MKIII Helmets issued to the Black Watch of Canada

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MKIII Helmets issued to the Black Watch of Canada

Rob
Rob

July 3rd, 2003, 12:25 am #1

My wife bought me a new book the other day titled "D-Day The Strategy, The Men, The Equipment" published by MBI Publishing Company in 2001 (ISBN 0-7603-1192-7). On pages 178-179 there is a picture of Canadian uniforms and equipment from the Memorial Museum, Bayeux. In the picture is a MKIII helemt painted with a red hackle on the side and the caption states "Mk III helmet with insignia of the 'Black Watch of Canada'." I have never heard of MKIII helmets being issued to the BWC. So my question is, does anyone know the number of MkIII's issued the the BWC?

Thanks in advance,

Rob
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 3rd, 2003, 1:29 am #2

I have never seen a photo of the red hackle; could you scan that photo for me and email it to madorosh@shaw.ca? I've always been curious what the red hackle insignia looked like on the RHC helmet.

I do believe one or two companies were issued with the Mk III. They were also worn by the South Sasks in the 2nd Div - again, not the entire battalion.

For what it is worth, the Calgary Highlanders never wore them, and they were in the same brigade (5th).
Michael Dorosh
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Rob
Rob

July 3rd, 2003, 2:03 am #3

Mike,

The pic is on its way to your email. When I scanned the pic I blew it up some so it is a little grainy.

Thanks for the info.

Cheers,

Rob
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Ed Storey
Ed Storey

July 3rd, 2003, 11:52 am #4

My wife bought me a new book the other day titled "D-Day The Strategy, The Men, The Equipment" published by MBI Publishing Company in 2001 (ISBN 0-7603-1192-7). On pages 178-179 there is a picture of Canadian uniforms and equipment from the Memorial Museum, Bayeux. In the picture is a MKIII helemt painted with a red hackle on the side and the caption states "Mk III helmet with insignia of the 'Black Watch of Canada'." I have never heard of MKIII helmets being issued to the BWC. So my question is, does anyone know the number of MkIII's issued the the BWC?

Thanks in advance,

Rob
Although primarily issued to the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, and not to the whole division but to what appears to be only the assault formations, the British MkIII Helmet was also issued, in limited quantities to other non 3rd Division units. There are photographs of 2nd Canadian Infantry Division and 4th Canadian Armoured Division personnel wearing the British MkIII Helmet in NW Europe. As with most things military, there are no absolutes, so it should not come as a surprised that MkIII Helemts were used by other non 3rd Division formations, BUT IN VERY LIMITED NUMBERS.

Now all of you 2nd Division re-eanactors do not have to starting squirreling away the kids milk money for a MkIII Helmet. Much like the can of worms that was opened by the 1 Can Para re-enactors with the M1 Garand Rifles and folding stock M1 Carbines, MkIII Helmet use in 2nd and 4th Division units was not prolific enough to demand that you run out and purchase a helmet for wear. As well, the photographs seems to indicate that re-enforcements were using the MkIIIs and not the old sweats.

Also, the MkIII Helemt was standard issue to British units from 1945 until the 1980s, so to encounter one with a red hackle painted on the side could very well originate from an Imperial Black Watch Battalion and not Canadian sources as we would all like to believe.
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Rob
Rob

July 3rd, 2003, 1:26 pm #5

How common was the practice of painting unit id's on helmets (ie. red hackle on a helmet for the Black Watch)? Was this done more often in the early years of the war or thoughout?
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Pete c
Pete c

July 3rd, 2003, 1:56 pm #6



The marking of steel helmets had been common pratice before the war, when regimental badges or unit devices were frequently painted or transferred on to helmets,usually on the left side. Some units painted them on the front and right side as well. Marking was permitted to continue during the war. providing that they were done under unit arrangments.
Markings included regimental and unit flashes,lettering and or bands of colour for various distinguishing purposes.

pete c
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Clive M. Law - Service Publications
Clive M. Law - Service Publications

July 3rd, 2003, 4:39 pm #7

The GGFG museum own a tankers helmet (Helmet, RAC) worn by an officer who, post-war, commanded the Regiment. The GGFG followed British practice and painted a red 'brush' i.e. plume, similar to that worn on the bearskin, on the side of the helmet. The Coldstream and the GGFG differ only in the side on which the plume is painted. I assume that the rest of the (Brit) Bgde of Guards as well as the CGG did the same.
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Michael Dorosh
Michael Dorosh

July 3rd, 2003, 5:13 pm #8


The marking of steel helmets had been common pratice before the war, when regimental badges or unit devices were frequently painted or transferred on to helmets,usually on the left side. Some units painted them on the front and right side as well. Marking was permitted to continue during the war. providing that they were done under unit arrangments.
Markings included regimental and unit flashes,lettering and or bands of colour for various distinguishing purposes.

pete c
Were very common in the period 1941-1944, depending on the unit. Decal transfers were used by many units; the Seaforth Highlanders had a cap badge on a tartan square, the Calgary Highlanders had a 3x3 set of red and white checks emulating the dicing on the glengarry (and these are commonly seen in wartime photos of training in England), and if you look at Ken Bell's books you will see other examples, even on the Continent. The Chaudieres had a maroon/white/red flash divided diagonally, and you can see these in pictures taken on Juno Beach. The Maisonneuves had a white fleur-de-lys on their helmets; Bell shows a couple of
them at a funeral service in France or Holland somewhere. I can think of specific examples, backed up by photographic evidence or talks with museum curators, for the Royal Montreal Regiment, Regina Rifles, Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Hasty Pees, and 48th Highlanders of Canada.

In action, they were covered by the helmet net/scrim and probably painted over or otherwise deleted in some cases, or never actually added as the great influx of new replacements joined the units after the first month of action. The number of men serving in infantry units in late 1944 that had actually been in the UK with those units in 1941-43 was rather low, especially in the frontline infantry companies.

A replacement from a light anti-aircraft regiment in October 1944 probably wasn't given instructions to mark his helmet or to receive a new helmet with markings on it. I suppose that was up to individual units - though bear in mind the first thing replacements did receive was shoulder titles and regimental head dress. See Frank Holm's book about joining the Calgary Highlanders as a replacement signaller after Normandy. I also have a set of QOR dress instructions that does stress highly the desire to have men dressed "regimentally" - though the orders do not mention helmet markings and the regimental museum denies that they adopted them at any time (though photographic evidence suggests something else).
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Michael Dorosh
Michael Dorosh

July 3rd, 2003, 5:19 pm #9

The GGFG museum own a tankers helmet (Helmet, RAC) worn by an officer who, post-war, commanded the Regiment. The GGFG followed British practice and painted a red 'brush' i.e. plume, similar to that worn on the bearskin, on the side of the helmet. The Coldstream and the GGFG differ only in the side on which the plume is painted. I assume that the rest of the (Brit) Bgde of Guards as well as the CGG did the same.
In Brian Davis' book, there are two photos of a Scots Guardsman wearing checks on his Mk II helmet, similar to the ones worn by the Calgary Highlanders, only in red, white and black/dark blue - emulating the dicing on the glengarry.
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Alistair Taylor
Alistair Taylor

July 4th, 2003, 7:43 am #10

I have an early tankers helmet, one of the ones that looks like a miners, and it has the Scots Guards check on both sides, unfortunately ay some point it has been overpainted but the last owner made a fairly successful attempt to clean up one side - the other I have still to do but I am wary of attempting it in case I damage it.

Alistair
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