White tropical helmet : Captain M A Brown 9 Hodson's Horse Cavalry Regiment, British Indian Army

Place Asia: India
Accession Number REL34510
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Helmet
Physical description Canvas, Cotton, Leather, Plant matter, Polished cotton, Rubber
Maker Ranken & Co
Date made c 1917-1922
Conflict Period 1920-1929
First World War, 1914-1918

Tropical style light weight helmet covered with white painted cotton, the inside of the visor is finished with a faded green polished cotton. There is an integral leather chin strap and sweat band on the inside of the hat. Across the interior of the crown is a pair of cross over canvas supports one of which has come undone. The natural coloured leather chip strap extends over the top of the crown where it is secured by a cotton tab. There is a red polished cotton interior to the crown, on which stamped in gold ink is the manufacturers details 'By Appointment to H.M. The King / RANKEN & CO / Calcutta - Simla - Lahore / & Rawal Pindi. / London Branch / 13a George Street / Hanover Square.W.'. The side of the crown features four small circular rubber air ventilation holes.

History / Summary

This white tropical helmet relates to the service of Montague Ambrose 'Monte' Brown. Brown was born near Bega, NSW in 1899 and was educated at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill. On leaving school he returned to the New South Wales south coast where he was active in the pre-war Australian Army militia, serving with 1 Light Horse as a trooper from 31 December 1909. On 1 April 1910 he was promoted to corporal and three months later to sergeant. In July 1912 he transferred to 28 Light Horse where he promoted to regimental sergeant major on 1 January 1913. Brown was offered a commission to 2nd lieutenant on 1 August 1913.

With the declaration of war in 1914 he was an early volunteer in the AIF. However, upon joining he reverted to the rank of trooper. He left Sydney in 1915 with the 12th Light Horse, bound for Egypt. The AIF eventually recognised his experience with the militia and on 4 May 1915 Brown was promoted to 2nd lieutenant. He was then dispatched to Gallipoli with his regiment where he was promoted to full lieutenant on 19 August 1915. With the end of the Gallipoli campaign, Brown returned to Egypt with his unit.

Brown served in Egypt and Palestine and on 9 September 1916 was promoted to the rank of captain. In 1917 he was transferred to the Indian Army for a five year engagement with the Imperial Government. During his time in India he served as a captain with 9 Hodson's Horse Cavalry Regiment and saw active service during the third Anglo-Afghan war between May and August 1919. On 8 November 1922 Brown's period of service with the Indian Army ended and he returned to Australia.

During the 1930s he lived in western NSW, and also spent time in the Hunter Valley. Brown served as a major with 16 Light Horse between December 1926 and August 1935. While with this regiment he was a Commanding Officer of 16 'Hunter River Lancers' Light Horse Regiment, with its Headquarters in East Maitland. After service with this unit he transferred to the 16 Machine Gun Battalion.

Considered too old for active service upon the declaration of the Second World War in September 1939,his first posting saw him first serve at the Prisoner of War and internment camp at Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW. After this posting he became the Group Commandant of the 22nd Garrison Battalion at the newly built Prisoner of War Camp No.12 at Cowra NSW. During his time at Cowra, the infamous 'Cowra breakout' occurred on the night of 5 August 1944. Brown left the military in 1947 and passed away in 1975.