Original U.S. WWI M1917 Doughboy Helmet with 42" Framed Photo of the 317th Infantry Regiment
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is a fantastic genuine Great War "Doughboy" Helmet with a hand painted unit insignia, along with a framed "Yard Long" photo (actually 42 inches long) of the 317th Infantry Regiment. The insignia on the front of the helmet is a white square, with a painted "tree" inside of it in brown and green. We have not been able to identify this unit insignia, and it may just be decoration. It is still retained very well, though there is a bit of rust flaking throughout.
Much of the paint is still present on the helmet, however there is also light surface rust in many areas, which has resulted in some paint loss. This is particularly true around the helmet rim and inside of the helmet, as shown in the pictures. The liner is present, however it is somewhat degraded as shown. It looks to have suffered damage from both moth and possibly rodents in the past century. The oil cloth is quite dirty, and the underlying netting is fragile. The chinstrap is present, but quite delicate, and has broken in half.
The underside of the rim is stamped H S 16, indicating that the shell is one of the 400,000 British manufactured helmets supplied to the U.S. at their entrance into the war. The split pin rivets attaching the chin-strap bales further confirm this. HS is the marking used by Hadfield Ltd of Sheffield, the company that invented the "Hadfield Steel" that these helmets are made of.
The included regimental photo comes to us in an old frame, and measures 45" long and 10 1/2" tall. It shows the entire regiment, and is marked 317 INFANTRY CAMP LEE, VA. on the bottom. There is also a black line pointing to one of the soldiers with the word "Me" very small next to it. We would assume this is the owner of the helmet.
A wonderful totally original "Doughboy helmet with a "Yard Long" Regimental Photo! Ready to research and display!
History of the 317th Infantry Regiment of the 80th Division:
The 317th Infantry Regiment was first constituted 5 August 1917 in the National Army (USA) as the 317th Infantry and assigned to the 80th Division. 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. The 317th Infantry included men from central and western Virginia, and was made part of the 159th Infantry Brigade in the 80th Division.
Each infantry regiment in the 80th Division used a unique helmet marking; the 317th used a diamond, the 318th a square, the 319th a circle, and the 320th Infantry Regiment a bowl shape. The headquarters of each regiment divided their shape using three vertical stripes of red, white, and blue; the 1st battalion of each regiment used solid red, the 2nd battalion white, and the 3rd battalion blue. Each company painted their respective letter inside the shape. The machine gun company of each regiment divided their shape vertically in half in red and blue; the supply company divided their shape in red and white.
- Overseas: June 1918
- Major operations: Battle of the Somme (1918), Meuse-Argonne, Battle of Saint-Mihiel.
- Casualties: Total-6,029. (KIA-880; WIA-5,149).
- Commanders: Brig. Gen. Herman Hall (27 August 1917), Maj. Gen. Adelbert Cronkhite (9 September 1917), Brig. Gen. L. M. Brett (26 November 1917), Brig. Gen. W. P. Richardson (28 December 1917), Brig. Gen. Charles S. Farnsworth (7 January 1918), Brig. Gen. L. M. Brett (14 January 1918), Maj. Gen. Adelbert Cronkhite (1 March 1918), Maj. Gen. S. D. Sturgis (22 November 1918).
- Inactivated: May 1919.
More on the M1917 "Doughboy" Helmet
The M1917 was the US Army's first modern combat helmet, used from 1917 and during the 1920s, before being replaced by the M1917A1. The M1917A1 helmet was an updated version of the M1917 and initially used refurbished WW1 shells.
The M1917 is a near identical version of the British Mk.I steel helmet, and it is important to note that when the US joined the Great War in 1917 they were initially issued with a supply of around 400,000 British made Mk.Is, before production began state side. The M1917 differed slightly in its lining detail, and exhibited US manufacture markings.
M1917 helmet liners typically show a paper label at the crown and the dome rivet head. The liner is set up as on the British versions, with an oilcloth band and net configuration, attached to a leather strap, riveted to the shell. The chinstrap is leather with steel buckle.
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