Original Australian WWII Brodie MkII Steel Helmet with Net by Commonwealth Steel - Dated 1940

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a great example of a genuine Australian Mark II steel helmet that is dated 1940 on the shell, and comes complete with original Australian made liner and a brown helmet net, held on by a fragile cotton string. The stamping on the underside of the rim reads:

C S. 1261

CS. stands for Commonwealth Steel Company in Australia, who in conjunction with Lysaghts began production in 1939. The chin strap lugs in Australian helmets are where the date was located, as the number by the manufacturer is the serial number. This example is dated 1940 on both chin strap lugs. The paint appears to be in very good condition, and is the original sand textured Australian Army Khaki-Green No.3. Shell is overall in great shape with no major issues. There is no rim reinforcement, as there was no machinery in Australia available to bend the manganese steel strip. The original liner is also in excellent condition and reads:


Pacific Dunlop has its roots in the Irish Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company, which established the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company of Australasia in 1893, which included a local finishing factory and office in Melbourne to supply the market with bicycle tyres. In 1899 downturn in cycling's popularity and speculation from the parent company led to the sell-off of Dunlop's Australasian and North American operations, and the Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Company of Australasia was floated with 80,000 shares, costing £1 per share. The company was listed on Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide stock exchanges.

In 1906, the company changed its name to the Dunlop Rubber Company of Australasia. World War I and the rise of the automobile proved to be a boom in demand for rubber products, and the company grew. In 1920, the company was incorporated in Victoria and Dunlop continued to expand, merging with the Perdriau Rubber Company, a manufacturer of raincoats and boots in 1929, again renaming itself Dunlop Perdriau. In 1941, it again changed its name to Dunlop Rubber Australia.

It appears to be original to the helmet. The chinstrap is still present and in complete, serviceable condition.

A wonderful WWII 1940 dated Australian helmet that comes more than ready for display.

Australia entered World War II on 3 September 1939, following the government's acceptance of the United Kingdom's declaration of war on NSDAP Germany. Australia later entered into a state of war with other members of the Axis powers, including the Kingdom of Italy on 11 June 1940, and the Empire of Japan on 9 December 1941. By the end of the war, almost a million Australians had served in the armed forces, whose military units fought primarily in the European theatre, North African campaign, and the South West Pacific theatre. In addition, Australia came under direct attack for the first time in its post-colonial history. Its casualties from enemy action during the war were 27,073 killed and 23,477 wounded. Many more suffered from tropical disease, hunger, and harsh conditions in captivity; of the 21,467 Australian prisoners taken by the Japanese, only 14,000 survived.

Australian Army units were gradually withdrawn from the Mediterranean and Europe following the outbreak of war with Japan. However, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy units and personnel continued to take part in the war against Germany and Italy. From 1942 until early 1944, Australian forces played a key role in the Pacific War, making up the majority of Allied strength throughout much of the fighting in the South West Pacific theatre. While the military was largely relegated to subsidiary fronts from mid-1944, it continued offensive operations against the Japanese until the war ended.

World War II contributed to major changes in the nation's economy, military and foreign policy. The war accelerated the process of industrialisation, led to the development of a larger peacetime military and began the process with which Australia shifted the focus of its foreign policy from Britain to the United States. The final effects of the war also contributed to the development of a more diverse and cosmopolitan Australian society.

History of the Brodie helmet:
The Brodie helmet, called Helmet, steel, Mark I helmet in Britain and the M1917 Helmet in the U.S., is a steel combat helmet designed and patented in 1915 by Englishman John Leopold Brodie. Colloquially, it was called the shrapnel helmet, Tommy helmet, Tin Hat, and in the United States the doughboy helmet. Worn by Australians during WW2 and sometimes known as 'Panic Hat'. It was also known as the dishpan hat, tin pan hat, washbasin, battle bowler (when worn by officers), and Kelly helmet. The US version, the M1917, was copied from the British Mk 1 steel helmet of 1916. The German Army called it the Salatschüssel (salad bowl).

At about the same time, the British War Office had seen a similar need for steel helmets. The War Office Invention Department was ordered to evaluate the French design. 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 1915.

A design patented in 1915 by John L. Brodie of London offered advantages over the French design. It was constructed in one piece that could be pressed from a single thick sheet of steel, giving it added strength.

Brodie's design resembled the medieval infantry kettle hat or chapel-de-fer, unlike the German Stahlhelm, which resembled the medieval sallet. The Brodie had a shallow circular crown with a wide brim around the edge, a leather liner and a leather chinstrap. 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 1.5-2 inches (38-51 mm) wide. The Type A was in production for just a few weeks before the specification was changed and the Type B was introduced in October 1915. The specification was altered at the suggestion of Sir Robert Hadfield to a harder steel with 12% manganese content, which became known as "Hadfield's steel", which was virtually impervious to shrapnel balls hitting from above. Ballistically this increased protection for the wearer by 10 percent. It could withstand a .45 caliber pistol bullet traveling at 600 feet (180 m) per second fired at a distance of 10 feet (3.0 m). It also had a narrower brim and a more domed crown.

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. That same month the first delivery of the helmets was made to British Army troops. 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. It was not until the summer of 1916, when the first one million helmets had been produced, that they could be generally issued.

The Brodie helmet reduced casualties but was criticized by General Herbert Plumer on the grounds that it was too shallow and too light-reflective, its rim was too sharp, and its lining was too slippery. These criticisms were addressed in the Mark I model helmet of 1916, which had a separate folded rim, a two-part liner and matte khaki paint finished with sand, sawdust, or crushed cork to give a dull, non-reflective appearance. In 1917, the liner was modified to include a rubber cushion to make it more comfortable, although this was not adopted for the M1917. Towards the end of the war, helmets were often painted with unit insignia. These are often called "parade helmets" by collectors.

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