Commonwealth Cadets forage cap : Senior Cadet W D Walster, 1911 Coronation Contingent

Accession Number REL34623
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Brass, Cotton, Wool serge
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1910-11
Conflict Period 1910-1919

Dark green wool serge forage cap with contrasting light green crown edged with red cotton piping. The cap has a black cotton lining and is fitted at the front with a pair of small King Edward VII 'Australian Commonwealth' brass buttons.

History / Summary

This forage cap was part of a uniform 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 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. He 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 Field 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.