John Patrick Hamilton

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John Patrick Hamilton
Lieutenant Hamilton VC, 1919.
Born (1896-01-24)24 January 1896
Orange, New South Wales
Died 27 February 1961(1961-02-27) (aged 65)
Concord, New South Wales
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service
  • 1914 – 1919
  • 1942 –1946
Rank Captain
Unit 3rd Battalion
Awards Victoria Cross

John Patrick Hamilton VC (24 January 1896 – 27 February 1961) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life

Born in Orange, New South Wales, Hamilton described himself as a butcher when he enlisted aged eighteen, as a private in the 1st Australian Imperial Force on 15 September 1914. His father William Hamilton was also a butcher and they resided together in Penshurst, Sydney when the younger Hamilton joined up. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion (N.S.W.) and embarked from Sydney in October 1914 on HMAT Euripides.[1] After training in Egypt his battalion sailed for Gallipoli and took part in the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 - his battalion coming ashore in the 2nd and 3rd waves.

World War I

He was 19 years old, and still a private when the following deed took place at Sasse's Sap during the Battle of Lone Pine on the Gallipoli Peninsula for which he was awarded the VC:

The 3rd Battalion was decimated at Lone Pine but, after the withdrawal from Gallipoli and reorganization in Egypt the Battalion was redeployed to the Western Front in March 1916 and went into the line at Armentières. Hamilton was promoted corporal on 3 May and fought at the Battle of Pozières in July, the Battle of Mouquet Farm in August and Flers in November. He was promoted sergeant in May 1917 and that year his battalion served at Bullecourt and at the Menin Road and Broodseinde theatres of the Battle of Passchendale.

After officer cadet training at Cambridge, England from July 1918 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in January 1919 and promoted Lieutenant in April 1919. After demobilisation, he was discharged in September 1919.[4]

World War II

During World War II he served as a lieutenant with the 16th Garrison Battalion and several training battalions. In 1942 he went to New Guinea with the 3rd Pioneer Battalion, then served with Australian Labour Employment Companies until 1944 when he transferred to the Australian Army Labour Service. He was promoted captain in the Australian Military Forces in October 1944. He returned to Sydney in April 1946.[5]

John Hamilton's grave at Woronora Cemetery, Sydney.

Between and post the wars

He was a wharf labourer for over thirty years, also working as a shipping clerk, storeman and packer. He was an active in the Waterside Workers' Federation and in the Sydney branch of the Australian Labor Party.

Hamilton died of cerebro-vascular disease in the Concord Repatriation General Hospital on 27 February 1961 and is buried in Woronora cemetery. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Australian War Memorial and was the only one awarded to Hamilton's unit during the war.[6]

Honours and awards

Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png 1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg

BWM ribbon.jpg Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png 100px Pacific Star.gif

War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png 100px GeorgeVICoronationRibbon.png Ribbon of QEII Coronation Medal

Victoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross (VC)
1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg 1914–15 Star
BWM ribbon.jpg British War Medal
Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png Victory Medal
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939–1945 Star
Pacific Star.gif Pacific Star
War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png War Medal 1939–1945
50px Australia Service Medal 1939–45
Ribbon of the King George VI Coronation Medal King George VI Coronation Medal
Ribbon of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal



  1. "John Hamilton". AIF Project. UNSW@ADFA. Retrieved 6 April 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Commnwealth Gazette No. 28 24 February 1916
  3. The London Gazette: no. 29238. p. 10154. 15 October 1915. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  4. AIF Project
  5. Aust Dictionary of Biography (William Land)
  6. Aust Dictionary of Biography (William Land)