Use in The Twentieth Century
Pith helmets were widely worn during World War I by British, Turkish, Belgian, French and German colonial troops fighting in the Middle East and Africa.
Helmets of this style (but without true pith construction) were used as late as World War II by Japanese, European and American military personnel in hot climates. Included in this category are the sun helmets worn in North Africa by Italian troops, South African Army and Air Force units and Germany's Afrika Korps, as well as similar helmets used to a more limited extent by U.S. and Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.
The entire military of the America's colony the Philippines, which consisted of an army and a gendarmerie, used sun helmets. The U.S. Marine Corps first issued pith helmets called "elephant hats" to the 1st Marine Division's deployment to Guantánamo Bay in 1940. They were worn in the South Pacific as well as worn by recruits in United States Marine Corps Boot Camp. The Axis Second Philippine Republic's military, known as the Bureau of Constabulary, as well as other guerrilla groups in the Philippines was another user of sun helmets. The British Army formally abolished the tropical helmet in 1948.
The Ethiopian Imperial Guard retained pith helmets as a distinctive part of their uniform until the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1974. Imperial Guard units serving in the Korean War often wore these helmets when not in actual combat.
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