The iconic kiwi ‘lemon squeezer’ hat was introduced by one of New Zealand’s outstanding soldiers of the Gallipoli Campaign, William George Malone. Originally for his Taranaki Rifles Regiment the hat was designed to mirror the outline of Mount Taranaki and also to allow ‘run off’ in the rain. The hat went on to be adopted first by Malone’s Wellington Regiment and later by the rest of the NZ Infantry Division on 1st January 1916.
At the outbreak of war in 1914 Malone was appointed to command the Wellington Infantry Battalion and at 56 proved to be both a forceful and efficient commander. Once at Gallipoli, he immediately began to impose order and although he pushed his men hard, he also fought his superiors to provide building materials and basic comforts to his men.
The Wellington Battalion played a pivotal role in the August offensive and the attack on Chunuk Bair. He would not expose his men to a daylight attack and delayed the attack until shortly before dawn. Malone’s battalion seized Chunuk Bair on 8 August and then skillfully defended the position from several Turkish counter-attacks. At around 5.00pm, Malone was killed by ‘friendly fire’ and his body remained on the slopes, one of the many New Zealanders who have no known grave. Initially he was made a scapegoat for the failure of the offensive but today, he is now recognised as an outstanding battalion commander.
The lemon squeezer hat was replaced for working dress by a battledress cap in October 1956. It was retained for ceremonial use until August 1961 and then reintroduced again for ceremonial use in 1978 and is still worn today. Similar hats to the lemon squeezer were worn by both the US Army and the Canadians during World War I.