Japanese Army Air Force WW11 Bomber Crew Winter Flying Helmet
A good issued example of a pattern which is normally associated with bomber aircrew. These were first issued in the 1930’s and remained a standard pattern helmet through until the end of WW11. The shell is made up from eight pieces of brown leather and is in generally good shape but exhibits some lifting of the original top finish, but it has responded well to a treatment of Pecards antique leather dressing. Bomber crew flight helmets were quite heavily padded. This gave increased insulation and also provided a degree of head protecting against knocks and bumps when manoeuvring between crew positions inside the aircraft. The seams are all tight although thehelmet has a small area of damage to the top left brow. Pressed hardened leather ear cups are fitted and on the inside of right one it is fully stamped with kanji (Chinese characters) indicating this helmet was manufactured by ‘the Clothing Department ‘located in Osaka. It is further embossed indicating the production date was ‘Showa 14’ (meaning Japanese era) 1939 so it pre dates the attack on Pearl Harbour. Each receiver cup has a 2.5 cm holes to their centres for the mounting of communications receivers (which the Japanese seldom used). The two press studs for the goggle straps are attached to the top of the hardened receiver cups which is a distinct feature of the Bomber helmet as the fighter version had these straps fixed to the rear. It also features an adjustable leather strap at the rear of the helmet to aid the fit of the helmet. The chin strap leather shows some service wear but it fine for a display purposes; the friction rings rings are in excellent condition. Below the chin strap rings is the Chinese ‘kanji’ character which indicates this helmet is a desirable ‘Large’ size. Inside the helmet carries a two tone synthetic fur lining which is in excellent issued condition. Whilst this helmet is not mint and has clearly seen service it is still a very decent untouched display example of an increasingly rare WW11 pattern. Those of you owning a copy of Mick Prodger’s excellent book ‘Vintage Flying Helmets’ will see a near identical example illustrated on page 310. Many thanks to my good friend Mr Yasu Kikuchi for invaluable help in the translation the Japanese characters as so identifying the origins of this flying helmet!