Printed paper certificate confirming the commission of Ernest Samuel Hazeldine as Captain, Defence Force of the Commonwealth, 1 January 1920. The certificate is dated 17 October 1923; the appointment was recorded in the 'Register of Patents', no. 42, page 231, on 21 March 1924. The certificate is authorized by the Governor-General, Henry William, Baron Forster.

Ernest Samuel Hazeldine was a 27-year-old mechanic (one source says electrician) when he enlisted for World War I on 22 September 1914 (service #450). Born in Casterton, Victoria, he had not served in the military previously. He was placed in the [1] Divisional Train (1 to 4 Companies ASC [Army Service Corps]), and went on to serve in the Postal Corps. He embarked on the HMAT Orvieto on 21 October 1914, and served first in Egypt. After a bout of appendicitis, he was invalided to England, where he apparently remained. He spent at least part of the war at Salisbury Plain, the location of army camps. He worked his way up through the ranks of corporal and senior sergeant to lieutenant, and by 1916 had been appointed Assistant Director, Army Postal Services. On 28 August 1919 he was brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for 'valuable services' rendered. Promoted to captain on 1 January 1920, he returned to Australia on the Orontes on 21 February that year. His later military career, if any, requires further investigation; however, he was still calling himself 'Captain Hazeldine' in correspondence (held in the National Archives) in 1946. He died in Melbourne in 1960.

Physical Description

Printed certificate on cream-coloured paper, including cursive script with 19th century-style ornamentation. It is embossed with the shape of a seal (no actual seal has been applied), and has two signatures. The front provides details of the titles of the Governor-General, Henry William, Baron Forster, names the recipient of the title, and directs him to discharge his duty as Captain from 1 January 1920. The certificate is dated 17 October 1923; the appointment was recorded in the 'Register of Patents', no.42, page 231, on 21 March 1924 (recorded down the left side of the certificate). The back of the certificate provides a record of promotion (not filled in). Some foxing and discolouration of certificate.


This elaborate certificate featuring cursive script and embossed seal, issued at the end of World War I, is significant as a reminder of the formal processes of the military establishment. Its recipient, who had risen to considerable height in the military hierarchy in the Postal Service, was bestowed the title after the conflict had ended, but before he had returned to Australia. Formalization of his promotion fixed his status in both a military and civilian context, and it is relevant that 26 years later the recipient was still using the title this certificate conferred. His case is interesting, too, as it documents a soldier who appears to have never seen a battle - although he rose through the same hierarchy as active soldiers, his skill was administration.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions

  • Acquisition Information


  • Awarded To

    Ernest S. Hazeldine - Defence Force of the Commonwealth, Australia, 1 Jan 1920

  • Date Inscribed

    17 Oct 1923

  • Date Recorded

    21 Mar 1924
    The appointment was recorded in the 'Register of Patents', no.42, page 231, on 21 March 1924.

  • Person Named

    Baron Sir Henry W. Forster, Australia

  • Inscriptions

    'His Excellency the Right Honourable Henry William, Baron Forster...[titles follow] To [typed] ERNEST SAMUEL HAZELDINE / GREETING / By virtue of the provisions of the "Defence Act 1903-1918"...hereby appoint you to be an Officer of the Military Forces of the Defence Force of the Commonwealth from the [typed] FIRST day of JANUARY 1920 / And I direct you diligently to discharge your duty as such Officer in the / rank of [typed] CAPTAIN / or in any higher rank to which the Governor-General is pleased to / promote or appoint you. / Given under my hand and the Seal of the Commonwealth / this [typed] SEVENTEENTH day of OCTOBER / One thousand nine hundred and TWENTYTHREE'. Signed by E.K. Bowden. A second signature is illegible.

  • Classification

    Military history, Service, Presentations

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Object Dimensions

    340 mm (Width), 228 mm (Height)

  • References

    Information on the World War I service of Ernest Samuel Hazeldine from National Archives, barcode 4749247, accessed 15 Nov 2010. Information on death of Ernest Samuel Hazeldine from family history site [Link 1] accessed 16 Nov 2010.

  • Keywords

    Defence Forces, Postal Services, World War I Fundraising