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Record 521/765

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Helmet for the no 11 Renwick Militia, probably part of the Blenheim Rifle Volunteers. The helmet is blue cloth with the number 11, made of brass, attached to the front. and a large black wooden button on the top of the crown. Inside is a leather sweat band and the helmet is linded with cotton duck. There are several names written inside: W. Newport, B.R.V.; D. McIsaac, Renwick; Lawson?, H Giff? The BRV were sent to Parihaka [Maori Wars], October 1881 however it is not clear if this helmet was used then. From Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 3, November 1983 As a powerful young man, Walter [Watson] joined the Renwick Militia to train to be a soldier to defend the country from a savage enemy, the Maori, who had taken up arms against the Pakeha in the North Island. Every Saturday, members of the Militia met at the Woolpack Inn dressed in full uniform, complete with bandoliers, mauser rifles, blue trousers with a red stripe down the sides and highly polished boots. Topping all this they wore magnificent helmets with a white metal spike on top. The memories of militia days came to life for us when as school boys we dramatised the battles of the Boer War. "Daddy" Watson, as my patriarch was known, kindly loaned his uniform to us if we acted like soldiers and not like stupid monkeys. Naturally we took every care of it because a tall boy dressed in that red coat and helmet with a bright silver spear on top, gold figure 11 on the front and blue trousers with red bands on either side, really looked the part.
Helmet -Curiosities From Renwick Museum -Copyright Renwick Museum and Watson Memorial Library

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Last modified on: December 19, 2014