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18322 Trooper John Hamilton Armstrong NZEF

NZEF Pair - 18322 Armstrong - Wounded NZMR

SKU: ZM237
  • The British War Medal and Victory Medal pair issued to Joseph Hamilton Armstrong, who served with the Auckland Mounted Rifles during the desert campaign in Egypt and Palestine, and was wounded in action.


    Joseph Hamilton Armstrong was born 26 December 1885 at Tauranga, New Zealand. Son of Benjamin Goodwin and Agnes Armstrong (née Hamilton). He was farming with his father at Te Puna when he enlisted for service in 1916. He embarked with the 20th Reinforcements, NZ Mounted Rifles in December 1916, and joined the 4th (Waikato) Squadron, Auckland Mounted Rifles in the field in May 1917.


    On 23rd March 1918, Armstrong become one of just three casualties during a series of sweeping actions against the Turks, resulting in the capture of the Ghoraniyeh Bridge. The actions that day were characterised by the élan displayed by the New Zealand horsemen in rushing Turkish positions, as described in the 'A Tale of Two Campaigns' by C.G. Nicol:


    "Simultaneously, the 3rd and 4th squadrons were galloping north at breakneck speed. Everything depended on speed, and more often than not the main line was on the heels of what, under ordinary circumstances, would have been a screen. Spur as they would the advance guard could not keep any distance from the squadrons behind, and the colonel's shouts of "Faster, Faster," came clearly to their ears. Those fine horsemen seemed to be possessed of a devil, so reckless was the ride. The dash which the commander put into his regiment was amazing, and staggered the battalions of the Londons which were able to view it."


    "The day resulted in a total of 50 Turks killed, 60 captured, besides four machine-guns, at a cost of one officer killed, and one officer and one man wounded. Only six horses were hit. It need hardly be said that the extraordinary success of the day gave the A.M.R. a wonderful reputation among the Tommies. Many of them said they had never dreamed such riding possible. Through quick and courageous decisions, and prompt and intrepid action, one regiment, armed only for dismounted fighting, had cleared some miles of country."


    Armstrong suffered a gunshot wound to his ankle, and was evacuated to Egypt. By the time he recovered, the war was over and he returned to New Zealand for discharge. During the Second World War Armstrong served with the National Military Reserve, claiming his 1939/45 War Medal and NZ War Service Medal in 1950. He resided in Tauranga his whole life, dying in 1975 aged 90.


    Both medals are correctly impressed 18322 TPR. J.H. ARMSTRONG. N.Z.E.F.


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