Head-wounds have been more than usually numerous during the war, owing to the trench-fighting, and more than usually severe, owing to the extensive use of shrapnel. But the danger, although it cannot be avoided, can be minimised. Our Army has now followed the French by adopting steel helmets, calculated to stop shell-splinters and shrapnel.
Even in cases of extreme risk, not only has death been avoided, but injuries have been confined to bruises or superficial wounds. Cases have occurred in which the wearers have been hit, but saved by these helmets from what without them would have meant certain death.
The fur coats, as they did last year, mean mitigation of the rigours of winter. The French helmets are known as "Adrians," after their inventor. Photo by Illustrations Harrow. At the outbreak of World War I , none of the combatants provided steel helmets to their troops.
Soldiers of most nations went into battle wearing cloth, felt, or leather headgear that offered no protection from modern weapons. The huge number of lethal head wounds that modern artillery weapons inflicted upon the French Army led them to introduce the first modern steel helmets in the summer of These rudimentary helmets were soon replaced by the Model Adrian helmet , designed by August-Louis Adrian. Origins[ edit ] At about the same time, the British War Office had seen a similar need for steel helmets.
They decided that it was not strong enough and too complex to be swiftly manufactured. British industry was not geared up to an all-out effort of war production in the early days of World War I, which also led to the shell shortage of John Leopold Brodie , born Leopold Janno Braude  in Riga , was an entrepreneur and inventor who had made a fortune in the gold and diamond mines of South Africa , but was working in London at that time.
It was constructed in one piece that could be pressed from a single thick sheet of steel, giving it added strength and making it simple to manufacture. Aside from some newspaper articles, there is nothing to substantiate Bates's claim. The helmet's "soup bowl" shape was designed to protect the wearer's head and shoulders from shrapnel shell projectiles bursting from above the trenches.
The design allowed the use of relatively thick steel that could be formed in a single pressing while maintaining the helmet's thickness. This made it more resistant to projectiles but it offered less protection to the lower head and neck than other helmets. The original design Type A was made of mild steel with a brim 1. The Type A was in production for just a few weeks before the specification was changed and the Type B was introduced in October It could withstand a.
The original paint scheme, suggested by Brodie, was a mottled light green, blue, and orange camouflage but they were also painted in green or blue-grey. Service[ edit ] The first delivery of the Brodie to British Army troops took place in September , at the rate of 50 per battalion. Initially, there were far from enough helmets to equip every man, so they were designated as "trench stores", to be kept in the front line and used by each unit that occupied the sector.
By early , about a quarter of a million had been made, and the first action in which the Brodie was worn by all ranks was the Battle of St Eloi , in April. Although the helmet's benefits were recognised, there was criticism from several quarters, including General Herbert Plumer , who said that the helmet was too shallow and too light-reflective, its rim was too sharp, and its lining was too slippery. It was decided to introduce a number of improvements, and from May, supplies of the modified helmet, designated the Mark I, began to arrive.
It had a separate, folded rim, a two-part liner, and matt khaki paint finished with sand, sawdust, or crushed cork to give a dull, non-reflective appearance.
The United States government initially purchased some , helmets from Britain. From January the U. Army began to use helmets manufactured in the U. By the end of the war some 7. Army Infantryman in wearing Brodie helmet From , the Mark I Brodie helmet was fitted with an improved liner and an elasticated actually, sprung webbing chin strap. This final variant served until late , when it was superseded by the slightly modified Mk II, which served the British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II.
British paratroopers and airborne forces used the Helmet Steel Airborne Troop. During this period, the helmet was also used by the police , the fire brigade and ARP wardens in Britain.
The helmets for the ARP wardens came in two principal variants, black with a white "W" for wardens and white with a black "W" for Chief Wardens; however numerous different patterns were used. Norwegian soldiers at the Battle of Hegra Fortress in , a few wearing Mark I helmets The Norwegian Army adopted the Mark I helmet in , eventually importing a total of 10, examples. Some of the imported helmets had a helmet plate with the Norwegian coat of arms affixed to the front.
The Mark I remained in Norwegian service throughout the interwar period , alongside Swedish helmets acquired in the s. The helmets were among the equipment issued to Norwegian forces in World War II, seeing service in the Norwegian Campaign against invading German forces. Men are in uniform while women wear plain clothes. Composer Josef Tal stands next to the woman with a black sweater. Army used the basic Brodie-patterned M helmet until with some modifications, which included a totally new liner and canvas chin strap.
It was finally superseded by the M1 Helmet in and passed down to civil defence. Brodie's Steel Helmet, Type B: Helmet, Steel, Mark I: In , a rubber ring or "doughnut" was added between the liner and the top of the shell, and in , the liner and chinstrap were modified to make them removable.
The grey finish suggests that it was issued to one of the civil defence services. Helmet, Steel, Mark II: Early production went to the ARP services, the fire brigade and the police.
These helmets were marked with between one and four small holes drilled into the rim, showing the level of protection that they would provide. This type of helmet was re-designated in as the Helmet, Steel, No 2, Mark 1. Designed by a team led by government adviser Solly Zuckerman , the thin mild steel helmet was broadly similar in shape to the military pattern but had a taller crown to the shell, providing space for the helmet to crumple.
The simple liner was attached to the shell by a boot lace or string passed through holes in the shell. These usually had the appearance of Brodie-style helmets, but were generally made of cheap materials such as cast alloys, leather, resin-impregnated fibre or even Bakelite an early form of plastic , and offered little protection to the wearer.
The helmets were copies of the British Mark II but lacked the rim. More than two million were produced. The shell was identical to the British original, except that the liner fixing screw on the crown sat in a small indentation.
The helmets were identical to the British original, except that the rubber "bumper" pads in the lining were only fitted to horizontal helmet band and not to the vertical bands. Surplus helmets were supplied to other Commonwealth and Empire armies. British helmet production at that time was giving priority to their own forces, however the Director of Munitions Supply was able to source a commercially produced version of the Brodie helmet, originally intended to be sold to British officers at the time when helmets were in short supply.
Made of thin-gauge steel, the bowl was fluted in an attempt to add strength. Unfortunately, the fluting actually increased the chances of penetration if a missile hit one of the ridges, so some Ms were produced with a plain bowl. A simple liner was laced to the shell through a series of holes. Manufactured by the Transvaal Steel Pressing Syndicate, some one and a half million helmets were produced. Unlike the British Mark II and other copies, the plan of the South African helmets was almost circular rather than oval.
Another distinguishing feature was three small holes punched into the rear section of the brim, probably intended to allow the fitting of a neck curtain in hot climates. Surplus South African helmets were supplied to other Allied armies. The first US made copies of the Mark I were supplied before the end of and some 2,, had been made by the end of the war.
The M differed little from the British original; different rivets were used to secure the liner, the wire loop onto which the chinstrap was fixed was thicker and the rubber "doughnut" pad was not adopted.
However, the US manufacturers were able to produce a shell with better ballistic protection than the original. This model went into full production in , when , were produced. M Civil Defense Helmet: It advised that schools should not allow pupils to handle such artifacts, but should instead ensure that the objects were either safely disposed of, have the asbestos removed from the object or safely display the object.