Moving souvenirs of first World War Dublin brothers-in-arms

War medals, next-of-kin plaques, letters from king and tankard form single auction lot

Poignant mementoes recalling the lives of two Dublin brothers – soldiers who died in the first World War – will go under the hammer at John Weldon Auctioneers in Temple Bar on Tuesday (November 24th).

The items, on view in the saleroom at Cow's Lane from noon today, have been consigned to auction by a descendant of Alexander and Frederick Hamilton who served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, a British army regiment.

The items, being sold as a single lot with a guide price of €300-€500, include “ Two first World War medals, two next- of-kin memorial plaques, a letter from Buckingham Palace and a tankard”. The first medal is engraved: “19555 Pte F Hamilton RDF”, and the second, “19556 Pte A Hamilton’. The bronze memorial plaques are also each inscribed with the men’s names.

After the first World War, the British government commissioned bronze memorial plaques, which were sent to the next-of-kin of all soldiers who had died in the war. The plaques were accompanied by a letter from Buckingham Palace, signed by King George V, which reads: "I join my grateful people in sending you this memorial of a brave life given for others in the Great War".


Auctioneer John Weldon said: "What is interesting about this lot, is that the two men were brothers, who signed up to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers together [their military numbers are consecutive], both went to fight in the first World War and both were killed". While he has had memorial plaques and medals before, he said he had "never had two from the same family". Alexander Hamilton died in action on the Somme in September 1916 and Frederick Hamilton died of his wounds in August 1917.

The auction also includes jewellery, silver and gold coins. Other highlights include "an Irish silver tea caddy, Dublin 1836, by Richard Smith, chased in the 'chinoiserie' style estimated at €1,000-€2,000; "a platinum graduated old cut diamond bracelet, total diamond weight 26cts, estimated at €20,000- €30,000; and a "diamond and ruby set bracelet, set with 16cts of diamonds and 1cts of ruby", €15,000-€20,000.