Early-WWII 29th Infantry Division Veteran's M1 Helmet Liner (Rare Westinghouse)
This original early-WWII Westinghouse manufactured M1 helmet liner is exceptionally rare for two reasons. First, it is identified to 29th Infantry Division veteran, Private Lewis J. Borst Jr., serial number 32532073. View the Veteran's Information Section for more details regarding Borst's military service. The second thing that makes this liner so interesting requires some technical analysis. The earliest liners had stationary, non-removable leather liner straps and rayon suspensions retained by rectangular washers. It is generally understood that the next production variation saw the introduction of A-washers, followed by studs for the removable leather liner straps. This example, however, skipped over A-washers and showcases the new, removable leather liner strap. In fact, neither reference book Helmets of the ETO nor The M1 Helmet of the World War II GI mention this liner's existence. We have been fortunate enough to offer the only two surviving examples we know of (the other was sold to a prominent collector). The liner's exterior retains its original olive drab factory finish. The interior is in quite rough condition, but is untouched. The rayon neck suspension is inscribed with "Borst, L. 32532073", while the lower suspension is stamped with his laundry number, "B-2073".
Nassau County, New York resident Lewis J. Borst Jr. was born in 1922. Borst enlisted in the United States Army on October 16, 1942 in New York City. He was a veteran of the 29th Infantry Division. Borst was a replacement, who joined K Company, 115th Infantry Regiment in October 1944 after it suffered heavy losses in the battle for Schierwaldenrath, Germany. He participated in the Roer River crossing, the Rhineland Campaign, and was even wounded in action. Private Borst remained with the 29th Infantry Division for the duration of the war. This helmet liner has exceptional provenance in the collecting community and it is known from a previous owner, who was close with Private Borst, that he was quite impacted by his service and was saddened by the fact that he killed a German soldier, who was no more than 15 years of age. Below, are Borst's records from the National Archives. Normally, we would have also requested Private Borst's complete file through a FOIA request, however this is unavailable at the time of writing - there is still plenty of research for the new owner to do!