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Painted "Diary" Souvenir M42 German Combat Helmet
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The M42 combat helmet is marked on the interior rim with "CKL64", indicating a size 64 shell that was manufactured by the firm of Eisenhuttenwerke in Thale. The exterior of the helmet was painted in a sky blue color with extensive notations in white paint that recorded the geographic locations where the American soldier had served, to include: "Fort Dix, N.J.", "Homsley, South Eng.", "Bournmouth, Eng.", "Bayeaux, Fr.", "Orleans, Fr.", "Cambrai, Fr.", "Venlo, Holland", and "Germany". There are also several air fields painted on the helmet, such as "McDilll Field" in Florida Buckley Field in Denver, Colorado, and Kellog Field in Battle Creek, Michigan. The locations painted on the helmet, taken together, indicate that the helmet was painted as a souvenir for a member of the 394th Bombardment Group of the 9th Army Air Force.
The 394th Bombardment Group was the first of the US Army Air Forces to utilize Royal Air Force Station Boreham, northeast of London. The 394th arrived in Boreham in March of 1944 from its home airfield, Kellogg, in Battle Creek, Michigan. In July of 1944, it relocated to RAF Holmsey South. Battle Creek and Holmsey South are both listed on the helmet. The 394th flew Martin B-26 Marauders and primarily targeted bridges in occupied France and Belgium before the group relocated yet again to continental Europe. The helmet retains its original liner which has a tear on the tip of one lobe and lacks the chin strap.