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Wolseley Pattern Foreign Service Helmet

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Here is an interesting Wolseley pattern, to the Coldstream Guards, 2nd Foot Guards, the oldest regiment in the British Army. Named to Lieutenant R. F. S. Gooch, he wore this in India, 1937/8, whilst a military secretary to the Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow. Gooch subsequently went on to become a lieutenant colonel by 1944, winning the DSO in World War Two. The helmet is of a very high quality, although it is of an unknown maker, retailed by Edward Smith, an outfitter of Cork Street, Savile Row. Unusually for the Wolseley pattern, this one has a fully rounded front peak. The Brunswick Star pagri badge of the Coldstreams is of superb quality, with beautiful enamelling.

135_3591.jpg

Edited by cpmills

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Chris,

it certainly looks like a Wolseley, walks like a Wolseley and quacks like a Wolseley. I notice the rounded peak but my RCS, posted earlier in this topic, also has the rounded peak. The puggaree is certainly unusual as it looks like it has twice the number of pleats on the LHS than the RHS. Why is this? Just another regimental distinction or unique to this helmet?

Regardless it is a real beauty!

Stuart

Edited by Stuart Bates

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Stuart,

I am sorry the Gooch Wolseley got accidentally posted three times, with a misleading entry on the second and third, this is my computer illiteracy speaking. I had tried to post something new.

I do not think the double folding on pagri wrapping was any sort of unit distinction, it was just a piece of luxury, and the London pagri-girls showing off their trade. I have seen it on a few foreign service helmets.

There are four fully rounded front peaked Wolseleys presently known. It was a minority option.

Chris.

Chris,

it certainly looks like a Wolseley, walks like a Wolseley and quacks like a Wolseley. I notice the rounded peak but my RCS, posted earlier in this topic, also has the rounded peak. The puggaree is certainly unusual as it looks like it has twice the number of pleats on the LHS than the RHS. Why is this? Just another regimental distinction or unique to this helmet?

Regardless it is a real beauty!

Stuart

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The helmet I meant to add is the one below. A friend helped me sort out what I did wrong.

Not a Wolseley pattern foreign service helmet, but perhaps belongs in this topic, here is an interesting khaki sun helmet of singular shape. Would anybody like to give an opinion as to it?

Chris

Buller.jpg

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Must be civilian. It sort of reminds me of the German naval pattern in shape, although it clearly isn't. Could be inspired by it though.

I actually collect more civilian piths than military, and this is one of the more interesting examples I've seen.

~TS

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TS,

Your observations as to the Germanic styling influence in this helmet are spot on. Ever since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, a number of people in the British Army hankered after all martial things German. This design has much of the pickelhaube in it.

This was an army helmet, and British, being made by the London cork maker Hawkes & Company, and showing army issue marks of 1896. It is a known experimental pattern of the 1890s, one of a number of helmets put up for the competition of 'universal helmet', the idea of which was to replace both home service and foreign service helmets with one design.

This helmet had somewhat quirky styling, which was to address criticisms of the beautiful Victorian Colonial pattern, which was considered to have serious problems in the depth of both peak and the nape, which made binoculars and rifles difficult to use properly.

It was designed by Guy Fleetwood Wilson, who was Director of the Army Clothing department in the 1890s.

It is the only rank and file quality helmet ever found with the makers name of Hawkes & Company, of 14 Piccadilly, within it. The company is not known ever to have named another rank and file helmet.

The experimental helmet had less of a peak and a much flatter nape. It also had considerable height taken out of the crown.

Trialled in Sheffield and Manchester, this experimental helmet was unpopular on grounds of styling, the men disliked it.

It never got as far as a hot weather station, hence the lack of a puggaree on this surviving example.

This survivior is a real rarity, for only a few hundred of these were made for trialling purposes. It has spent most of the last 100 years in a Welsh barn.

The 'Wolseley pattern', a far more elegant design, won the competition for universal helmet instead, being sealed for the army in September 1899.

I would like to see pictures of this German naval pith helmet, which you say has some styling in common with this hawkes experimental helmet.

Chris Mills.

Must be civilian. It sort of reminds me of the German naval pattern in shape, although it clearly isn't. Could be inspired by it though.

I actually collect more civilian piths than military, and this is one of the more interesting examples I've seen.

~TS

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Happy to oblige.

Go to the bottom of the page and click on 'tropical helmets.' It has pictures of originals from the collection of Damien Doppler.

http://www.germancolonialuniforms.co.uk/

Question, since you apparently do know quite a bit about this helmet, is it meant to have such a wavy brim? Or is that warping over the years?

~TS

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TS,

Many thanks for this; I can see the similarities to the German naval helmets. The movable rubber fillets to the back of Imperial German helmets are interesting. Right from the first use of India rubber, to glue helmet shells, in the 1860s, there was heavy criticism of rubber as not being heat neutral, nor was it light in weight. Yet rubber went on to be used, in a few cases, into the 1930s, for whole sun helmets, which were really heavy, and must have been notably hot. One was even marketted as a 'Rubber Health Helmet'.

The wavy side brims on the British experimental helmet are indeed part of the original design, no warping over the years. What were these for?

Well, the Victorians were obsessed about the sun hitting the temples. The Victorian Colonial pattern helmet was heavily criticised in this respect, for its lack of lateral brim spread particularly over the temples. I think the wavy brim extensions on the experimental helmet were trying to provide a bit more shade in this area.

What civilian pith helmets do you have? Although this is a military forum, I think you might be justified in posting a few here? Although I have never collected civilian helmets, I do find them fascinating.

Regards.

Chris Mills.

Happy to oblige.

Go to the bottom of the page and click on 'tropical helmets.' It has pictures of originals from the collection of Damien Doppler.

http://www.germancolonialuniforms.co.uk/

Question, since you apparently do know quite a bit about this helmet, is it meant to have such a wavy brim? Or is that warping over the years?

