Privately published last year, Helmets of the Home Front is the first book to cover the wide and confusing subject of the helmets and markings used by the various non military agencies in Great Britain in World War II. These helemts are only now being recognised as worthy of collecting and research, being ignored by collectors for decades. The topic is vast and this book, although including over a thousand different helmet markings in this volume, cannot hope to cover every single variation.
The book starts with looking at the most common helmet type used on the Home Front, the Mk II, and discusses manufacture, materials, liners etc. before going onto the helmet markings themselves. There is a logical progression through the main users such as the ARP and Wardens, Police, Fire Services and factories as well as the more obscure such as the PDSA. Finally there is a look at other types of helmets used on the Home Front such as Zuckerman type helmets and plastic helmets before finally considering some of the accessories such as helmet carriers and visors.
The book is vast in its coverage and for the most part the photographs are clear and it is easy to pick out the markings. It would be nice if some of the photographs were a little larger, however with the number of helmets included, it is clearly necessary to shrink some pictures down so a single page can hold twenty helmets. Even with these smaller pictures, the book is over 350 pages long so one cannot fault the authors for trying to keep it manageable.
It is clear that this volume is going to be the go to reference for helmet markings for many years to come and one of the most useful features for researchers is an attempt to codify the numerous abbreviations used on the Home Front, not just on helmets but in other documents. Again this is probably not an exhaustive list, but is certainly more complete that any other list that has been compiled in the last eighty years.
This book is highly recommended, and whilst the cover price of £65 is not cheap, this is a beautifully produced and privately published volume that is sure to become increasingly expensive on the secondary market once the print run is exhausted. Highly recommended.
The book is available to purchase here