British Brodie

General Information: John Leopold Brodie filed a patent for this helmet in August of 1915. Officially, it was referred to as the “War Office Pattern” helmet; unofficially, it has been referred to by the name of the patent holder: “Brodie.” The helmet was cheap and easy to produce and offered good protection, particularly from overhead exploding shrapnel. The Brodie helmet was first used on a large scale in March of 1916. The British initially painted these helmets in a variety of colors, but predominantly green. The raw edge readily distinguishes these early pieces from the later MKI. There is also a slight difference in shape. The War Office Pattern helmets had noticeably narrower front and rear brims compared to sides. The helmets were originally produced with a one-piece 6 tongue leather liner and a two-piece chinstrap with a pronged buckle. Refurbished and late production Brodie helmets were equipped with the later style liners and painted with the olive drab paint with sand that was most typical of British helmets in the First World War. The helmets were produced in one size, although the liners were adjustable and later type liners came in different sizes. The total orders for Brodie helmets were 1,225,000, and 1,000,000 reached the front by July 1916. It is not clear whether the orders for the Brodie helmets were entirely fulfilled.[1]

Displayed Example: The helmet shown here is either late production or was a battlefield pickup that was refurbished. It has the later style liner and the one-piece chinstrap with sliding buckle. It also has the olive drab or khaki colored paint with sand finish to reduce reflectivity. The chinstrap is nicely named to “W.W.Welsh 16 HQ 16 Eng. IR(?).”

Collector Notes: Despite the large number of these helmets manufactured, they are rare to find on the collector market. Surviving examples usually have the later pattern liners. An early production, non-refurbished War Office Pattern helmet with its original one-piece liner and two-piece chinstrap with pronged buckle is a very rare thing to find. Some of these helmets were issued to early arriving American Expeditionary Force (AEF) soldiers; consequently, they sometimes surface from estates in the USA.


[1] Haselgrove, M. pp359-360

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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