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Author Topic: HELMET PARACHUTISTS, LIGHTWEIGHT Mk.I GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) Paratrooper  (Read 3525 times)

Offline Tug1970

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HELMET PARACHUTISTS, LIGHT WEIGHT
Mk.I GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) Paratrooper helmet



The Mk.I GRP Para helmet is often referred to and commonly known amongst collectors as the M76 helmet although some people will argue that this is the incorrect designation for the helmet, which it is but we all know exactly what we’re referring to!  It was introduced and trialed in 1976 hence where the M76 originates.



The correct name for the helmet is ‘HELMET PARACHUTISTS, LIGHT WEIGHT’, it was manufactured by ‘Thetford Moulded Products’ based in Norfolk.  The helmet can be seen being worn by Paratroopers during the Falklands War, there was at this point a mix of Mk.II steel para helmets and the Mk.I GRP helmets worn although the Mk.I offered absolutely no ballistic qualities whatsoever.



This particular helmet has been spray painted with black camouflaging, the label is marked with 21 SAS 'Special Air Service' (Reserve) and the soldiers name and number.  I haven't researched this soldier as of yet.



The most striking feature of these early Mk.I Para helmets is the green vinyl chinstrap which proved to be extremely unpopular among soldiers who often swapped it out for the webbing chinstrap of the Mk.II Para helmets.  These helmets have become extremely rare and sort after also increasingly difficult to find with the original vinyl chinstrap in situ.



The material liner of the helmet is machine fitted to a plastic spider with 4 tabs, adjustment is only possible by the cord threaded through the ends of the tabs.  The Mk.I liner is different from later versions of the helmet in that the spider tabs are not secured to the liner further down as with later versions, you'll notice there are two extra holes on each tab but no lashings to the material part of the liner.



The original liners had a short piece of soft white leather for the sweatband, they often appear a lot darker in colour due to the obviously sweat, grease and grime but also I assume from cam paint.  The green vinyl chinstrap was also lined with soft white leather and also a leather sleeve covering the green webbing under the chin.  The chinstrap buckles were made of black plastic and fastened by pushing through each other and adjusting the webbing to suit as seen in the first photograph.

As mentioned these helmets are very hard to come by much more so than WWII Para helmets and they also command similar prices........don't be shocked to see these helmets go for as high as 500 GBP.


Brgds,
Tug
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline Helmhunter

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Very interesting helmet Tug, di were they issued walso with a cover ?

Phil.

Offline Tug1970

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Very interesting helmet Tug, di were they issued walso with a cover ?

Phil.

Hi Phil, yes they are usually found issued with the GS Mk.6 DPM early DPM cover with the two single bands of elastic running around its circumference.  These covers are now as rare as hen teeth, but a wide selection of materials, nets and covers were employed by the Paras including US Mitchell pattern helmet covers.

Tug 
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline Mark K

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Screaming nice lid Tug I am still hunting for an example with the early first variation green vinyl harness :'( but they are as scarce as hens teeth or rocking horse dung on the ground mate and very hard to come by...

Regards Mark

Offline Tug1970

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Screaming nice lid Tug I am still hunting for an example with the early first variation green vinyl harness :'( but they are as scarce as hens teeth or rocking horse dung on the ground mate and very hard to come by...

Regards Mark

Yeah I know, some tw#t keeps buying them all!!!  ;)
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline Tom E. Gunn

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Another winner!
"He who dares, wins!"

Offline Rakkasan187

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Really like the Airborne helmets...

Another stunning example

Smitty
"Pain is only weakness leaving the body"

"What you do in Life, echos in Eternity"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr (Smitty)
USA (ret) 1984-2005

EPFD 1997-2008

ASMIC Member
 
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team Association Member (RAKKASANS)

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Offline madtheswine99

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I know this is an old post, but two of these have come up on e bay. This is the link to one.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253460686980?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649


Offline Mark K

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Thanx now saved to my watch list will have a better look on my PC tonight I have since added an example to my hoard but would not mind another...

Regards Mark

Offline lewis505

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      • 82d Airborne Division Museum - Fort Bragg, NC
Thanks for the intel on this!
CHRIS LEWIS
Fort Benning, GA.
lewis2505@yahoo.com

*always looking for items related to:
82d ABN DIV (any era) // 505th PIR // 551st PIB
50th Infantry Regiment // 36th Infantry Regiment

Offline Jerry BB

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I already have them on watch but with so many others who were not looking who now are....only one of them still has the early straps, that is the one that will go for top dollar
Regards,

Jerry BB.

Offline madtheswine99

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I already have them on watch but with so many others who were not looking who now are....only one of them still has the early straps, that is the one that will go for top dollar

Thought that went on the cheap really.

Offline Mark K

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There were a few things about this example I did not care for the liner retention bolts should have be unpainted and the liner / green vinyl harness did not match the condition of the helmet body I am of the opinion it was put together ...

Regards Mark

Offline Tug1970

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There were a few things about this example I did not care for the liner retention bolts should have be unpainted and the liner / green vinyl harness did not match the condition of the helmet body I am of the opinion it was put together ...

Regards Mark
Hahaha, that guy stole the words right out of my mouth............can't remember who I stole them off!!  ;D  You alright Mark..........thought you were referring to my helmet to start with, wondered what I'd done to upset you!!  ;D ;) 

Well it may have been put together but the components such as the liner, inner helmet liner (with label), the vinyl chinstrap which themselves are as rare as hens teeth are all there albeit perhaps mismatched.  Personally for the price its OK as an example, so many 'put together' helmets out there I'm sure and its hard to be completely sure.........could have been refurbished at any point, Depot or otherwise.  Seen some pretty poor dressed up helmets that have quite obviously been 'put together' for display purposes, but again largely the components are all there. 

Tug  ;)
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

Spike Milligan

Offline Mark K

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Sorry Tug I rather like your lightweight  mate and yes lots of put together examples out there as mentioned by you looks to have all original parts...

Regards Mark

 

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