I VISITED the excellent – and free – Imperial War Museum North today in Salford and highly recommend you do the same.
There are loads of exhibits and interactive displays to look at – including a Harrier jump jet, Wellington bomber gun turret and T55 tank. They also put on fantastic audio/visual shows which are projected on the walls of the main exhibition area – breathtaking stuff!
However, the reason I’m blogging about my visit here is one exhibit in particular – the helmet pictured above.
This was issued to members of the Fedayeen Saddam elite fighting force between 1995 and 2003 in Iraq.
The unit was commanded by Saddam’s son Uday, who was – legend has it – a massive Star Wars fan.
That’s why their uniform was all black (no capes, sadly) and the helmets were clearly modelled on Darth Vader’s, despite them being next to no use on the battlefield.
They also had inscriptions on the right side in Arabic saying The Lord, The Homeland, The Leader – but disappointingly not The Empire.
This helmet caught my eye from minute one and having looked into its origins, I love it all the more.
If I was the brutal and psychotic son of an even more brutal and psychotic dictator, I would totally have done something like this.
Although I’d probably have copied Stormtrooper uniforms instead, playing on Western forces’ expectations that they couldn’t shoot for toffee but making all the troops crackshots. Or something.