Description:

Slouch hat in khaki coloured felt, with khaki and dark green felt hatband. Brass hat badge on the front for the "6th N.Z. Manawatu Mounted Rifles". "6 3/4, 1916" is stamped on the leather band inside.

This slouch hat was donated by it's owner. Alexander Percy Howard, a farmer from Greatford north of Bulls who enlisted in World War I in August 1914.

Alexander served as a Trooper in the Mounted Rifles firstly at Gallipoli where he was invalided out with dysentry in August 1915. Thereafter he served in the Sinai campaign and was wounded in action in March 1917. On return to the field in May 1917 he was wounded again in action in April 1918. This injury, a fractured right humerus and granulation wounds down the right arm, saw him invalided out of the army in July 1918, and transferred back to New Zealand.

He was to remain a farmer on the family property near Marton, serving as a Captain in the Home Guard in World War II. Alexander Howard died in 1983 aged 91.  

The MRH or slouch hat originated with the Alexandra Troop of the Wanganui Cavalry Volunteers, named after the Princess of Wales, Alexandra, in 1864. It saw service in the land wars and later in South Africa during the Boer War when they were known as the Alexandra Mounted Rifles.  Their hat became general issue just before World War One, and in the first New Zealand action - the 1914 invasion of German Samoa, the MRH was worn by most soldiers.  

The hat was also worn by New Zealanders at Gallipoli, but by then the new lemon squeezer was taking over. The lemon squeezer was first worn by the Wellington Regiment in 1912 and by 1916 became general New Zealand army issue.

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