~TS

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I take forever to get pictures, so I can't really provide anything. Off the top of my head I've got I think six or seven, in varying styles (at least one is made in Japan, if I remember correctly). They're probably all in my closet or in storage, but I'll dig them out and describe them at first oppurtunity.

I'm curious, though, don't those over-sized Victorian sideburns protect the temples from the sun? :cheers:

~TS

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This is a 1942 stamped Wolseley with the flash of the 7th Armoured Division. The flash is actually the 3rd version and was issued to the Division before its departure to Northern Europe. There was a badge attached at some time with lugs east-west and roughly 3/4" apart. Does anyone know where I can source the mailed fist badge of the 7th Armoured?

Stuart

7thArmoured-620.jpg

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Here is a new purchase of a Hawkes Wolseley with a dark green piping to the top of the puggaree. It was stated as being of the Green Howards which were the re-designation in 1921 of Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment). However, the seller had no idea - 'the guy I bought it from said so'.

As far as I can establish the following regiments had green piping, about the Green Howards I have not found any information -

Somerset Light Infantry - Rifle green piping

Dorset - Grass green

Sherwood Foresters - green

King's Shropshire Light Infantry - Dark green

the piping is a dark green or rifle green so that would steer towards the SLI or the KSLI. I have heard that the KSLI had a triple folded puggaree which should rule that out of contention but I have a Wolseley to the KSLI without piping at all.

Anyone any ideas?

Stuart

SLIDorsetKSLIAlexandraPrincessofWal.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates

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This is my KSLI Wolseley named to V. Morris and dated 1915. I have the medal card of V. Morris to confirm this. As noted above there is no dark green piping to the top of the puggaree.

Stuart

KSLIStrawWolseley2-side500.jpg

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Here is my latest Wolseley after saying that I had finished with them. It is to the Royal Berkshires and has the 'I' under the broad arrow indicating Indian issue. Inside are inked 'India 1921' and 'Mesopotamia 1921' as well as the name 'Rance' but no initial. Checking the UK Archives gave me 13 'Rances' in the Royal Berkshires. Is that a common name in the area?

I can make out on the maker's stamp 'Percy' so that would be Percy Ayres of London. The shell is a little soft but the puggaree is very plush and is much lighter under the flash which is itself a beauty.

Stuart

Berkshire.jpg

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A Wolseley to the Royal Engineers with a badge bearing the cypher of King George VI and a strap inscribed with 'Royal Engineers'. This dates the helmet as 1936 up to 1942 when production of Wolseleys appears to have ceased, at least there are no known examples dated after 1942.

RoyalEngineersc1937.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates

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A recent acquisition - this one to the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. There is a very faint inked name inside which if I can decypher it I will research.

DoWoffrsJonMills560.jpg

Edited by Stuart Bates

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Here is a new purchase of a Hawkes Wolseley with a dark green piping to the top of the puggaree. It was stated as being of the Green Howards which were the re-designation in 1921 of Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment). However, the seller had no idea - 'the guy I bought it from said so'.

As far as I can establish the following regiments had green piping, about the Green Howards I have not found any information -

<b>Somerset Light Infantry</b> - Rifle green piping

<b>Dorset</b> - Grass green

<b>Sherwood Foresters</b> - green

<b>King's Shropshire Light Infantry</b> - Dark green

the piping is a dark green or rifle green so that would steer towards the SLI or the KSLI. I have heard that the KSLI had a triple folded puggaree which should rule that out of contention but I have a Wolseley to the KSLI without piping at all.

Anyone any ideas?

Stuart

<img src="http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k186/stuart_bates/SLIDorsetKSLIAlexandraPrincessofWal.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

KRRC would have a black chinstrap would'nt they, rather than the brown as on this one?

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Leigh,

there is an inked name to the interior of S. Pellett. I looked up the UK Archives and found an Ernest S. Pellett of the East Surrey Regiment. I emailed the Surrey research people (with a photo and without) but both were rejected - damned if I know why.

Stuart

203041, L/13239 Ernest S. Pellett, East Surreys, on the MIC.

Some S Pelletts:

17783 Cpl Sidney Pellett of the Wiltshire Regiment, who transferred to Z.A.R or L.A.R.

4378, 291556 Pte Sidney Pellett, Cheshire Regiment,

R/36611 Pte Sidney E Pellett, KRRC,

7749 Pte Sydney Holden Pellett, 13th London KIA September 1916.

SS20474, 20474, 64000 Sidney Guy Pellett signed up for the South Staffs in 1915 but was medically downgraded following gunshot wound & transferred to the Royal Defence Corp in 1916.

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Hi Leigh,

this helmet I have attributed to the East Kent (Buffs) because, after WWI, they adopted buff/blue piping to the top of the puggaree.

Maybe S. Pellet transferred after the war or maybe it is a completely unknown S. Pellet.

Stuart

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Yes, Id've thought Buffs as it's in the colours of their stable belt - (stripes of blue, buff blue for the belt).

Now that would look good displayed with a Wolseley - a stable belt, which I think would often reflect the colours of the pugaree, & a swagger stick.

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Here is my latest Wolseley. It is to the Scots Guards and belonged to Sergeant James Lamb who served from the 1930s through the 1940s. It has a photograph of the owner which I am yet to receive but will post when I do.

 

Stuart

ScotsGuards1927001.jpg

​Stuart, could you tell me if the cap star is lugged or has it a slider. Would it be possible to have a close up picture of the front and rear if possible.

Many thanks

Andy

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Andy,

I didn't get a notification of your post so sorry for the delay. The badge is lugged. I shall photograph the rear shortly.

Stuart

Edited by Stuart Bates

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