This artefact is a Boer War slouch hat which belonged to Frederick Wyatt Francis. This type of wide brimmed felt hat was commonly worn by British Empire Forces during the Second Boer War.
Major Frederick Francis commanded two squadrons of the 4th New Zealand Mounted Rifles Contingent to South Africa in March 1900. He led his troops in Rhodesia but suffered from enteric fever and ended up in Mafeking hospital before being invalided to England in October 1900. Whilst in hospital in England Francis was visited by Queen Victoria and Prince Edward and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
Francis returned to New Zealand shortly after but passed away aged 44 on 31st March 1901. He is buried in Linwood cemetery, Christchurch and was the highest ranking member of the New Zealand contingents to lose his life as a result of the 2nd Anglo-Boer War.
This slouch hat is part of the Museum’s new display, “Harnessed: New Zealand’s War Horses” which opens on 7th December.
Find out about our other museum artefacts and recent acquisitions.