RAF B Type flying helmet
A classic example of the most desirable of the RAF WW11 flying helmets. The earliest dated example we have seen is 1935 and the pattern remained the standard RAF helmet until 1941 when it was replaced by the early version of the externally wired C type. We are unable to date this example precisely as the small woven label in the inside crown has been removed, a modification often carried out in WW11 to avoid giving the manufactures details to the Luftwaffe as a calling card! The helmet is however stamped on the shell 22C/65 and on the receiver covers 22C/66 so likely to have been early war issue as later helmets were stamped according to size 22C/285-22C/292. This example features an exceptional shell with the leather in really good condition, strong stitching and none of the surface lifting as is often the case with these helmets. The snaps for a D type oxygen mask show age and service related wear as you would expect. Both the Bennett buckles are in place, the chin strap example retains all its original leather cover whilst the rear adjusting strap one has lost a part of the cover. The chin strap retains a half of the chrome plated end ; invariably these are missing completely. Both receiver zips are original and full functioning but the leather pull tabs are later replacements. Inside the receiver covers the original receiver holders are still in place as well as what appear to be the original Air Ministry foams with all the correct stampings with stores ref 22C/67. In many B helmets we see these have been later fitted with RCAF examples for display purposes. Inside the lining is generally good with one minor hole. The bottom area of the lining below the near perfect 'doughnuts' has been replaced. This appears to be a period repair and blends in with the wear on the crown area of the helmet. A further nice period touch is one of the doughnuts carries the owners initials D.H.L.C. but we can find no name or service number so tracing him could prove a challenge. The velvet brow pad is in exceptional condition but the velvet pad beneath the chin strap buckle is now absent. The label, probably for the reasons mentioned, is missing but we would guess the size is a 1 or 2 but perfect on a display head. Whilst not a mint example it displays remarkably well and it avoids most of the pitfalls that are often seen on the few remaining B helmets that turn up these days. This one almost certainly served at the time of the Battle of Britain so grab the opportunity to add it to the collection as it won't be with us for long. It is competitively priced to reflect its current above the average condition.