Original U.S. WWI 80th Infantry Division, Field Artillery Painted British Made M1917 Doughboy Helmet - “Blue Ridge Division”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. When America was drawn into the European conflict it possessed no steel helmets of its own. They looked to other nations for ideas and selected the British helmet as the most suitable. Britain supplied about half a million helmets to the Americans before production of an American version was started in the U.S. This is a fantastic, genuine Great War hand painted 80th Infantry Division Field Artillery British made helmet, complete with its original liner and chinstrap.

The heat stamp on the underside of the rim is HS 423, a nice and low lot number for a helmet manufactured by Hadfield Ltd of Sheffield. The heat stamp and the split rivets on the chinstrap bales are a solid indication and a good reference point for identifying British made helmets for American use during the Great War. The best feature on this helmet is the hand painted 80th Infantry Division Field Artillery insignia on the left hand side. The insignia consists of a red circle with 4 “breaks” in the red ring, a blue triangle in the center with “M” and “D” on each side. We have not been able to determine which exact element this was, making for a wonderful research opportunity. The insignia is faded slightly and retained at approximately 80 percent.

The helmet is in lovely condition with a solid liner, oilcloth, under netting and felt top pad. The leather chinstrap is also in solid condition, but does have a slight tear on the right side where the upper portion meets the lower portion of the chinstrap. The size stamp is still present, though faded and reads as being a size 6 ¾.

This is actually a fantastic British made example, used by a member of the Fighting First Division. Comes more than ready for display.

80th Infantry Division
The unit was first organized in August 1917 and activated the following September during World War I as the 80th Division. During World War II, the Division was redesignated on 1 August 1942, as the 80th Infantry Division. Nicknamed the "Blue Ridge Division", it was initially composed of draftees from the mid-atlantic states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Division was redesignated the 80th Airborne Division from December 1946 to May 1952. In May 1952 and March 1959, the unit was redesignated as a reserve infantry division and then a reserve training division. In 1994, the unit was granted the designation, 80th Division (Institutional Training). On 1 October 2008, the unit underwent a major transformation and is now the 80th Training Command.

Because of significant common heritage in the past (Indian War, Revolutionary War and Civil War), residents of Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia became the structure of the 80th Division. The 80th Division was organized in August 1917 at Camp Lee, Virginia. The units were made up mostly of men from the above three states.

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