Original U.S. WWI M1917 30th Infantry Division Officer's Doughboy Helmet with Hawkes & Co. Liner dated 1917

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic U.S. WWI Officer's "Doughboy" M1917 Helmet, with a rare 30th ID Unit marking, as well, as a very upmarket British-Made liner from Hawkes & Co., located on the legendary Savile Row. 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. 

This example has dome headed rivets on the chin strap bales, indicating American Manufacture. Also, it is completely genuine with original painted division marking, featuring the O.H. XXX logo, for "Old Hickory", the nickname of the 30th Infantry Division, signified by the Roman Numeral XXX (30). As correct for WWI, the badge is actually sideways from the correct orientation. The logo is in great shape, with the original texture still visible, with a great patina.

The top of the shell retains almost all of the original textured brown paint, with a lovely patina. The shell is heat lot marked with the stamping on the underside of the rim ZD / 52, a known US heat lot marking, and the interior paint is also in great shape. The shell does have a few dents, but that is to be expected from a helmet this old. They do not appear to have been made anytime recently, and add to the character of the helmet.

M1917 helmet liners typically show a paper label at the crown and the dome rivet head, however this helmet has a much more upmarket liner, probably acquired in England before deployment. Instead of the standard oil cloth, it has a leather sweatband and top pad, with a fine woven mesh liner body. The liner is also supported around the edge by a fiber and rubber spacer that rests around the inside of the shell. 14 small steel tabs link the liner to this support.

The intricate high-quality construction is not surprising, as the liner was made by the British firm of HAWKES & Co., located on the legendary home of British Bespoke clothing, SAVILE ROW in LONDON, as indicated on the top pad, along with patent information. The sweatband itself is marked HAWKES PATENT SELF-FITTING & VENTILATING LINING. The liner is in good used condition, and is quite solid. There is the expected wear from use and age to the Leather and Rubber components, but it really is quite nice. The chinstrap unfortunately is in much more delicate condition, and the leather is worn, and has broken off at the bale on one side.

This is a fantastic chance to get an original WWI helmet, in excellent condition for being 100 years old.

History of the 30th Infantry Division "Old Hickory":

The division was originally activated as the 9th Division (drawing units from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee) under a 1917 force plan, but changed designation to the 30th Division after the American entry into World War I in April 1917. It was formally activated under its new title in October 1917, as an Army National Guard division from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

The Division was named after the famed and illustrious soldier and President, Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson, who was born near the North/South Carolina border, and rising to fame in Tennessee, where he provided some regional flavor to the tightly knit group of soldiers that he led there during the Indian Wars.

The Division's logo is an obvious link to this heritage, being represented by an "O" and "H" with the Roman Numeral "XXX" in Royal Blue on a background of Scarlet Red in the center. During World War I, the shoulder patch (logo) was worn horizontally, which actually was the incorrect orientation, which was not discovered and corrected until the mid 1920's.

In May 1918 the division was sent to Europe and arrived in England, where it departed for the Western Front soon after. The division, along with the 27th Division, was assigned to the U.S. II Corps but did not serve with the main American Expeditionary Force (AEF) and was instead attached to the Second Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), trading American equipment for British equipment.

The major operations the 30th Division took part in were the Ypres-Lys, and the Somme offensive, in which it was one of the two American divisions to break the Hindenburg Line in the Battle of St. Quentin Canal. The division had, in three months, from July until October 1918, sustained 1,237 officers and men killed in action (KIA), with a further 7,178 wounded in action (WIA) or missing in action (MIA).

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