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William Bradley Umstead, 1895-1954
From the William B. Umstead World War I Collection
North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

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Source Description
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North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Physical Description:

HELMET, United States Model 1917, steel with detached but intact cloth liner and netting, most of wool padding missing, adjustable leather chin strap with "7 1/8" stamped into leather; outer rim measures 12.25" (31.1 cm) from front to back, 11.25" (28.6 cm) wide, "70219" stamped in metal beneath front rim; painted overall olive drab, rough outer surface with significant abrasions in several locations.


William Umstead preserved every type of headgear issued to him in the army, including his "pot" helmet, which was patterned after the British MkI design. Unlike later helmets issued to German troops in World War I, this model is open on the sides, providing virtually no protection for the neck and lower portions of a soldier's head. Despite these drawbacks, the British military continued to use this style of helmet for decades after the Great War, through World War II and into the 1950s. For many years, it remained standard issue in the United States military as well . When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, the American soldiers who responded to that surprise attack still wore this same basic model.

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.