16/539 RQMS Eagle D'Arcy-Hamilton, 1st Maori Contingent NZEF
1914/15 Star Trio to RQMS of the 1st Maori Contingent
The scarce 1914/15 Star Trio and 1913 'Massey's Cossacks' medallion group to Eagle D'Arcy-Hamilton, Regimental Quartermaster-Sergeant of the 1st Maori Contingent.
Eagle D'Arcy-Hamilton was born, according to his NZEF service file, on 5th August 1882 at Auckland. He married Mary Margaret Vera Gibbison in 1907, and at the time of his enlistment with the NZEF in August 1914, was farming at Kawhia with Mary and their two children (a third child was born after the war). In 1913, during the waterfront strike at Wellington, D'Arcy-Hamilton served as a special constable - one of 'Massey's Cossacks' - for which he received the mounted version of the commemorative medal issued to these men.
D'Arcy-Hamilton had territorial service with 4th (Waikato) Mounted Rifles, and this experience seems to have lead to his appointment was RQMS of the 1st Maori Contingent - this being a unique rank in the contingent. The Maori Contingent were initially deployed ot Egypt and then Malta, on garrison duty, before the pressure of needing troops on Gallipoli saw the contingent deploy to the peninsula in early July 1915. D'Arcy-Hamilton served on Gallipoli until early August 1915, when he was evacuated to Alexandria, suffering from enteritis. In October 1915 he was posted to the Otago Infantry Battalion on Mudros, returning to Egypt in December 1915. He was posted to the Auckland Infantry Battalion in January 1916 before transferring to the UK in April 1916. The effects of dysentery continued to plague his health throughout 1916, and in January 1917 he was returned to New Zealand and discharged from the NZEF as no longer physically fit for active service.
After the war D'Arcy-Hamilton returned to Kawhia, where he worked in various roles. He died 8th May 1956 at Kawhia and is buried in the Returned Serviceman's Section of Auckland's Waikumetete Cemetery.
The medals are all correctly impressed, although the 1914/15 Star is named 16/639 R.Q.M.S. E. D’ARCY-HAMILTON. N.Z.E.F. (the number being 16/639 instead of the 16/539). This is an error at the time of impressing and not indicative of a replacement/otherwise incorrect medal. The 1913 Strike Medallion is engraved E.D.A. Hamilton, and is done in a style very typical of these medallions. The group also comes with D'Arcy-Hamilton's dog-tag, his small RSA badge (1947/48) and a Auckland Returned Soldiers Association Membership Booklet. This is named to E.D.Hamilton 16/539 and is for the year 1939-40.
Note, EDH has been identified from the attached photograph of the NCOs of the 1st Maori Contingent, taken at Malta in June 1915. He is the Regimental QMS, and as a unique rank must be the man wearing the RQMS rank in the photo (seated 5th from left).