WWII Very Rare British Defiance Shrapnel Helmet


A very rare and unusual looking British Brodie helmet, that was produced in very small numbers just before WWII.

The helmet is very similar to the early WWI examples of the Brodie ‘Tommy’ helmet, but with the part of the skirting above the ears folded down. The inside liner is made of an orange brown foam rubber, with a central cushion of the same material. The rubber foam has gone stiff and dry with age. The chinstrap is made of canvas webbing and is fixed to the helmet by means if copper rivets. The chin strap buckle is made of steel and is stamped PAT.MAY 5 1903. The helmet is painted black on the inside with an anodised bronze colour to the outside.

Only a handful of these helmets have turned up over the years and they appear to have been made by the Head Protectors Ltd company in Grimsby. They were named the DEFIANCE SHRAPNEL HELMET and were available for 8 Shillings per unit (a standard Mark II Army helmet, was about 9 Shillings and sixpence). The helmet was made of heat-treated steel to resist shrapnel, falling debris, etc. They referred to the inside foam as Sponge Leather Lining. It was marketed to the Home Front personnel and public. The introduction and adoption, by the government, of the standard Zuckerman helmet put paid to its future, hence the rarity of the item. Rare item of ‘Home Front’ history.

Size: 27.5 x 22 x 14 cm (10 7/8 x 8 5/8 x 5 ½ inches)
Size head: 60 (7 ½ inches)
Weight: 812 g