Original New Zealand WWII Named Hawkes Bay Regiment Officers’ Peaked Visor Cap by Hills Caps Ltd - Complete
Original Item: Only One Available. The military history of New Zealand during World War II began when New Zealand entered the Second World War by declaring war on NSDAP Germany with Great Britain. New Zealand's forces were soon serving across Europe and beyond, where their reputation was generally very good. In particular, the force of the New Zealanders who were stationed in Northern Africa and Southern Europe was known for its strength and determination, and uniquely so on both sides.
In total, around 140,000 New Zealand personnel served overseas for the Allied war effort, and an additional 100,000 men were armed for Home Guard duty. At its peak in July 1942, New Zealand had 154,549 men and women under arms (excluding the Home Guard) and by the war's end a total of 194,000 men and 10,000 women had served in the armed forces at home and overseas. Auxiliary services were raised for women: the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps was the largest, followed by the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, and then the Women's Royal New Zealand Naval Service.
This general staff officer’s cap is offered in very good condition. Constructed of genuine leather components and high-quality wool which does have fading present. Cap has no issues with staining or moth, and the leather chin strap looks fantastic and quite solid. Cap has not been kept crushed or folded and still retains its original shape.
Leather sweatband has some minor stitching issues as well as some light wear, and bears the name of its previous owner written on the inside of the sweatband as NJ CLARK. Internal lining is marked:
HILLS CAPS LTD
UNIFORM CAP MAKERS
The front of the visor features a beautiful insignia for the 9th (Hawkes Bay) Regiment and consists of a Fallow Deer Stag in the center, a laurel on each side and is met in the center on the top with a Crown. In the center below the crown are the roman numeral IX for 9, identifying the regiment. At the bottom of the insignia in a banner is the motto KIA TOA, a Māori term, which can be translated as "Be Brave".
This is a wonderful example of a WWII visor that is growing increasingly difficult to find, especially one in this condition. Comes more than ready for further research and display.
The Hawke's Bay Regiment was a territorial infantry regiment of the New Zealand Military Forces. The regiment traced its origins to the Napier Rifle Volunteer Rifles, a volunteer corps formed in 1863 and which would later amalgamate with other volunteer corps to form the 9th (Hawkes Bay) Regiment in 1911. During the First World War, the regiment provided a company to each of the battalions of the Wellington Infantry Regiment and saw combat at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. After the war the regiment was renamed the Hawke's Bay Regiment and remained in New Zealand for home defense during the Second World War. Men from the regiment, however, served with the 19th, 22nd, 25th and 36th Battalions of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The regiment had a close relationship with the Ruahine Regiment, which was detached and reabsorbed by the Hawke's Bay regiment on two separate occasions. In 1964, the Hawkes Bay regiment was amalgamated with the Wellington Regiment and become the 7th Battalion (Wellington (City of Wellington's Own) and Hawke's Bay), Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the decision was made to form a New Zealand infantry brigade of four battalions from the existing territorial regiments. Men from the 9th (Hawke's Bay) Regiment formed the 9th (Hawke's Bay) Company of the Wellington Battalion, which saw service during the Gallipoli Campaign. Following the evacuation from Gallipoli in 1916, the Battalion became a regiment of two battalions. The Wellington Regiment would see action on the western front, engaging in the battles of the Somme, Messines, Broodseinde, Passchendaele, German Spring Offensive and the Hundred Days' Offensive. A third battalion was also raised in 1917, but was disbanded in 1918 due to manpower shortages. Both the 2nd and 3rd battalions were organized along the same lines as the 1st Battalion, each with their own eponymous 9th (Hawke's Bay) Company. The Wellington Regiment was disbanded at the end of the war.
In 1921, the New Zealand territorial infantry regiments were reorganized into larger regiments, similar to those of the First World War. The 9th (Hawke's Bay) Regiment reabsorbed the 17th (Ruahine Regiment) and was redesignated as 3rd Battalion, Wellington Regiment. The reorganization was short lived and in 1923, the battalion regained its independence and became the Hawke's Bay Regiment.
The Hawke's Bay Regiment remained in New Zealand for home defense during the Second World War and raised a 2nd Battalion in November 1940. The 2nd Battalion was detached in 1941 to form the Ruahine Regiment for a second time. Another 2nd Battalion was formed in February 1942 by redesignating the former 12th Battalion of the National Military Reserve. The 2nd Battalion was a stationary unit, intended to defend the east coast of the North Island from Japanese attack, while the 1st Battalion was intended to have a mobile reactive role as part of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, 4th Division. By June 1943, the war in the pacific was looking favorable for the Allies and a general stand-down was ordered in New Zealand. The 2nd Battalion was formally disbanded in April 1944.
Men from the Hawke's Bay Regiment saw combat with the battalions associated with the Central Military District. The 19th, 22nd and 25th battalions each had a company designated as C (Hawke's Bay) Company, which was affiliated with the Hawke's Bay Regiment. These battalions were part of the 2nd New Zealand Division and saw action in Greece, Crete, North Africa, Tunisia and Italy. The Hawke's Bay Regiment was also affiliated with the 36th Battalion of the 3rd New Zealand Division, which saw combat at the Treasury Islands.
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