Lot #: 133915

Asking Price: $899.00

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Palestine/Israel: helmet of the [Tel Aviv] "Mishmar Ezrachi" ('Civil Guard'), circa. mid-late 1940's, manufactured by Pleese Ltd. of Holon. The helmet is blue-gray in color and bears the second version of the force's emblem in white on the front - a shield-like device with arched top slightly reminisent of the municipal emblem of Tel Aviv (which established this force and was initially responsible for it). In the style of steel helmets produced by Pleese, this helmet is made from a single relatively thin sheet of metal but has a fairly comfortable liner installed, held by 2 rivets: a gray-green leather liner with padded cloth base (for the crown of the wearer's head) and a brown leather chin strap bearing the maker's name in Hebrew (on one strap) and in English (on the other). The helmet and liner are complete and in near-perfect condition: some surface paint is missing in places; the liner is near-mint - just dusty, with a tear in the doughnut-ring base. The 'Mishmar Ezrachi' was established by the Tel Aviv municipality in 1938, and staffed by volunteers; in the early 1940's responsibility for it was transferred to the national 'Haganah' defence force - and this probably led to the change in emblem as displayed on this helmet. During the period to which this helmet is dated, most probably during the 1947-49 War of Independence, the force was assigned civil air-defence responsibilities similar to those it held during World War II: members received powers identical to those of municipal inspectors, identity cards and inspectors' notepads, and a system of ranks was instituted as well as work procedures. The force was trained in line with the 1941 guidelines laid down by the Municipality in conjunction with the Guard, and Tel Aviv itself was subdivided into air defence zones with various responsibilities in the sphere of air-defence being allocated to different units of the force (ref: Eran Israel p.16). In December 1947 the Municipality instituted a draft of all former members not serving in the armed forces (the 'Haganah'), and among its other responsibilities it was assigned guarding check points, digging defensive ditches and organizing transportation for civilians between Tel Aviv and Jaffo. The force was likewise employed in two operations to catch deserters and AWOL soldiers, in February and August 1948 (Operation 'Betzer'). In June 1948, the Civil Guard along with several other forces were assigned to the 'Haga' national civil air defence command; the Guard ceased to exist in 1949. At least during the period of the War, it appears that this force was not uniformed, but members wore either brassards or pins with the force's name and emblem on their civilian clothes; some appear in photographs wearing civilian clothes and berets.