Brodie Helmet

The Brodie Helmet had been first designed during the First World War as a way to protect soldiers from modern artillery weapons.

The standard headgear at the start of the First World War were made of cloth, felt or leather, which offered no protection from the modern artillery weapons. These weapons inflicted a huge number of lethal head wounds which prompted the development of new protective headgear for troops. This new headgear was first distributed in the Summer of 1915.

John Leopold Brodie (1873-1945) designed a helmet which resembled a medieval kettle hat. It was pressed out of a single sheet of steel to give it extra strength as well as making it easier to manufacture. The ‘bowler hat’ shape of a shallow circular crown and wide brim around the edge, was designed to protect the wearer’s head and shoulders from falling shrapnel. The helmet went through various design alterations throughout the First and Second World Wars.

The helmet pictured is the slightly modified MK II, which served British and Commonwealth forces from 1940. It has an improved liner and webbing chin strap.

This helmet belonged to Arthur J. McElrath, who was wounded on 26th June 1944 near Caen, Normandy, 27 days after his 19th birthday. You can see the damage to his helmet where a bullet has punctured the steel on the edge of the rim.