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Issue #4 History....that's what it's all about!!!!
What is it that fuels our passion for the World War II collectable items? It's not the fact that a steel helmet is a steel helmet and has a cool shape. It's the history, and nothing but the history. One common thread that I find in talking with the various collectors that I know, is that we are all hard core history buffs...nothing more...nothing less. I have had an interest in WWII history since I was a small boy of around 8 or 9 years old. WWII items allow us to touch history, smell it, and feel it. In this edition of my Blog, I wanted to feature a recent find that just oozes history. The recent find is a stunning Normandy Pattern Camouflage M1940 Heer helmet. I received a phone call, about two months ago now from a fellow that was selling some items that his father in law brought back from the War. He told me that the items were brought back from the Normandy by his Father in Law. He starts describing the colors of the helmet, and I go from skeptical to total excitement during this conversation. We make a deal on the helmet and during the course of our correspondence, I ask for some pictures or any other information on the Vet. He mentions, "Well Dave, Dr. Howard was pictured in Life Magazine in Normandy in a July issue". I am totally blown away by this and quickly find an original issue of the July 3rd Issue of Life on Ebay.
When this helmet showed up I was completely blown away by this one. I can tell you, I have had hundreds of helmets come through my hands and this one spoke to me more than any other helmet. One reason...history...documented history. The helmet is a Classic Normandy Camouflage helmet with saw dust in the paint. The paint is a base tan with red and green sprayed in places. The helmet is nice and worn but a lot of the original camo is still intact. The Heer decal is nicely pecking out as well. The inside was very dirty as it had apparently been stored in a foot locker on an Iowa farm since the War. I took a damp cloth and spent about 20 minutes cleaning the inside. It must have been stored upside down due to the amount of dust and dirt inside. The colors of the paint are fantastic and this one just has the right amount of combat wear. The helmet itself is an ET62 with a lot number of 1273. It is very likely that this helmet belonged to a member of the German 352nd Division. They were the Vanguard of the Defense at the Omaha Beach area.
In further conversation, I learned that Dr. Howard Aleff is alive and well in Iowa. He was in the very first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Not only was he in the first wave, but according to Dr. Aleff, he was in one of the first LCV's to hit the beach. He was a member of the 619th Quartermaster Corps and was a dentist by profession. His assignment was to care for soldiers in both medical and dental needs. He hit the beach completely unarmed. Dr. Aleff actually took this helmet from a German POW in the very first few days of fighting in Normandy. He specifically remembers telling the German soldier, "I'll take that, as it doesn't look like you will be needing this any longer." If you look at the photos below, Dr. Aleff is the tall fellow on the left in the photograph wearing the two carry bags with a special marked helmet. This is an iconic photograph and has shown up in a number of books. Turns out he had other items that he brought back and I was lucky enough to pick these items up. They were fairly salty items but full of history. There was a Bayonet, Black Wound Badge, Police insignia, Heer Belt Buckle with Tab, K98 Bayonet, and a Hitler Youth knife. I am hopeful to meet Dr. Aleff sometime this month. I am anxious to hear more about his firsthand account of the Normandy invasion. Enjoy the pictures below!
Update: September 28, 2009
Good morning guys. I wanted to
update the Blog with a brief recap of my visit with Capt. Dr. Howard
Aleff. I flew down to Orlando, FL this past Thursday and spent a
couple of hours on Friday morning with Capt. Aleff. He is 94 years
old but quite with it for his advanced age. I recorded the conversation
so I wouldn't miss any important facts.
Until next time, happy hunting!
*****UPDATE***** November 20, 2010
I just received word this morning that Dr. (Capt) Howard Aleff passed away on Thursday, 11/18/2010. I was saddened to hear of the loss of this great man. Time is slipping away to meet these Veterans and hear their stories. Embrace our remaining WWII Vets as we are down to only 10% are still living. My condolences go out to the Aleff family and I know that Howard is now with his fallen comrades that didn't make it home from Normandy.
|We weed out the fakes,
so you won't have too!
Can you tell a fake one from a real one?
Payment Methods and Shipping
Cash, Check, Money Order, PayPal, Visa/MasterCard, and Bank Transfer are all accepted. I also am pleased to accept layaways. Simply pay 1/2 down, then pay the remaining balance within 30 days. Once the balance is paid, I will ship your item promptly.
Items will be shipped after the check clears for items paid with personal checks.
Shipping will be handled on a quote basis. Generally we use UPS for domestic as the tracking is superior and the service very reliable. We can offer FedEx & USPS shipping as well.
International shipping is also on a quote by quote basis. I will ship to any country that shipping is available. Be advised that if you are in a banned country, the risk for customs seizure is yours. For International shipments I recommend using USPS Express International Mail as it can be tracked. EMS is more expensive, however less services with the US Postal Service put you at risk for loss as the tracking capabilities are limited. For the safest and best tracking as well as the fastest transit time, I recommend United Parcel Service, International Door to Door Service. For shipments with low value declared without proper insurance, WW2GermanHelmets.com cannot accept liability for loss or damage.
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