Proud link to local military history as rare yeomanry helmet turns up at Shropshire shop

An antique shop owner has stumbled across a rare 120-year-old military helmet with strong links to Shropshire and Mid Wales.

Montgomery Yeomanry Cavalry Troopers helmet in Empires and Eagles shop, Bishop's Castle
Montgomery Yeomanry Cavalry Troopers helmet in Empires and Eagles shop, Bishop's Castle

Michael Clarke, who owns Empires and Eagles in Bishop’s Castle, said the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry cavalry trooper’s white metal helmet “wandered into” his shop one day after the avid military memorabilia collector said he never thought he would see one.

After spending 50 years in the previous owner’s wardrobe, they decided to sell it and Mr Clarke said it could be as old as late 19th century.

He said the helmet was in a good condition and he couldn’t believe he had found one.

“The person I bought it from said it had been in their father’s wardrobe for the last 50 years,” Mr Clarke said.

“Luckily, the condition is good but it has not been well loved, not regularly polished or anything – but that is how I like them.

“It is an area of history that I like – I normally specialise in World War Two but anything military, really.”

The helmet and plume, mounted with an acanthus leaf decoration, is said to be worth nearly £1,500. The Montgomeryshire Yeomanry Cavalry was created in 1831 and consisted of 120 men formed in three troops from Welshpool, Montgomery and the Newtown and Abermule area.

Montgomery Yeomanry Cavalry Troopers helmet in Empires and Eagles shop, Bishop's Castle

The regimental headquarters were at Welshpool.

Mr Clarke added: “I have only ever seen one other one at a friend of mine’s who lives in Montgomery. It is one of those things I thought I would never see.

“All of a sudden one wondered into my shop. It was a local regiment so the helmet luckily has not travel far.

“My friend is an expert on the subject and he said to me in the past they did have barracks very close to Montgomery.”

Mr Clarke said it would have been nice to know who owned the helmet, but there was not a name inscribed inside.

“The previous owners said they bought it year and years ago and don’t really know the history,” he said. “It would be nice to find out who owned it.

“The soldier would have looked lovely with the horse all dressed up and stuff.”

The regiment served as part of the Imperial Yeomanry during the Boer War and formed three regiments for service during the First World War.

It was absorbed into the Royal Welch Fusiliers becoming the 7th (Montgomeryshire) Battalion of the regiment in 1920.

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