Aeronautical Headgear British
Price = n/a
Fleet Air Arm 1st Pattern N type Flying Helmet
This pattern is often incorrectly called FAA D type but they actually have their own designation which is 'N' Type flying helmet. The chin strap protector is stamped 22C but as advised by Mick Prodger this helmet did not carry a stores reference suffix number but was referenced as 'NIV', meaning "Not In Vocabulary. "This fine example is a very early externally wired 1st pattern with contra goggle straps and provision for use with the D, as well as later E, E* and G masks. An oxygen mask clip has been added so it appears to have been used in conjunction with one of these later masks.
We have had a very few of these over the years and this is well and truly the best example to date. Firstly it is a desirable size 4 (7 1/2 – 7 3/4). Intended for use in tropical/desert climates in the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa it incorporates a neck flap, exactly as the RAF pattern D helmet, to protect the wearer from the sun, a real issue in the open cockpit of a Fairy Swordfish. The outer fabric and the flap is very lightly soiled, commensurate with service use. The oxygen mask and goggle snaps are very good and retain virtually all of their original coatings. The helmet is fitted with the characteristic zipped leather receiver housings that give these helmets their distinctive look ; both are very good condition with no damage or scuffing and have excellent brass zips still fitted with elongated leather pull tabs associated with FAA helmets. The earpieces have their original receiver carriers in place and are fitted with a very good pair of set of original foam rubber cushions, one being RCAF marked. Below one earpiece is an ink 'AM' stamp with Kings Crown. The chin strap Bennett buckle clip is exceptional with the full leather cover remaining in place with no damage; the chin strap is missing chrome end but otherwise no issues at all.
Inside is equally crisp. The neck flap has soiling where you would expect and just minor grub on the satin lining which on these helmets is nearly always badly stained or damaged or both. The ear doughnuts are also satin covered and just one minor nick to one. The felt brow lining that is prone to wear or moth damage is close to mint. The helmet is not named and sadly the history has been lost down the years but it most certainly would have a story to tell. These first pattern FAA N helmets are often missing from many collections and are actually significantly harder to source than the RAF B type. Grab the opportunity to add this one to the collection whilst you have the chance!