Second World War helmet given to Richard Attenborough set for auction

The helmet which is to be auctioned in London
The helmet which is to be auctioned in London

An American war helmet given to be auctioned later this month.

Eric Allen, along with Burton Latimer brothers Tony and John Robinson, found the Second World War armour while on the Dutch film set of Richard Attenborough’s 1977 classic A Bridge Too Far.

Michael Caine and Richard Attenborough during the filming of A Bridge Too Far

Michael Caine and Richard Attenborough during the filming of A Bridge Too Far

They were there as part of the 39/45 Military Vehicle Group, who Attenborough had drafted in to supply war vehicles and take part in the movie.

After finding the helmet they painted it with scenes from the battle and presented it to the award-winning director, where it sat pride of place on his desk until he died in August 2014.

Mr Allen’s son Dave recalled the fantastic time they had, where they mixed with several film stars.

He said: “They all took most of their annual leave to go over there and they had a whale of a time.

“The film had such a big budget for one at that time and it was produced on an epic scale, it was fantastic.

“They would all go down and have breakfast with actors like Michael Caine and Sean Connery.

“Tony and John found the helmet on location, probably on one of the farms, and Richard Attenborough loved it.

“They were lucky because they were available at the time, but it makes me really proud and honoured to know my father was part of it all.”

The helmet, which has an estimated value of £500, is among many of Attenborough’s personal items being auctioned off at Bonhams in London on October 21.