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artmiser
09-05-2009, 06:58 PM
Hey all I picked up a british Pith helmet today, trying to find some info on it. Info I have is the inner manufacturing tag is attatched to the inner top and is half missing. what I have says Kamal ripped then ort ltd with 1941 in a symbol like the outline of a police officers badge. interior material looked like its color was originaly olive drab but faded on the top to a light green tan.

On the front bill is written, by a soldier most likely, WREN and below that 142.

If this does not ring any bells I will take a photo and get it posted. There was at one time a symbol attatched to the center front but all thats left is the small holes where it used to be.

pdf27
09-05-2009, 07:38 PM
WREN 142 will be the surname and last three digits of the army serial number of the soldier, and the symbol centre-front will have been their cap badge (the badge of their regiment or corps). With that, you could probably work out who it originally belonged to - without it you're pretty much stuffed.

artmiser
09-07-2009, 03:40 PM
Perhaps, wife is into geneology and some of the sites have access to british military records. I'll try that out and for the 50$ U.S. I paid im not upset.

pdf27
09-07-2009, 04:31 PM
Problem is that there will probably be more than 1000 people in the British Army in that time frame with the surname Wren. That being so, the chances of there only being one Wren 142 are poor (it's a relatively common name), so you would struggle to nail it down to one individual.

artmiser
09-08-2009, 05:26 PM
Little things like this help spend my time in quasi retirement.

Deaf Smith
09-09-2009, 09:58 PM
Actually I think it's kind of cool and I'd try to find out what I could. Never know what you might dig up.

Rising Sun*
09-10-2009, 08:44 AM
what I have says Kamal ripped then ort ltd

"ort ltd" might be the end of the maker's name, such as "Beaufort ltd". (I just invented Beaufort for the sake of illustration - no idea if such a company made pith helmets.) In British and some Commonwealth usage "Ltd" stood for Limited after a company's name, meaning the liability of its shareholders is limited to the nominal value of their shares. Kamal suggests Arabic origin or perhaps India or Ceylon.


On the front bill is written, by a soldier most likely, WREN and below that 142.

WREN also stood for the Women's Royal Navy Service, which provided female sailors for a wide range of non-combat tasks in England and abroad. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/categories/c1186/ Perhaps the helmet inscription designated a WREN with No. 142 for some reason.

herman2
09-10-2009, 09:02 AM
Woman's Royal Navy Service?...but where does the E fit in Rs?

Rising Sun*
09-10-2009, 09:12 AM
Woman's Royal Navy Service?...but where does the E fit in Rs?

Probably just spelling it the way you'd more or less pronounce WRNS as a word.

Rising Sun*
09-10-2009, 09:19 AM
Actually, I think WREN / WRENS was the term applied to a member / members respectively of the WRNS rather than to the WRNS itself.

artmiser
10-27-2009, 09:37 PM
Here are some pictures of the helmet, may help.

pdf27
10-28-2009, 03:13 AM
Perhaps the helmet inscription designated a WREN with No. 142 for some reason.
Very, very unlikely - even today in the British Army kit is still labelled with a surname and if it's a relatively common one (a problem I've never had) the last three digits of the army number. I've never heard of kit being labelled with the regiment/corps, although on occasion bergens, etc. have had the colours for the regiment/corps painted on the side facing the back - usually RAMC do that.

Rising Sun*
10-28-2009, 03:31 AM
There's a couple that are similar but not identical here http://www.nyc-techwriters.com/militaria/helmets.htm

Maybe the book in the left margin of the link has more.

R Mark Davies
10-28-2009, 07:41 PM
As has been said, the writing is unquestionably the soldier's surname and his 'Last Three', which has been the British Forces' way of identifying individuals for over 100 years. It's nothing to do with the WRNS (they were not female issue, in any case).

artmiser
10-31-2009, 02:20 PM
I would like to thank everyone who has responded to my questions, may have to wait a few more years before the service records become public to know who for sure.

Art

Deaf Smith
11-01-2009, 10:00 PM
Wouldn't it be wonderful to find the soldiers name, and then his surviving relatives and give his son or grandson, their fathers helmet he wore in the war.

And awful lot of people lost loveones and got nothing to remember them by.

Artmiser, let us know what you find.

Deaf

cato
11-12-2009, 07:27 AM
Hey all I picked up a british Pith helmet today, trying to find some info on it. Info I have is the inner manufacturing tag is attatched to the inner top and is half missing. what I have says Kamal ripped then ort ltd with 1941 in a symbol like the outline of a police officers badge. interior material looked like its color was originaly olive drab but faded on the top to a light green tan.

On the front bill is written, by a soldier most likely, WREN and below that 142.



Sherlock is on the job. If 1941 refers to a date (of manufacture) we can narrow it down. The standard pattern 'Wolseley' helmet was not produced after 1942. British (UK) troops were not issued the standard pattern tropical helmet after 1941 except for service in India and Indian Army operation areas and this appears to be a Quartermaster's subterfuge. (My Father, posted to India in 1942, was issued a 'pith' helmet' amongst his RAF tropical kit-complete with 'neck protector' and on arrival in Bombay was required-as were all of the thousands of other troops, to hand it back into stores).
In WW2 tropical helmets can be seen worn by British (Indian Army units)
e.g 20th Indian Division in Iraq. Helmets made in India were stamped 'I' inside next to the date of production
http://www.thewe.cc/thewe_/_/_/uruknet/british_troops_baghdad_1941.jpe
http://wapedia.mobi/en/File:BritsLookingOnBaghdad1941.jpg

Officers East of suez often wore the helmets in the early part of WW2 like Percival. But is was rare for O/R outside India.
http://1.2.3.10/bmi/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/Lieutenant_General_Arthur_Percival.jpg/240px-Lieutenant_General_Arthur_Percival.jpg
The name Kemal suggests a middle-east production--Egypt, perhaps?
You will be hard pressed to find a picture of WW2 British troops wearing a tropical helmet in Egypt in WW2, they were considerd 'naff'.The Australians issued pith helmets, but I have never seen a picture of any 190s Aussie unit wearing them except ceremonial. An exception is soldiers from the South African defence Force who sported a non-wolseley pattern 'polo' helmet
http://1.2.3.12/bmi/www.delvillewood.com/photographies/polo/South%20African%20Irish.jpg

http://samilitaryhistory.org/vo061obd.jpg

The South African forces were also active in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Eritrea and confusingly--the Railway Brigade extended lines in Palestine in WW2.
However, the name Kemal suggests a civilian or at least, a non-issue hatmaker. Khaki-colour helemets were common among civilian administrators and colonial police units (except Palestine and Transjordan) and plenty of civilians sported them.
A clue. Soldiers habitually wrote the names of their units, their stations and actions on the inside of the helmets
http://1.2.3.13/bmi/i88.photobucket.com/albums/k186/stuart_bates/SherwoodForestersInterior.jpg

Look around the sweat band for an imprint
http://1.2.3.13/bmi/www.diggerhistory.info/images/uniforms3/raaf-hat.jpg

You may get more help here


http://www.gmic.co.uk/