John Patrick HAMILTON VC

HAMILTON, John Patrick

Service Number: 943
Enlisted: 15 September 1914, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Orange, New South Wales, Australia, 24 January 1896
Home Town: Penshurst, Hurstville, New South Wales
Schooling: Unknown
Occupation: Butcher
Died: Cerebro-vascular disease, Repatriation General Hospital, Concord, Sydney, NSW, 27 February 1961, aged 65 years
Cemetery: Woronora Memorial Park, Sutherland, New South Wales
Tree Plaque: Mandurah Memorial Pine Trees
Memorials: Canberra John Hamilton VC Pictorial Honour Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, North Brother War Memorial, Orange John Patrick Hamilton VC, Sutherland Woronora Cemetery Military Memorial, Tuncurry Battle of Lone Pine Victoria Cross Recipients Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

15 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 943, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Sydney, New South Wales
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 943, 3rd Infantry Battalion
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 943, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
2 Jan 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant
2 Apr 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant
12 Sep 1919: Discharged AIF WW1
Date unknown: Honoured Victoria Cross

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Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Hamilton, John (1896–1961)
by William A. Land

John Hamilton, soldier and wharf labourer, was born on 24 January 1896 at Orange, New South Wales, son of William Hamilton, butcher, and his wife Catherine, née Fox. Nothing is known of his schooling but he described himself as a butcher when he enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force on 15 September 1914; he had had prior service in the militia. He was posted to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, and embarked from Sydney in October. After training in Egypt his battalion sailed for Gallipoli and took part in the Anzac landing on 25 April 1915. A month later he was evacuated with influenza and did not resume duty until 2 June.

At 4 a.m. on 9 August, during the battle of Lone Pine, the Turks launched a bomb attack followed by a violent general assault with intense rifle and machine-gun fire. Near Sasse's Sap the 3rd Battalion counter-attacked and drove them back but soon afterwards Turkish soldiers again streamed down the sap. Lieutenant Owen Howell-Price, adjutant of the 3rd Battalion, ordered several men, including Hamilton, to scramble onto the parapet and fire on the enemy in the trenches while he confronted those advancing along the sap. Exposed to intense fire and protected only by a few sandbags, Hamilton lay out in the open for six hours telling those in the trenches where to throw their bombs while he kept up constant sniper fire. A dangerous assault was thus halted. For his 'coolness and daring example' he received the Victoria Cross, the only one awarded to his unit during the war. The 3rd Battalion was decimated at Lone Pine but, after reorganization in Egypt, left for France in March 1916 and went into the line at Armentières. Hamilton was promoted corporal on 3 May and fought at Pozières in July, Mouquet Farm in August and Flers in November. He was promoted sergeant in May 1917 and that year his battalion served at Bullecourt, Menin Road and Broodseinde. (