Swagger Stick : Captain J P Hamilton VC

Place Oceania: Australia
Accession Number REL/13020
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Cane, Leather
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1939 - 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Cane Swagger stick covered with finely plaited leather. The leather forms a small knob at each end.

History / Summary

This swagger stick was used by NX150350 Captain John 'Jack' Hamilton while he was serving with the Australian Works Companies between 1942 and 1946. John Hamilton was born on 24 January 1896 to William and Catherine (nee Fox) Hamilton of Orange, New South Wales. He was schooled at Oakey Park, a small mining village near Lithgow where his father owned a butcher shop. On 15 September 1914, barely a month after the start of the First World War, 18 year old Hamilton enlisted at Penshurst, Sydney and was posted as private 943 to 3 Battalion AIF. For his actions during the Battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli, on 9 August 1915, Hamilton was awarded a Victoria Cross. In May 1916, he was promoted to corporal and twelve months later he was made a sergeant. In July 1918 he attended officer training school and was appointed a second lieutenant on 2 January 1919, rising to lieutenant on 2 April. Hamilton returned to Australia on 26 August 1919 and was discharged on 12 September. After the war, he worked as a labourer on the waterfront and, by the outbreak of the Second World War, was a shipping clerk. On 3 June 1940, Hamilton was seconded from the retired list to the Second AIF as a lieutenant, service number NX150350. He was appointed to 16 Garrison Battalion based at Hay NSW. He was later assigned to various training battalions within Australia before being posted overseas. On 18 September 1942, he embarked on the SS Taroona bound for New Guinea. On 4 October 1942, Hamilton was transferred to the Australian Army Employment Service. He contracted dengue fever and was evacuated to 14 Australian Field Ambulance on 1 October, rejoining his unit on the 10th. Returning to Australia in June 1943 he was posted to the headquarters of 30 Australian Employment Company (AEC) before being posted as second-in-command of 28 AEC in May 1944. He was promoted to captain on 21 October 1944. On 14 July 1945 he returned to New Guinea with 39 Australian Works Company where he was based at Torkina, Bougainville and Jacquinot Bay on the island of New Britain. He returned to Australia on 1 March 1946. Despite repeated attempts to see active service with the AIF, Hamilton's Second World War service remained in training and support roles. His service was terminated on 19 August 1946. John Hamilton, the last surviving recipient of the seven Victoria Crosses won at the Battle of Lone Pine, died on 27 February 1961.