French Military Issue Helmet - May 8, 1917

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The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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French Military Issue Helmet - May 8, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | WW1 Daybook | May 8, 2017


While the U.S. Senate’s official declaration of war came on April 6, 1917, it was not until mid-1918 that the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) first joined their European allies overseas. Led by General John Pershing, their first military engagement coincided with the last major German offensive of the war. At the Battle of Chateau-Thierry on July 18, 1918, the AEF joined Ferdinand Foch’s French forces in mounting a successful counteroffensive against the German army. Today’s artifact comes from that military engagement. An unidentified American soldier brought back a French-issue military helmet from that battle. The steel helmet is painted gray, and it features a leather strap and liner. The front of the helmet bears an insignia of the French army, a stylized version of a flaming grenade with the initials “RF,” which signified the French Republic (République Française).

Citiation: Minnesota Historical Society Collection. PUID 64.71.1.J