This style of WWII airborne Hawley paratrooper helmet liner was the first liner produced to go into the M2 d-bale paratrooper helmet. They were manufactured using a pressed fiber material that feels very similar to cardboard. Thus, they were not very sturdy and had a tendency to fall apart during use. They were manufactured using this material because at the time it was the only material that could be easily molded into the shape of the helmet shell.
Soon after the development of the Hawley liner, a couple of new processes for helmet liners were developed using low and high pressure composite materials. These new processes were used by companies like St. Clair and Inland for their liners. It was not very long before production of helmet liners for the M2 paratrooper helmet was switched to these companies.
Since these Hawley paratrooper liners were manufactured for only a brief period of time and are very fragile, they are extremely rare and hard to find today. Originals of this style of Hawley paratrooper liner are found in only a few private airborne and M1 helmet collections today.
This particular WWII Hawley paratrooper liner originally belonged to the same paratrooper who owned the M41 paratrooper jump suit I posted a few weeks ago. He was an early member of the US Airborne forces and retained several of these early airborne items after World War Two ended.
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