Commonwealth Cadets 1911 Coronation Contingent khaki woollen peaked cap : Senior Cadet W D Walster

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England
Accession Number REL/06825
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Dark green superfine wool hatband, Khaki woollen twill fabric, Patent black leather peak
Maker McKenzie & Burke
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Date made c 1911
Conflict Period 1910-1919

Commonwealth Cadets peaked cap for the Australian 1911 Coronation Contingent. Cap is khaki woollen twill with a dark green superfine wool hatband, brown leather chinstrap, brass general service buttons and a black patent leather peak. Marked inside on the maker's label 'W. D. Walster'. The cap is lined with red twill fabric, and the peak with green coated paper/card. It seems that the cap never had a badge.

History / Summary

This cap was worn by Senior Cadet William ‘Bill’ Davison Walster of Junee when he went to England with the Commonwealth Cadets as part of the Australian 1911 Coronation Contingent to attend the coronation of King George V. He was aged 15 and 9 months at the time, and was one of four or five representatives from Junee; their little group was led by the owner of the local cordial factory, Captain H.G. Mould. Walster had been in the Commonwealth Cadets for some years at the time of the Contingent and there is evidence that his father, Arthur, owner of the Junee Pioneer Foundry, funded his son’s trip to the tune of 100 pounds. Whilst in England, Bill stayed with his grandmother, Alice Walster at Epworth. He was commissioned in the Commonwealth Cadet Corps with the rank of second lieutenent on 28 April 1914. At the declaration of hostilities in August 1914, Bill Walster, then almost aged 19, rushed to enlist and was accepted into the AIF, only to have his father refuse his permission and withdraw him as he considered him too young. As a result, Walster was obliged to wait another year. He finally enlisted on 31 July 1915, was assigned service number 3464a and posted to 53 Battalion, and embarked for overseas service aboard HMAT Port Lincoln on 14 October 1915. After some months training in the Middle East, Private Walster applied for a transfer to the artillery, and was initially transferred to 115 Howitzer Battery (25 Howitzer Brigade), then, once he had arrived in France on 25 June 1916, to 114 Howitzer Battery (14 Artillery Brigade) on 3 July 1916, where he remained for the war. Walster returned to Australia aboard the transport Wyreema on 14 April 1919 and was discharged on 26 July.