A bullet-riddled Australian Army slouch hat has made a mysterious appearance near one of the Sparrow Hill mountain bike tracks.
It was found brim-down in rough ground near the start of Traffic Jam, just east of the trig point at the top of the actual Sparrow Hill.
The weathering it had endured over years on this spot made it blend with the terrain, and it may have been passed by, but for one thing: the rising sun of The Australian Army badge on the turned-up brim shone like the day it was put there.
On its crown was the badge of the Royal Australian Corps of Transport.
Out of respect, the finder has handled it delicately, but has been able to read a label inside the hat-band. It says it’s Size 56, but it may be 53 or 58. Then, underneath the size, it reads: NSN: 8 405 66 025 1606.
Obligingly, Wikipedia informs us: A NATO Stock Number, or National Stock Number (NSN) as it is known in the US, is a 13-digit numeric code, identifying all the ‘standardized material items of supply’ as they have been recognized by all NATO countries including United States Department of Defense. Pursuant to the NATO Standardization Agreements, the NSN has come to be used in all treaty countries. However, many countries that use the NSN program are not members of NATO, e.g. Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Oh, yes, the bullet holes. The hat was obviously set up as a target. It has many holes. The finder, an experienced rifleman, says the calibre is almost certainly .22. He says there were also some impressive groups, indicating reasonable skill by the shooter/s. Which, he says, raises the question of who they might have been. Being marksmen able to shoot good groups, why did none of their shots touch those badges? Surely only someone with respect for what those badges represent could have resisted such a tempting target.