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Canadian Expeditionary Force Steel Helmets
The Type A and B Brodie Helmet
In June 1915, the War office in London had concluded that some sort of steel helmet was required to protect the head and shoulders of troops locked in trench warfare.

The intent of the Helmet, Steel, Mark 1 was not to prevent a bullet from penetrating into the wearer's head, as no helmet of the period could provide that protection without being incredibly heavy. The helmet was designed to shield the upper head and shoulders from small shrapnel (primarily secondary).

The War Office Inventions Department received a submission from Mr. John L. Brodie who had developed a steel helmet to protect soldiers from shell splinters, rocks, and soil thrown up from artillery bombardments. The helmet closely resembled the 14 and 15th century Pikeman's helmet. Two types were submitted for evaluation, the "Type A" and the "Type B". After field trials, the type A was determined to be more suitable and was put into production. The helmet was rimless and was painted a smooth dark-green color. The chinstrap was secured directly to the helmet brim and the liner was held into the skull with a single rivet on the top. A thick felt pad was fitted to the top of the skull interior to aid in cushioning against impact.

*Note* The proper term given by the British to what has commonly become known as the "Brodie" helmet, is "Helmet, Steel, Mark 1". It is also referred to in some period documents as "Brodie's Steel Helmet, War Office Pattern". But, like many others, I refer to these as "Brodie helmets".
The liners on Brodie helmets are often stamped with a red patent stamp. The stamp states " BRODIE'S STEEL HELMET Registration No. WAR OFFICE PATTERN Patent No.".
The Mark 1 Steel Helmet
In 1916 several improvements were made to the Type A helmet. A formed rim was welded onto the outer brim and a new pattern of liner was utilized.
On the new liner, there was a leather strap under the liner which was riveted to the top of the shell. This strap held the liner in place and was attached to the leather chinstrap with brass square loops. There was also a chinstrap loop riveted to the helmet brim with a split rivet to hold the two straps in place.
The improvements also had a net fitted with a draw string added to the liner to facilitate a better fit. To prevent the refection problems caused by the smooth paint of the Type A, the Mark 1 helmets were to be painted in a non-reflective khaki-sand paint.

The new helmet was known as a "Mark 1 Steel Helmet". This example combined the Type A rimless shell with a Mark 1 liner. The liner net is clearly visible.
1917 Improvements.
In 1917 it was decided to introduce a rubber ring to the top on the liner. This would prevent a direct impact on the wearer's helmet from being transmitted directly to the skull.

At about this time, the habit of painting the unit's formation patch onto the front or sides of the helmet became common. Like most helmets from this period, the wool padding has been eaten away by insects revealing the rubber ring.
Rather than show all the helmets here which would become tedious, the helmets below were selected to show a representation of different colors, markings, and textures. All of the examples below have full liners and chinstraps.
Type A rimless Brodie helmet with a Mark 1 liner. On the helmet is a painted cap badge for the 8th Canadian Infantry Battalion, (Black Devils), 1st Canadian Division, Winnipeg Manitoba.

The helmet is painted in the typical early smooth dark-green paint. The little devil is painted-on in red paint. This example is my favorite Brodie.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a faint painted cap badge for the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, 3rd Canadian Division, Sherbrooke Quebec.

A GOC, 3rd Div, dated 18 Nov 1918 ordered that all helmets in the 4th Canadian Division were to be collected at Battalion level and be painted grey. The unit cap badges were then applied in paint with stencils.
A fellow collector, John Pierson, contacted me with his astute observation that the color of the stenciled badge on 3rd Division grey painted helmets seems to correspond to the brigade and to the patch color. I.E.. for a 7th brigade's which has a green shape above a grey rectangle, the stenciled badge is also green. Red shape above a grey rectangle has a stencil in red etc.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a faint painted cap badge for the 58th Canadian Infantry Battalion, 3rd Canadian Division, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

It appears that this example has been painted in accordance with the observation mentioned above, as it is grey with a stenciled cap badge, but the cap badge is in dark blue as this Battalion had a dark blue shape on their formation patch.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a painted blue rectangle over a green rectangle formation patch for the 85th Infantry Battalion (Nova Scotia Highlanders), 4th Canadian Division, Halifax Nova Scotia.
There is a collector's "myth" that these mustard-yellow 85th Btln helmets were painted this way for the victory parade in 1919, but I have been yet to discover any documentation. What is a fact, is that every single 85th Btln helmet found locally by myself or friends in Nova Scotia, out of the woodwork or from families, is mustard-yellow with painted formation patches like the example above.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a painted maroon arrow over green rectangle formation patch for the 4th Battalion Canadian Machine Gun Corps, 4th Canadian Division.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a painted boxed CE over a red rectangle formation patch for the 1st Canadian Division Engineers.
Mark I Brodie helmet with a painted red square over a blue rectangle formation patches for the 26th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Canadian Division. Saint John, New Brunswick.

The helmet is painted in the typical early smooth dark-green paint
Mark I Brodie helmet. This finish is a standard tan color with sand texture.
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