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Gloucestershire Home Service Helmet

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Another holy grail helmet for me. This is of the Gloucestershire Regiment. This is the only unit in the British Army (or maybe any army for that matter) that has the honor of wearing a badge to the back as well as front of cap/helmet. This was allowed following the 1801 Battle of the Nile, where the unit fought off French Infantry to the front and defended against French Cavalry to the rear.




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A superb example to a famous Regiment, thanks for showing us. Is the helmet named to its original owner? :cheers:

Well, the helmet was sold with a tin that says, "Major Brodigan, 28th Reg." But I have to take that with a grain of salt. The Regiment was the 28th North Gloucestershire until 1880, but the helmet has a post-1901 King's Crown. So that doesn't exactly add up. The tin might be worth something on its own, as Colonel Francis Brodigan served as the commanding officer at the time of the consolidation with the South Gloucestershire Regiment.

I know that Colonel Brodigan had at least one son who served in the regiment, so I considered that the son might have used his father's tin, but that's doubtful. Franics John Brodigan reached the rank of Captain and was killed in action in May of 1915. So I doubt he'd use a tin that said, "Major Brodigan."

Hence I have to assume the helmet and tin were "married" at some later date. Hence it might be hard to track the helmet to an original owner. There is no name inside.

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I'd never thought about how the back badge would be fitted to the officers helmet over the spine.

Kipling & King describe the officers helmet back badge as bing of dead gilt metal?

The Other Ranks version had the wreath in gilding metal & the sphinx & tablet in white metal.

The back badge worn on the cap was smaller than that worn on the helmet, & of one colour metal, there is reference (possibly John Gaylor) to a back to back action of WWI resulting in a larger bimetal back badge being awarded - this appears to be a case of the helmet back badge being worn on the cap. Examples of the helmet size bimetal cap badge were certainly produced with a slider fitting, as well as west/east loop fittings.

Possibility that Captain Brodigan may have used his fathers tin with an original rank marking left on it, or the helmet & tin married up "withing the family", dad's tin with son's helmet, over the years?

Edited by leigh kitchen
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I had never known how the back badge fitted to the helmet either, and had previously purchased a Gloucestershire helmet, which I later returned to the seller. Stuart Bates and I contacted the Gloucestershire Regimental Museum and they provided a photo from their collection, which did show the badge mounted to the spine. It is interesting to note that both that example and mine have a slight bend in the spine... clearly it was designed to have something mounted to it!

I have another example of a WWI era slider cap badge and the back badge has the west/east loop fittings.

I will hold onto the tin for now, but I may end up donating it to the museum if/when I make it there. I have never been to Gloucestershire, but I hope to get to the Regimental Museum.

The irony is that I bought the first helmet, and then read up on the history of the regiment. I've managed to find a few items related to the Glorious Gloucs as well, but I'm absolutely pleased to find this helmet.

I also try to seek out items from the Artists Rifles and the Glamorgan Imperial Yeomanry. I have helmets from those regiments as well.

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Nice helmet Peter, now you need to show us the ORs back badge as fitted. :unsure:

If only I can find such a helmet! While British Officer blue cloth Home Service Helmets are easy to find the OR helmets are seldom out there. This is because the Officer helmets were private purchase while the OR helmets were government property and most were used until they fell apart. Many others were likely trashed.

I'm lucky to have found the Artists' Rifles OR helmet. But that was a Volunteer unit so I beleive even the OR helmets were private purchase. I've never seen an Artists' Rifles helmet in a private collection either.

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  • 2 years later...

Some photos of officer's & O.R.'s helmet & cap back badges on the Soldiers of Gloucestershire museum site:


Thank you for posting. That is one museum I hope to visit eventually.

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