Officer’s Liner

Big Red here with some “collector jargon” for all you M-1 helmet lovers out there.

“Officer’s Liner”

If you find yourself in a discussion about M-1 helmets with collectors from “back in the day,” it is likely you will hear the term “Officer’s Liner”.

So, what is an Officer’s Liner and where does the term come from?


In short, an officer’s liner is an old collector term used to describe a Hawley paper liner, and the reasons why older collectors used this term revolve around early collected examples, commonly published photographs, and a lack of published research.

In this modern world of electronics, I suppose it is difficult for a younger collector to imagine a world where the only available sources of information on helmets were in books published about World War II at the local library. The seemingly infinite access to images, history, and collector insight on the M-1 helmet today can be both confusing and overwhelming.

The simple ability to use a cell phone to snap a pic of a photograph and swipe to enlarge and identify details without distortion from the printing process is a world changer in and of itself. However, to understand where “collector jargon” comes from, one must first imagine a time when there was no internet, no published books on the topic, and your local surplus dealers, based on the timeline of when they acquired helmets, were the only real M-1 helmet experts around.

The first “cardboard” liners discussed by early collectors of the M-1 were generally in good nick because they rode out their term of service in a footlocker having seen little use. Many of these liners had been issued to personnel that served stateside or behind the lines where daily tasks did not require a helmet to be worn but had name, rank, or insignia applied for those rare occasions when they were.

On the other hand, liners of this type issued to the average soldier for use in the field did not last long before needing to be replaced and therefore did not survive long enough to find their way into the collections of future generations.

Nobody in the collector community knew much about liner manufacturers at this time or the differing characteristics of the liner’s evolution. Collectors relied solely on published photographs and the physical characteristics of the liners in their collections.

Many of the early liners found by collectors had been brought home by an officer and were identified as such. Commonly published photographs of the time showing soldiers wearing this type of liner, without the helmet, were often depictions of officers behind the lines.

Basically, as with most collector jargon, this term came about as the small community of M-1 helmet collectors needed terms to describe specific items of interest, and as no serious research had yet been done, much less published, they simply agreed upon a term based on what had been gleaned from their collective experiences. Nobody knew that Hawley Products Co. even existed or made helmet liners; they just knew officers wore them in photographs, and many of the ones in their collections had officers rank painted on them, so "Officer’s Liner" it was.

 Now you know….


if your friends want to know how you gained your intel, tell em
Big Red Says!

4 commentaires

  • Mannie Gentile

    I marvel at the changes to information access in our hobby. I started 51 years ago, when all of the information – good or bad – came from the “old guys”, it was a hit-or-miss proposition with a good deal of misinformation being promulgated. Now I’m one of the old guys, and I’m dismayed that, despite the wealth of resource material, the misinformation, in many instances, continues.

  • Bill Giles

    Good stuff. Very interesting. I want to read more.

  • Bruce Raich

    Have you heard about the Parrish-Reeding m1 helmet contract? They produced several thousand helmets before the wars end. The few examples extant are worth an fottune. Article is in Circa1941.Com web site.

  • nick barba

    learn something new every day! great article! thanks for sharing

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