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Original U.S. WWI M1917 Refurbished Doughboy Helmet of the 59th Pioneer Infantry Regiment

Regular price $275.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. 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.

This fine example has been restored with new paint by a master helmet restoration expert. It is a fantastic camouflage design featuring the insignia of the 59th Pioneer Infantry Regiment, a swastika inside of a diamond. 

NOTE: The unit insignia predates the use of the Hakenkreuz by the German Nazi Party by several years, and has no association with that group.

Helmet unfortunately does not have any of the liner or chin strap remaining. The bales for the strap are missing as well. The shell is maker marked with the stamping on the underside of the rim HS 479. This helmet is most likely a British manufactured shell, as the first 400,000 helmets issued to GIs were supplied by the UK. This maker code stands for Hadfield Ltd of Sheffield, batch 479, the same company that developed the steel used in helmets throughout the world. They both made the steel and the helmets, so there is only one stamping on this helmet.

This is a very nice example of a genuine USGI Great War helmet from a legendary regiment of the US army.

The members of the 59th Pioneer Infantry during WW1 as part of the American Expeditionary Force, came mostly from the 1st Delaware Infantry unit of the National Guard. The members came mostly from  Delaware, Southern New Jersey, Maryland, and Southern Pennsylvania area. Both the Commanding Officer, Col. John Warner Reed, and his Executive officer Lt. Col. James Austin Ellison, were from Wilmington, DE. 

Formation of the 59th Pioneer Infantry:

On January 5th, 1918, a messenger brought word to Colonel J.W. Reed, of the 54th Depot Brigage, 29th Division, Camp McClellan, Alabama, to report to Division Headquarters, and upon his arrival there he was informed that instructions had been received from Washington to reassemble the units and men formerly of the 1st Delaware Infantry who had arrived at Camp McClellan October 6th, 1917. The 1st Delaware Infantry, which was the only National Guard organization in the State of Delaware that had been called to the Colors in the year 1917, had previouslyi been organized into a regiment and, after a tour of guard duty commencing in March, 1917, covering various points susceptible of attack by German sympathizers in the State of Delaware, was assembled as a regiment, September 15th, 1917, and moved to the State rifle range near New Castle, Delaware, where it remained until entrainment for Camp McClellan, October 4th, 1917. Special Orders No.7, Headquarters, 29th. Division, followed the informal announcement and ordered the reassembling of the various units into a Regiment of Infantry, which moved from Camp McClellan, Alabama, on the 12th and 13th of January, 1918, arriving at Camp Dix, New Jersey, on the 15th and 16th of January, 1918.

No information had been given regarding the duties of Pioneer Infantry and the Regiment, after its arrival at Camp Dix, was trained as an Infantry Regiment, but it was learned that the duties of this branch of the Service were similar to those of the Pioneer Infantry of the British Arm, viz., Engineer duty with combatant service when required.

On February 27th 1918, the formal designation "59th Pioneer Infantry" was conferred upon the command, the strength of the regiment being 52 officers and 1663 enlisted men.

After formation, various other units were added to the regiment to bring it up to combat size, after which it trained until August 21st 1918, when orders were received to embark for Europe. The regiment arrived on September 8th 1918, and then due to the urgent need at the front, was deployed on September 26th to various 1st army locations.

The regiment remained in Europe after the Armistice of November 11th 1918, and various companies continued to be transferred to various commands for ongoing use. 

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