World War I Marine Corps Uniform & Helmet
The individual shown here in the picture is my grandfather. And that's his brother, Jack. They joined the marines together for World War I.
If we can take a look at the uniform here, We know that he's in the Marine Corps because it's a 1917 pattern forest green wool Marine Corps service coat. He's got Marine Corps eagle, globe, and anchor collar insignias, which they did not all have. We know by the shape of his shoulder sleeve insignia that he's in the 6th Marines. And we know by the color of the felt background that he's in supply company, 6th Marines. His VFW hat has his World War I victory medal, and that's his World War I Marine Corps good conduct medal. The helmet, it's actually a British helmet. If we turn this upside down, we see that the chin strap lugs are attached with these split rivets. That tells you right off the bat that it's a British helmet. After experimenting around with a bunch of different things, we ended up settling on just adopting the British-style helmet. We made ours here, but we also bought a slug of them from the British. We see that the Marine Corps eagle, globe, and anchor insignia has been attached through a hole that's actually punched through the front of the helmet. One of the things that you look for on these helmets is the method of attachment for that eagle, globe, and anchor insignia. The reproductions, they tend to be very careful with the helmet, and they'll drill that hole and insert the insignia and attach it. The Marines in World War I simply took a punch, slapped it with a hammer, and put it on. So that's one of the first things that you look for. The front is painted with the supply company 6th Marines insignia. It's got the EGA on it. It's a wonderful set. Marine Corps items are among the most hotly collected of all World War I American military.
We Marine families are very proud.
It never goes away, does it? And even though you have a uniform that has some mothing issues, it's still a wonderful coat. It's a nice complete archive of his service. You've got his I.D. tags, his discharge documents. Most World War I uniforms aren't worth very much. We had approximately four million men in service. About two million got overseas. They all had multiple uniforms. There's a lot of it out there in the world. So your average World War I army uniform is $50 or $60 on its happiest day without insignia. Marine Corps stuff is always better than Army stuff. The set that you have here today would retail for between $2,500 to $3,000.
Wow, that's very exciting, thank you. (chuckles)
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