An original 1940 dated British Army MKII Steel Helmet which has had a field-applied textured paint finish applied.
This pattern of helmet came into use with the British Army in the late 1930s and was the standard issue steel helmet by the outbreak of war, although the earlier MK1* helmets were also still being issued at this stage. This example is dated 1940 to the shell and bears the maker's initials of 'J.S.S Ltd' which denotes the maker as Joseph Sankey & Sons. The helmet retains its original shiny chocolate brown paint finish to the underside which was a common colour in 1939 and 1940. These proved unpopular for obvious reasons and orders were issued in France in early 1940 that all helmets were to be repainted Khaki Green (Gas Proof) No.3. There is evidence of where this has been done to the exterior with small section still visible under the final layer of paint (picture 6). The final layer applied is a thick textured paint designed to reflect as little light as possible. This has been carried out with the liner in place as the slot in the top of the screw is full with paint which means the liner has not been removed since this finsih was applied.
The original liner is present and features the maker's initials of 'J. C. S. & W Ltd' whic denotes J Compton Webb & Sons. There is no date and it is the second pattern liner so could possibly be an original period replacement. The top nut is the correct early pattern with large size nut which was clearly on the helmet when it was painted and would suggest that the liner is also original to the helmet.
The helmet comes complete with an original chin strap which again appears to be original to the helmet and is the correct sprung steel pattern.
The overall condition of the helmet is very good with only signs of wear and age commensurate with a helmet that has been issued and then worn for a number of year during the war. Overall it displays very well but please take time to study the pictures before purchasing.
This is a fantastic helmet which tells a story from issue in the early part of the war into the mid-war period. Who knows where it could have gone during its clearly prolonged wartime service, but it clearly saw plenty of action. This would make a fantastic addition to any collection as it really oozes that it has really 'been there'.
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