French M15 Foreign Legion

Le drapeau du régiment de Marche de la Légion Etrangère dans lequel servent les Transylvaniens.

General Information: Starting in October 1915 the helmets of African troops serving in the French Army were repainted mustard color. Surviving examples of this type are usually found with external mustard color paint over the original factory blue or grey-blue paint. Typically, the original factory paint remains on the interior. At the very end of the war factories produced helmets entirely painted throughout with the brownish color paint. The brown-painted helmets with infantry badges were worn by cavalry troops, administrative staff who did not have a specific badge, and soldiers of the Foreign Legion.[1]

Displayed Example: I purchased this from a collector from Quebec, Canada. He, in turn, bought it at a gun show in France in the early 1990s. It is one of the rare late-war production colonial helmets painted brown throughout. The dome bears a crisp stamp of the Dupreyon factory of Paris and a size stamp, 58. It is a medium sized helmet shell. Interestingly, it is mis-stamped as a size A, which should correspond to head sizes 54, 55, and 56 and the smallest shell size.

Collector Notes: In Ronald Hennequen’s wonderful reference book on French helmets he wrote this about the factory brown painted helmets: “…helmets issued from workshops painted entirely in mustard (even internally) are rare, and as such are highly prize by collectors.”[2] These are very difficult helmets to find – much scarcer than factory brown painted helmets with colonial badges.1

* Review of the marching regiment of the foreign legion at the end of November 1918, place Stanislas in Nancy, 54, France. By Unknown author – ECPAD (Établissement de Communication et de Production Audiovisuelle de la Défense), Ministère de la Défense, Paris, France, Public Domain,

[1] Mahout, Frederic. Personal communication. April 20, 2023.

[2] Hennequin. 1999. pp.60

Published by maplecreekmilitaria

I am a collector of military headgear from 1915-1945

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