Yup, that’s possum
Here we see a busby for officers in the 2nd Life Hussar Regiment “Königin Viktoria von Preußen” No. 2. The regiment was garrisoned in Danzig-Langfuhr and was part of the XVII. Army Corps in Danzig under General August von Mackensen in August 1914, though they were rushed to the Western Front in the opening stages of the Great War to fight at the Battle of the Marne.
“The body covered with possum skin. Silvered skull emblem, eyes backed with black velvet, fatherland scroll. Convex, leather lined brass chinscales (leather strap torn at centre, leather lining repaired, traces of gold plating), cockade of lacquered sheet metal, silvered officer’s insignia with black velvet. White cloth bag (new stitches) with silver ring. Silver cap line with black stripes. Champagne coloured silk lining (new stitches), light brown leather sweatband. Partially slightly damaged, signs of age. Overall good condition. Very rare. Chief of the regiment was Princess Viktoria Louise of Prussia.”
Transferred to the Eastern Front in autumn 1914, the Hussar brigade (made up of the 1st and 2nd regiments) fought first in Galicia and in the Battle of Riga and were involved in the occupation of the islands Oesel and Dago. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia on 3 March 1918, the units remained as occupation forces in Russia.
Returning in January 1919 to Danzig, they were disbanded after 178 years service– though their lineage, flags, and trophies were retained in the 2nd Squadron of the 5th (Prussian) Reiter (Mounted) Regiment in the Reichswehr stationed at Stolpe throughout the 1920s and early 30s.
Princess Viktoria Luise, only daughter and the last child of Wilhelm II, and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, as noted from the unit’s title was the honorary colonel of the regiment and regularly inspected the hussars, complete in her uniform.
The unit dated back to 1741 when Fredrick III founded it as Husaren-Regiment (H 5).
The final Regimentschefin und Oberst à la suite of the Regiment, she passed away in 1980 in Hanover, reportedly still quite an equestrian even late into her life.
The busby is one of the items that will be auctioned by Herman Historica next month.