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ChrisB

Unusual MKII helmet with “Trench Art” writing in blue over top “ 15 Fighter Sqn” etc

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This particular Mk II helmet was issued to and worn by NZ42578 Earl John HAYES.
He was Born 05 January 1919 and enlisted in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) 16 January 1942 at the age of 23 and 11 days. His occupation on enlistment was as a junior Linesman/Driver in the Post and Telegraph Department based in Lower Hutt. His training in NZ was based at Harewood, Wigram and Rongotai (where he did his Driver (Petrol)/Mechanic course at The Technical Training school). Was posted overseas from 18 October 1942 to 02 December 1943 serving with the 15th Squadron from 22 October 1942 till 06 June 1943 when he was posted first to 1 Fighter Maintenance Unit and then on the 04 October 1943 to 1 Servicing Unit where he served till he returned to NZ. In the Pacific he was stationed in Guadalcanal (30 May 1943-4 October 1943) and Espiritu Santo (04 October 1943-02 December 1943). When he enlisted his trade was as a Flight Mechanic but he was re-mustered on the 16 July 1942 as a Driver (Petrol) Mechanic. After his promotion to Corporal on 01 June 1944 he was again re-mustered as a Mechanic (Motor Transport) on 01 November 1944. He discharged from the RNZAF 12 April 1945. He was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, Defence Medal, War medal 1939-45 and NZ war Service Medal. He died at Lower Hutt Hospital on the 30 October 1987.
 
This helmet is unusual not only for its being covered in “trench Art”, but because the information written on the helmet also provides a narrow date range as to when it was done. Given that it has  “15 Squadron Transport Guadalcanal Ltd” pained along the brim it would seem to date this helmet in the 30 May to  6 June 1943, period when he was serving with the 15 Squadron on Guadalcanal.
 
15th Fighter Squadron RNZAF was formed 01 June 1942 at Whenuapai. It served in Tonga, Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Espiritu Santo, Bougainville and Green Island. The squadron was equipped with Kittyhawk and latter F4U Corsair fighters. The Squadron was disbanded in November 1945. The 15 Squadron flew more sorties than any other NZ Fighter Squadron in the Pacific theatre of  World War II.

Seem to be having uploading of image problems. Will try again latter.

 

Edited by ChrisB

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Nice find! What's scratched into the paint under the brim, his name?

Looks like a Brit made helmet, would've been the icing on the cake if NZ made.

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Hi Tony,

Yes it is his name that is scratched into the brim. I am fairly sure it is a Brit helmet but, as you say, it would have been really cool if it was a NZ made helmet (still looking for one of those NZP marked ones, but even here they are hard to find). Still I'm really happy to have this one in the collection.

Cheers

Chris

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