Object Title

Helmet

Helmet

Date

1995

Object Number

IV.2059

Provenance

Purchased from Ebay, 20 March 2005

Physical Description

Of black fibreglass, shaped with a squarish top, flat medial ridge, flaring neckguard of even depth, face opening with a dip in the centre. Inside is a double ring of webbing, attached by rivets, with triple cross straps, an adjustable strap for the rear of the skull and a chin strap with clip fasteners. At the right is an oval moulded rubber badge, with a silhoette of Saddam Hussain, facing right, and the legend 'Allah al-watan al ghataz' (Lord, homeland, leader).
The exterior is generally scuffed and chipped.

Techniques

Mass manufacture

Materials

Dimensions

HelmetDepth295 mm
HelmetHeight215 mm
HelmetWidth263 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Badge
Of moulded rubber the oval badge depicts the profile of Saddam Hussain, complete with military beret, facing right, along with the legend 'Allah al-watan al ghataz' (Lord, homeland, leader)
Right side
Moulded

Associations

Places Iraq

Notes

The Iraqi paramilitary group of Fedayeem Saddam (‘Sadddam's men of sacrifice’), reputedly numbering between 10,000 and 40,000 men, was founded by Saddam Hussain's son Uday Hussain in 1995. Uday was a fan of the Star Wars films, and the Fedayeen helmet was based on that of Darth Vader in the movies. Uday appears to have used the group for personal ends, placing it in charge of smuggling and using it to attack, torture, and murder opponents and also act as enforcers in regular army units, threatening to kill soldiers who attempted to surrender. The group was also directly responsible for some of the regime's most brutal acts, acting as a death squad that conducted extra-judicial executions.
Although it is uncertain how many of these helmets were made, and despite the vast majority allegedly being destroyed, many original helmets were brought back to the UK and USA as souvenirs following the Iraq War (2003-11) and ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ or ‘Operation Telic’. All UK captured Fedayeen helmets were apparently required to have the Fedayeen insignia removed, but this helmet was purchased from the US.
There are now a number of fakes of these helmets available from unscrupulous dealers.