Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Republic of Ireland mk.II combat helmet

Before we get started, Google "YouTube WWII and the Shameful Actions of Ireland".  The short video gives background about Ireland's role in the Second World War and how Irishmen who chose to fight against Hitler were treated upon returning home. 

In the Republic of Ireland the period of the Second World War was termed "The Emergency".  Ireland chose not to ally itself to the forces of anti-fascism but instead chose to stay neutral and turned its attention to its own borders and welfare.

The political and military leaders of the Republic of Ireland envisioned two possible scenarios that they needed to protect the country against:  first, that the Germans would invade and occupy Ireland and use it as a staging area for a thrust into Britain.  Second that the British may possibly invade to occupy the treaty ports of Berehaven, Queenstown, Lough, and Swilly. 

Owing to the traditional hostility between the two nations the reluctance of the Republic to ally itself with Britain may be understandable though less so considering that the common foe was Nazi fascism and European enslavement, in this the Irish seem shortsighted and even selfish. Irish passive-aggressiveness toward Britain included an agreement with the Nazis regarding the acceptance of captured British materiel, including 10,000 rifles, 550 machine guns, and 46 field guns with which to supply and arm the Irish Army; the only reason this scheme wasn't realized was the difficulty of transporting the large amounts of booty from the European mainland to Ireland.

In 1927 the strength of the army of the Republic of Ireland numbered some ten thousand men, by 1940 it was 17,156, by 1942 - 38,000, and in 1949 well after the period of the emergency it was 40,000.

Despite the Irish enmity for Britain the Republic did embrace the mkII helmet perhaps to distinguish themselves from the Germans through the use of  the Germanic design of the m.27 helmet.

My previous post of the m.27 can be viewed here.

Now for the walk around:

The liner is secured to the helmet shell by a large screw and nut

passing through the apex of the shell.

The liner is the first version of the mkII liner which utilizes fiber

rather than rubber bumpers on its perimeter.

The bumpers are fastened to the pressed paper crossbands
by split pins.

The liner's only marking is the numeral 7 appearing twice.

In addition to the fiber bumpers, the earlier version of the mk.II liner is characterized by a large pad at the crown.

The liner leaves are gathered by a cord.

The chinstrap bails are fastened with a single rivet.  ROCo is the maker's mark for the firm of Rubery Owen & Co Ltd of Leeds. Also noted is that this is a mk.II helmet manufactured in 1940.

The rectangular chinstrap loops are held in place
with a tensioned clip.

The blackened brass buckle is overly complex and doesn't lend itself to quick fastening and unfastening.

The helmet rim is a separate piece of stainless steel spot welded along the edge of the shell and butt-joined at the rear of the helmet.

This marking is penciled under the brim.  Initials "ER" perhaps?

The shield and six-pointed star is the insignia of
the Eastern Command.

And now, some photos of the helmet in action:

President of the Republic of Ireland Eamon DeValera reviewing the troops during "the Emergency".

Irish soldiers in Wexford inspect a creamery bombed by the Nazis in clear violation of Irish neutrality.

There you have it. I'll see you next time with another cool helmet from the collection.


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