Vintage helmets to help define Naga’s historical time in WWII
By Juan Escandor, Jr.
|JAPANESE WAR HELMET. Lito del Rosario of Naga City Public Office holds two sets of similar helmets recovered in an on-going construction site in downtown Naga. Photo by JUAN ESCANDOR Jr.|
The vintage military helmets, which were accidentally dug up Wednesday (June 6) in a drainage construction project near the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, would help define a historical time in this city, the mayor here believes so.
“Recovered in one of the historical areas in Naga City at the corner of J. Barlin and Dimasalang Streets, definitely will help us define history, especially during the Japanese period,” Mayor John Bongat explained.
|OCULAR. Naga City Mayor John Bongat, second from left, makes an ocular visit at the site where the vintage military helmets were found. To his right is City Councilor Nene de Asis. Photo by JUAN ESCANDOR JR.|
Bongat wondered what could be the significance of the location and why there were holes on the vintage military helmets.
SPO4 Arthur Matos, investigator, examining two vintage military helmets made of steel, figured out that the holes could had been pierced by Garand or Springfield bullets based on the size of the holes on them.
Jojo Ojeda, project engineer of the drainage project, revealed that 21 vintage combat helmets were found together at depth of more than one meter in one area but most of them were taken home by workers and curious passersby.
Ojeda himself took one and turned it over to a representative of the city government who also went to the project site.
Matos, who was in the project site Thursday, asked the workers who had brought home vintage combat helmets to turn them over to the city government for proper inventory as he said these can be considered as part of historical artifacts of the city.
|WWII VINTAGE. Joselito Del Rosario, chief of the Public Safety Office, shows off the vintage military helmets which were believe worn by Japanese soldiers in 1945. Photo by JUAN ESCANDOR JR.|
On Friday, nine vintage military helmets and two fragments from a broken helmet were already at the custody of the city government, according to Joselito Del Rosario, chief of the Public Safety Office (PSO).
Del Rosario said PSO will be the initial custodian of the vintage military helmets until the city government finally decides where to entrust the World War II artifacts.
Bongat said the vintage military helmets require dating from experts to determine what year they were made.
Jose Barrameda, local historical researcher and author of the book “In The Crucible Of An Asymmetrical War In Camarines Sur 1942-1945,’’ told the Bicol Mail that the vintage military helmets found at the vicinity near the cathedral belonged to Japanese soldiers.
Barrameda also believed that the holes were punctured by bullets from high powered firearms, possibly Garand, but dismissed possibility that they were worn at the time of supposed shooting.
“I have no definite proof, but I am almost certain that those helmets were discarded in the morning of April 9, 1945, the liberation of Naga City,” he claimed.
He inferred that the Japanese soldiers were fleeing from the Tangco Vaca guerrilla forces laying siege on the remaining Japanese forces at the garrison of the Ateneo de Naga, about 150 meters from the location of the find.
“Because the Japanese soldiers were fleeing they discarded their heavy helmets in that place which were found later by pursuing guerrillas. Out of anger and frustration because the Japanese had fled, the guerrillas resorted to just peppering the helmets with their new firearms which were air dropped by American planes,” Barrameda said.
|HELMET WITH A STAR. A prototype of Japanese helmet of World War II from www.snyderstreasures.com.|