



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Another nice lid - Congrats!

 

DJ

"RETREAT HELL.....WE JUST GOT HERE"

 

LOOKING TO PURCHASE IDENTIFIED WW1 AVIATION GROUPINGS, INCLUDING MEDALS, UNIFORMS, STUDIO PHOTOS.

PURCHASE ANY AND ALL ID'ED WW1 NAVY CORPSMAN OR PHYSICIAN GROUPINGS; MEDALS &/or UNIFORMS.

WW1 USMC ID'ED OFFICER'S GROUPS, esp. MARINE AVIATORS -

ANY LARGE FORMAT 5X7 OR LARGER IMAGES OF MARINE OFFICERS & AERO PILOTS

 

 

Collecting/Preserving/Researching WW1 Marine Corps Items and WW1 Aviation Items

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Nice one Scott! That's another one that I have had on my wish list too!

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

 

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Greetings Scott: To find an example from such a small unit and to have such a detailed provenance is exceptionally rare. The condition is just the way I like them. Used,but not abused . I would say almost one of a kind.

Congrats!

Zeke

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A rare one indeed - and with the added bonus of an identification to a soldier with such an interesting story. This type of helmet is one that any broad US helmet collection really can't do without. I'm glad you were finally able to check this one off your list and I bet the wait made it that much more rewarding!

I am interested in buying items from the 9th Infantry Division in WWII (39th, 47th, 60th Infantry Regiments and other subunits)

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...how many of these guys were there in WWI?

Initially of the American Field Service there were approx. 1,875 college students who joined with a total of approx. 2,300 by the time the U.S. absorbed these men into the American Expeditionary Forces. This does not take into account the men of: Norton-Harjes and the American Red Cross Operation in Italy. I wish I could give you more solid numbers but, this is all I've got. Suffice it to say, it was not a large number.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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That's one of my Holy Grails.

It was my quest also however, my quest is now complete.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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Thank you for sharing this wonderful helmet and the details around it's origin. Well done!!!

Always looking for uniquely marked helmets, WWI and WWII American Field Service items, WWII and earlier USMC items and named or numbered medals and medal groups.


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Oh my! :love:

Looking for for 37th Division

VietNam and earlier Special Forces &

USS Hemminger DE 746 items

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

See my FB sales page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1928884587130681/pending/

 

 

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So it was YOU who got that helmet!!??? Great score my friend!

WANTED TO BUY OR TRADE - AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE, NORTON-HARJES AMBULANCE CORPS, AMERICAN RED CROSS IN ITALY, CZECH AND POLISH LEGIONS AND ANY ARTIFACTS ASSOCIATED WITH AMERICANS THAT SERVED IN FOREIGN ARMIES IN WORLD WAR ONE

 

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"Je meurs content, puisque nous sommes victorieux! Vive la France!

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Love those ultra rare helmets. But, I can't dwell on it to much. It might bring me back into the WW1 area of helmet collecting and the WW2 area has me broke all to often :lol: ! But seriously, very nice score, and love the fact that its history has not been lost.

 

Wade

"We want to get the hell over there. The quicker we clean up this Goddamned mess, the quicker we can take a little jaunt against the purple pissing Japs and clean out their nest, too. Before the Goddamned Marines get all of the credit."

- General George S. Patton, Jr

 

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Thanks for all the comments guys! After seeing the results of the recent helmet collectors poll, I was pretty sure this helmet would not generate much conversation among collectors since there seems to be a small number of Helmet collectors who have an interest in WWI. However, I am pleasantly surprised by the interest. Let me point out the rarity of this helmet: There are probably less marked AFS helmets left in the world than there are post WWI Experimental Model 8's.

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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So it was YOU who got that helmet!!??? Great score my friend!


Tom, do you think I can let you have them all? :)

"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
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