Original U.S. WWI Named Sun Helmet of Major General John F O’Ryan- The Rougnecks

Item Description

Original Items: Only One Set Available. Maj. Gen John F. O'Ryan was the Army's youngest division commander when he arrived in Europe and was the only National Guard general to remain in command throughout the War. After the War he was a founder of the American Legion and became prominent in the development of commercial aviation as a partner in Pan American Airways and President of Colonial Airlines. Later still, he was a candidate for Mayor of New York but withdrew and accepted the appointment as LaGuardia’s Police Commissioner. In other words, John O’Ryan was an excellent example of an American over-achiever.

This collection consists of artifacts from his service during the War with the 27th Division, known as O’Ryan’s Roughnecks. His importance to the Division, which mustered over 28,000 men, is indicated not only by its nickname, but also by its patch, which includes the constellation Orion in the Pleiades, a deliberate pun on the General’s name.

Astronomy furnished the inspiration for the distinctive shoulder patch insignia of the Twenty-seventh Division, American Expeditionary Forces, writes Herbert E. Smith in the Army Recruiting News. The division of New York National Guard men adopted Orion-the Seven Sisters of the Pletsdes--as a part of its finished design. On a circled background of jet black appeared these seven stars in red, with the monogram NYD (New York Division) likewise in red. The colors black and red have a special significance also; the black for iron, the red for the blood.

O’Ryan’s division was one of the American units that fought with the British in their successful assault on the immensely strong Hindenburg Line in 1918. Although the Allies broke the Hindenburg Line, the cost was high: of the 28,105 men of the division, 8,209, or 29% became casualties.

Included in this amazing set are the following:

• Original U.S. WW1 pith helmet used by and named to MAJOR GENERAL JOHN F. O'RYAN. The helmet has the original trade label in leather that reads-

Made in England expressly for BROOKS BROTHERS, NEW YORK AND BOSTON

The helmet, offered in excellent condition, retains the original red silk lining, leather chin strap, and comes in the custom made original steel transit chest. It is also marked on the leather sweatband-

GEN. O'Ryan

• Army & Navy Co-operative Society Limited measuring glass for medicine. Looks like it would also work well as a generous shot glass. It is cracked into two pieces, but can easily be repaired. It is in a finely custom fitted leatherette case.
• A single Major General’s shoulder board for the Class A uniform, done in gold thread. The reverse is leather with the manufacturer’s name, The War-Nock Uniform Co. New York.
• Black-enameled steel box with a hinged lid, 6.5 x 3 x 2.75 inches. The lid has an embossed cartouche reading Ridabock & Co. 112 Fourth Ave. New York.
• Inside the box is a pair of U.S. Army major’s full-dress braided shoulder boards and a screw button for one.
• Finally included is a hard cover book published some 60 years ago: OVER THERE WITH O'RYAN'S ROUGHNECKS" by William F. Clarke. The fascinating story of Major General O'Ryan's 27th Division in WWI.

A great original Pith Helmet together with other WW1 memorabilia of an American General who has become the stuff of legend!

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