Paratroopers cloth helmet : Lance Sergeant J E Collins, Z Special Force

Accession Number REL/12568
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Helmet
Physical description Aluminium-zinc alloy, Canvas, Cotton tape, Rubber
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1944-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Padded brown/green camouflaged canvas paratroopers helmet with ear flaps with three stud attachments to each side, and a 200 mm long thin brown leather strap attached at back. Lower edge is bound with heavy green tape. A band of rubber covered with the same fabric has been attached around the outside of the crown and across the top of the helmet from front to back. Marked inside one ear flap in ink is 'Sgt J. Collins' and the printed number 2.

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History / Summary

Paratroopers cloth helmet used by VX71712 Lance Sergeant Jack Edward Collins, who served with 2/24 Battalion and Z Special Force. Born at Rochester, Victoria on 16 February 1922, Collins was employed as a railway layer when he enlisted on 1 January 1942. After four months in hospital recovering from a hernia, Collins was assigned to 33 Battalion on 19 June 1942 and undertook general training at Warburton before being transferred to 2/24 Battalion on 20 August and embarking for overseas service in the Middle East three days later. He saw three month’s service with 2/24 Battalion before embarking for Australia on 1 February 1943.

He served with 2/24 at Milne Bay until being recruited for Z Special Force in November 1943, returning to Australia for training. Collins received special parachute training at 1 Australian Parachute Training Centre at Richmond, NSW, qualifying on 17 March 1944. He was promoted to Corporal in May 1945 and Lance Sergeant the following month. His details are listed on the Z Force Nominal Roll (see PR84/119) as follows: 'Serial number AK95; VX71712; optician; SO (Special Operative) Java Sea; 26.9.45'. AK was the code for 'Operatives Army & Civilian'. Collins was discharged on 24 May 1946.