Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Swedish Army Winter Hat, Sheep's Wool circa WW2 and Winter War, Svenska Frivilligkåren, Pälsmössa m/1909, Model 1909

I recently added another item to my Swedish Military collection, a fairly hard to find Swedish Army Winter Hat made of natural sheep's wool and leather.

I picked this hat up off of eBay recently for less than the price the seller paid for shipping!  I have had my eye out for a good deal on one of these hats for quite some time.  The prices can range all the way up into the hundreds of dollars for one of these.  I'm glad I was at the "right place at the right time" on this deal!
The hat appears to be in nearly unissued condition.  There is some slight staining on the lining in the brow area, showing that it was worn, but only lightly used.

There is not much in the way of hard documentation on Swedish military uniform and equipment items, but from my research, it appears that these hats were manufactured and issued from the early 1900's through WW2.  They are known in Swedish as "Palsmössa m/1909".  They are mostly pictured in photos of the Swedish Volunteer Forces, Svenska Frivilligkåren, of the Finland Winter War of 1940.   Swedish_Volunteer_Corps-Winter_War

These hats were worn in Sweden during the same period, but there just aren't photos to be easily found. 

Here is a photo of my hat to compare to the two previous photos that were taken during the Winter War in Finland.

My hat is date and unit stamped inside showing that it was issued to the Halland Regiment that was based in Halmstad, Sweden.

It is dated 1941, the year after the Winter War.
The unit and date stamps inside the hat are not perfectly clear due to wrinkles in the fabric when it was stamped, but careful lining up of the print reveals a clear stamping.

I have sketched the stamping so that you can more clearly see the details:
Along the lower, interior edge of the hat lining, there is another stamping that appears to be "62 cm".  This is definitely not the hat size, so I am not sure what this means.  I have not seen this stamp mark on any other photos of existing Winter Hats.  You can see the stamping in the photos above.  Here is a sketch to show it a bit clearer.  The first letter in the stamp could possibly be a "c", but I can't be certain.

These hats are quite unique in that they incorporate a leather visor that can be folded away inside, between the quilted lining and the sheep's wool exterior.  There is a snap and eyelet system that allows the inner "visor pocket to be snapped shut after the visor is positioned, tucked inside, or out.

It is interesting to note that in all the photographs that I can find, the visor is worn inside the hat.  The leather visor is finished in natural brown leather on the top and dyed black along the edge and bottom side.

The hat also has a natural leather adjusting strap on the back side.  The buckle is painted with brown enamel paint.  The hat fits like a size 58 or 59 with the strap fully expanded.

The hat is sewn with a domed top, however it appears in all the photos as a "flat topped" hat.  The dome on the top is "popped in" to form the crisp rim and flat top when worn.  

It appears that there was some sort of ribbon and cockade worn on the front of the hat during the Winter War, but I have not found any clear photos or documentation that shows it clearly. 

Here are a few more photos of the hat showing it being worn.

August 5, 2015 Update:  I acquired an original photograph, circa 1915, that shows two Swedish soldiers wearing the pre-WW2 uniforms and the Sheep's Wool Winter Hats.  Here is a link to that posting:

And to finish things up, lets take a look a collection of Winter War photos showing the hat being worn by the Swedish Volunteers.

The soldier on the left appears to be wearing the hat backwards!  Adjusting strap is on the front.


Unknown said...

Hey from your older posts I've gathered you seem to be familiar with the Sportsman's Guide.
I actually live very close to their retail store, so I order and buy directly from them alot. Anyway they've had these "Finnish" Winter hats for a while I bought one a few years back and love it, however I noticed it had been sewn so that the bill is permanently folded out (perhaps it was a Finnish modification?). I'd been rather confused toward the origin of my particular hat, and was further confused once I found one of the folding variety.

Your post has cleared alot up, however if you know anything about why mine might have been sewn shut (or open rather) I'd love to hear it. Oh and I suppose form on collector to another the Sportsmans Guide has had these 'Finno-Swedish' winter caps in stock for a record length of time. I might just try and see if I can get another that has the fold open and add to my own arsenal.

Love the blog, I've been inadvertently running into it for years while trying to decode my own surplus finds!

Sharky said...

From what I gather, these hats were also sold or given to the Finnish Army around the time of the Winter War. I have heard that there were a number of variations to the "sheep wool hats", so the sewn-bill hats may be one of those variations. I have not found any photos of the hats worn with he bill out in Sweden, so it may be a Finnish variation. If the hat you have is Swedish issued, you will find a "crown stamp" with he date inside the hat. Finland stamped many of their military items with a "SA" stamp to signify acceptance by the Finnish Military, so you might find that inside. Finland issued huge amounts of surplus field equipment to their troops, so it is not uncommon to see WW1 vintage German as well as Swedish items in service......... When you check out the Sportsman's Guide stock, check them all over and let me know what you see. It will be interesting to see what you find. They may have the largest supply all in one spot!