Frederick Horsley’s Hat

Emu plumes: RSL Sub Branch member Cliff Horsley with the original Slouch Hat that was worn by his father Fredrick Horsley at the Light Horse charge at Beersheba during WW1. Picture: John Veage
Emu plumes: RSL Sub Branch member Cliff Horsley with the original Slouch Hat that was worn by his father Fredrick Horsley at the Light Horse charge at Beersheba during WW1. Picture: John Veage

The Australian khaki felt “slouch hat” became a famous symbol of the Australian fighting man during World War One.

Its use since that time has made it an instantly recognised national symbol.

For a short time Cronulla RSL Sub Branch has on display in their memorabilia collection one of less than half a dozen WW1 emu plumed Light Horse slouch hats left in existence.

The hat was owned by Frederick Harrison Horsley, father of WW2 Infantry veteran and RSL club member Cliff Horsley. Fred was one of four Horsley boys who went to fight in Europe in WW1-  and all returned safe to their mother's home in Norton Street, Sydney.

Fred was a member of the 12th Australian Light Horse Regiment which took part at the charge at Beersheba on October 31, 1917.

On display: Cronulla RSL Sub Branch memorabilia collection.Picture John Veage

On display: Cronulla RSL Sub Branch memorabilia collection.Picture John Veage

The climax of the all-day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Starting at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba and its water.

The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on November 7 and advance into Palestine.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade into Beersheba a battle where 31 light horsemen were killed in the charge and 36 were wounded.

Kindly on loan from Frederick's family his original rabbit fur felt slouch hat will only be on display until Sunday, December 10.