I picked up a collection of World War II uniforms a while back, and one of them intrigued me. It had war correspondent’s insignia on the sleeves of the jacket and a painted helmet with …
I picked up a collection of World War II uniforms a while back, and one of them intrigued me. It had war correspondent’s insignia on the sleeves of the jacket and a painted helmet with “WAR CORRESPONDENT/U.S.” painted on the front, and “DODD” on the right side. War correspondent gear is pretty rare, so it certainly caught my eye. I loaded it up with the other materiel and brought it back to the office. It was a few weeks before I actually had a chance to sit down and spend some time looking at it.
The group consisted of the helmet and a Model 1941 field jacket as I mentioned, but it also had an Eisenhower jacket with correspondent’s insignia, as well as a side cap with the same insignia. But the M1 fixed bale helmet intrigued me as it was named on the right side. I took out the liner and saw the front was marked with the same hand-painted correspondent’s insignia. It was also marked on the front inside rim of the helmet shell with the same paint “- HOWELL-/DODD/WAR CORRESPONDENT” which was really cool! A quick search turned up illustrator Howell Dodd whose signature on his artwork is almost identical to the signed helmet shell.
Howell Dodd was born in 1910, and purportedly died in 2005 although there isn’t much information about his life out there. I did find a few images of Dodd in uniform, including one with him wearing the helmet. What is known is his illustration work in the 1950s and 60s is quite interesting. He did a lot of covers for Police Detective, True Fact Crime, and many other pulp fiction magazines and periodicals. During World War II he was working for the Associated Press in Normandy and did sketches and drawing of troops in action that seem to appear online from time-to-time. His work is really well done and his pulp work is sometimes racy.
It's always interesting and fun to find a name and find out more about the soldier, or in this case correspondent’s life. It helps breathe more life into the objects and makes them more collectable.