Slouch hat : Lieutenant Colonel C H Green, Australian Army

Accession Number REL23388
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Headdress
Physical description Brass, Fur felt, Leather
Location Main Bld: Korea, Malaya & Indonesia Gallery: Upper Level: RAR/Chinese
Maker Waltham Fur Co Pty Ltd
Date made c 1940-1950
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953
Second World War, 1939-1945

Khaki fur felt Australian Army slouch hat with four brass ventilating eyelets in the crown. A further pair of small brass eyelets are located lower on the crown, one on either side, where they would normally be concealed by a puggaree. The hat is without a puggaree and the brim is unbound. The turn up is secured by a press stud and has an oxidised brass Rising Sun badge attached. The leather head band is dry and cracked, as is the chin strap. The head band is stamped in black 'WALTHAM FUR CO. LTD 7', and marked in black ink 'C.H.Green'.

History / Summary

Charles Hercules Green was born in December 1919 at Grafton, NSW. Despite serious injuries suffered when he was kicked in the face by a horse at age 11, he began working on his father's dairy farm in 1933, and soon joined the local 41 (Militia) Battalion. By the outbreak of war in 1939, he held the rank of lieutenant in the Militia, and in October he transferred to the AIF, holding the same rank. Posted to 2/2 Infantry Battalion, which reached the Middle East in early 1940, his foot was burned by an upturned stove, and complications from this injury prevented him from participating in the battalion's early engagements in North Africa. Rejoining his unit in Greece in March 1941, Green, now a captain, survived the Allied retreat, and led a group of men in a hazardous escape to Palestine via Turkey. Returning to Australia in 1942, 2/2 Battalion was soon sent to New Guinea, while Green, suffering from illness and an injured foot, was hospitalised for some months. As major and second-in-command, he rejoined the unit in 1943, proceeding to New Guinea the following year. In March 1945, promoted acting lieutenant colonel, he took command of 2/11 Battalion, becoming, at the age of 25, the youngest Australian battalion commander of the war. For his leadership of the unit in the fighting around Wewak, Green was awarded the DSO. Post war, having trouble adjusting to peacetime life, he returned to Militia service as commander of his old 41 Battalion, and eventually joined the regular army in 1949. In mid 1950 he was taken from Staff College to lead 3 RAR, which was then preparing for active service in Korea. He took command in September 1950, and led the unit in a series of highly successful actions against North Korean forces, but died of wounds caused by shellfire while he was asleep in his tent near the Tokchon River on 31 October. A decisive and energetic leader, Charlie Green was revered by his men, and considered to be one of Australia's finest battlefield commanders.