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Thread: Pith Helmet

  1. #1

    Default Pith Helmet

    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.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  3. #3

    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  5. #5

    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Little things like this help spend my time in quasi retirement.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by artmiser View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by artmiser View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 09-10-2009 at 07:55 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Woman's Royal Navy Service?...but where does the E fit in Rs?
    Wiki is ok. History Channel is ok.
    But WW2 Forum is the BEST!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Actually, I think WREN / WRENS was the term applied to a member / members respectively of the WRNS rather than to the WRNS itself.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  11. #11

    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Here are some pictures of the helmet, may help.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Pith Helmet

    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

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