Simply stunning grouping of military worn items from a survivor of the USS Maine sinking consisting of:
* A high-quality pair of French-made epaulettes with gold bullion fringe, Naval button, anchor, and lieutenant insignia bars, and a black sealskin fore and aft hat, or cocked hat, with gold bullion tassels; these are housed in their original black tin carrying case, 18.5 x 7 x 8.
* A U.S. Navy officer’s belt rig, approximately 40″ in length, which exhibits some dryness and flaking to leather.
Lieutenant George Helms was a career Navy officer and the Chief Carpenter on the USS Maine when it exploded in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898. Helms enlisted in the United States Navy on December 10, 1894, and was one of 23 Naval officers and 60 enlisted sailors, as well as one Marine Corps officer and 11 Marine Corps enlisted men, that survived the Naval disaster, a catalyst to the 10-week-long Spanish-American War. In all 260 Naval and Marine personnel lost their lives as a result of the explosion and the subsequent sinking of the USS Maine. Helms served in the U.S. Navy for 34 years before his retirement on April 26, 1929. Helms is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Of the 94 survivors, 16 were uninjured. Helms and most of the officers survived, because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship.
Research indicates this style of hat and epaulettes were worn during the Spanish-American War, making it an even more impressive grouping.
A simply gorgeous grouping of vintage military gear with an amazing story to tell.