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Thread: OT: Canadian Seaforth Highander MkII helmet ID'd

  1. #1
    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    Default OT: Canadian Seaforth Highander MkII helmet ID'd

    I picked up a helmet, quite reasonably priced ($90) that no one was bidding on (ID'd as an "American WW1 helmet"). It is a MkII, Canadian CL/C make, 1941 date, with a unit flash painted on the left side. It has a camoflage paint scheme done over a wide mesh net. The service number in the rim from the pics appeared to be K 54070. Before getting it I inquired about the service number at a Commonwealth Badge site:
    http://www.britishbadgeforum.com/for...ead.php?t=7251
    I got good help and it was ID'd to a Pte. Pike of the Seaforth Highlanders. Amazingly, when I got it, sure enough, the name "Pte. W.D. Pike" was also in the rim in the same writing as the service no., "K 54070". You can barely see the name on the left side. Pics from the auction below.
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    Last edited by Hambone; 01-17-2014 at 04:37 PM.

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    The Seaforth Highlanders were a hard fighting regiment with the Canadian 1st Div. and fought through Sicily and Italy. Pte. Pike is ID'd in the unit history as being wounded three times in combat. The regimental history lists K54070 as Pte. Pike, W.D. Served with the Seaforth's 30 Apr 1943 through 4 Apr 1944. He was wounded three times while with the unit, the third wound while patrolling at Crecchio against the German 755th Regt. ended his service with the Seaforth's and he was sent home. History of wound dates and where:

    K54070 Pte. PIKE, W.D. Service with Seaforths 30.Apr.43 - 4.Apr.44

    Wounded: 5 Aug. 43 - July 1943 in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. The beach landing was relatively uneventful but the Seaforths would soon see hard battles as they fought veteran German units for hilltop town after hilltop town through Valguarnera, Leonforte, Nissoria, Agira and Reegalbuto, to Adrano.

    Wounded: 17 Dec. 43 - From December 6 to 22 the 1st Division advanced only 6 km from the Moro River to the edge of a small town named Ortona. Wounded while attacking through an olive grove while riding/dismounting from Sherman tanks.

    Wounded: 4 Apr. 44 - Crecchio area of Italy in Ortona area doing patrolling. Enemy - German 755th Regt., 334th Division.
    From Ortona the Seaforths continued to move north fighting through the Liri Valley and breaking through the Hitler Line, the Germans' second defensive line. This was the hardest fought battle for the Seaforths of the entire Italian campaign. At one point on the afternoon of 23 May 1944, the Seaforths, having taken the line, repelled a German counter attack, and when the Germans pulled off only eight soldiers remained, commanded by C Company Sergeant Major J.M. Duddle
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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    As an aside, it was said by some that the regimental badge on the helmet was incorrect as it had the crown and cypher above the stag's head and the EM/OR issue badge did not have these. I found and bought the regimental history which indicates that the flash painted on the helmet is indeed the correct one and the issue badge was incorrect/not the one the Seaforth's wanted. Thus the benefit of solid period reference research. ;) Note:

    "Officially, the regimental cap badge is described in General Order No. 111 of 1923 as: "In silver, a stag's head, with the letter 'L' and a coronet, set between the antlers, the whole resting on a scroll bearing the Gaelic motto 'CUIDICH'N RIGH'." . . . The hat badge supplied to the unit before and during the war did not conform to that worn by the affiliated regiment, and despite unending correspondence over a decade, the Seaforths were unable to have the badge they wanted issued to them. Consequently, the Seaforths had their badges privately manufactured to ensure its conformity with the "imperial" Seaforths."
    - Footnote 19, page 52, "The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada 1919/1965" by R.H. Roy

    So, Pte. Pike and his mates painted the correct regimental badge on their helmets, which conformed to their General Order 111, which they wanted. The issue stag's head badge deviated from their orders and was the one they did not want.
    Last edited by Hambone; 06-03-2010 at 01:28 PM.

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    BTW, Peter, JM, Snafu, my apologies if this should be in Off Topic discussions. You can move it there if it is. He was wounded three times by German Militaria however

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    Senior Member mauser99's Avatar
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    Default helmet

    I'm sure no one will mind. I remember when you picked it up and posted it on g.b. Very nice!!!!
    the canadian stuff is way undervalued. As is canada's role in the war...

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    The Canucks fought hard and had a distinguished combat record. I'm reading a very good detailed book about the Seaforths fighting in Italy and it's pretty impressive. The fellow that owned this lid was wounded twice and went back fighting until his third wound sent him home. That says alot.

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    Moderator Peter U's Avatar
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    Hello Hambone,

    That is a great helmet and one with real research, thanks for taking the time to post it.



    You know that I like items with a story (not some BS but real warstories) so I surely don't mind to have this thread in this section of the forum.


    Cheers,
    Peter

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    I received the service records of Pte. William Donaldson Pike, Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, K54070 today. They are attached. Interesting stuff from a brave young man. Pte. Pike was the ripe old age of 21 yrs, 4 mos. and had been wounded three times in some of the war's toughest combat in Italy at the time of his medical discharge on April 23, 1945. He was 6 feet tall, with brown hair and blue eyes and a woodworker who had not finished high school. Pte. Pike had a bit of a problem with rules and regulations as he was disciplined several times and liked to go AWOL. Out for a beer and ladies perhaps? What's an 18-19 year old fellow to do?

    Pte. Pike returned to the Seaforths for combat duty after his first two wounds, with his third and last wound ending his combat career. He ended up rehabilitating in Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver Canada and went AWOL from there as well. Looks like he went AWOL from every hospital where he treated.

    Note: Guys, I have a fantastic researcher in Canada who can find service records for a reasonable fee. PM me for his contact info if you have a need.
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    Last edited by Hambone; 04-22-2011 at 11:15 AM.

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    Last six pages of records. Understanding the abbreviations:

    AA Sect. 15(1) - Army Act Sect. 15(1) ("absent without leave")
    AA Sect. 40 - Army Act. Sect. 40 ("act, conduct, disorder, or neglect, to the prejudice of good order and military discipline")
    AWL - Absent Without Leave
    CGU - Canadian General Hospital
    CARO - Canadian Army Routine Order
    CIRU - Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Unit (replacement pool for units)
    DD - Disciplinary Duty
    DIRU - Division Infantry Reinforcement Unit
    Forf pay - Forfeiture of pay
    FP - Field Punishment
    SHofC - Seaforth Highlanders of Canada
    SOS - Struck off strength (removed from unit)
    TOS - Taken on Strength (added to unit)
    X3 - All ranks evacuated on medical grounds behind Regimental Aid Posts
    X4 - Unposted reinforcements in the theatre of war belonging to the unit or corps
    X8 - All non-effective held at Base Reinforcement Units whose return to the UK has been authorized

    Canadian Military Abbreviations - http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/0...9.011-e.html#a

    "Roman Way" - Roman Way Convalescent Hospital (Colchester UK, common destination for soldiers making the transition between standard hospital care and a rehabilitative hospital that prepared them for a return to Army duty.)
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    Last edited by Hambone; 04-22-2011 at 02:07 AM.

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    Community Organizer Hambone's Avatar
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    Shaughnessy Military Hospital, where World War II officially ended for Pte. W.D. Pike, and from whence he went AWOL:

    http://www.heritagevancouver.org/top...en2009_08.html
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    Last edited by Hambone; 04-22-2011 at 02:17 AM.

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