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Royal Australian Naval Brigade certificate of discharge Petty Officer Frank Alwyn Hamilton

Date: 1919
Overall: 165 x 210 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ian Hamilton
Object Name: Certificate
Object No: 00004149
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    Preserved by his family for over 70 years, this certificate of discharge is a link to Frank Alwyn Hamilton's service during World War I. As part of a combined expeditionary force (Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force - AN&MEF) raised in Sydney in 1914, Hamilton played a part in the capture of German held territories in New Guinea and adjacent Pacific Islands before later joining the AIF.
    SignificanceThis Royal Australian Naval Brigade discharge certificate relating to the service of Petty Officer Frank Alwyn Hamilton highlights the important role played by reservists in the first decades after Australian Federation.
    HistoryFollowing the outbreak of World War I, the British government sought to neutralise the German colonies in New Guinea and adjacent Pacific islands. For this purpose an expeditionary force consisting of six companies of naval reservists plus an infantry battalion with additional machine gun, signalling and medical sections was formed in Sydney under the command of Colonel William Holmes.

    This combined force was embarked at Cockatoo Island aboard the P&O ship SS BERRIMA on 19 August 1914 and, convoyed by the cruiser HMAS SYDNEY (1) and destroyers YARRA and WARREGO north to Rabaul. There they rendezvoused with the battle cruiser HMAS AUSTRALIA.

    The Australian troops landed on 12 September and after a campaign lasting only a few days, accepted the German surrender of New Guinea. By the end of the year the German territories in New Guinea, Nauru, the Admiralty Islands and German Solomon Islands had capitulated and these areas remained under Australian control for the rest of the war.

    Frank Hamilton joined the expedition as a 20 year old naval reservist, service number NX100019. After returning to Australia in 1915 he was demobilised from the Royal Australian Naval Brigade, joining the 30th Battalion AIF where he served in Egypt and France until his discharge in August 1919.

    Frank was born in Sydney on 28 May 1894. After the war, Hamilton purchased a motor launch and became a boatman on Sydney Harbour. His service record says he was a Ganger with the Public Works department before he joined up again in 1939 as a Lieutenant in the 11th Garrison Battalion where he trained in map reading before transfer to the 22nd Garrison Battalion and then to the prisoner of war camp at Cowra as a Guard Officer at Camp No. 12. Frank was plagued by ill health during his service in World War II. He died in 1959.

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