Lord Mayor’s ‘Soudan Medal’, engraved to “T.J. BUCHANAN N.S.W.A.”, medal struck by Sydney Jeweller Evan Jones and issued by Thomas Playfair, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, in 1885. Obverse: Shield of Arms at centre, crown and anchor above, jewelry’s name “E. JONES” below. Reverse: Olive wreath surrounds name plate, legend around, “PRESENTED BY THE CITIZENS OF SYDNEY / T. PLAYFAIR, MAYOR, 1885”. Carlisle-1885/1. Well preserved with some peripheral cabinet toning, includes suspender and ribbon. Very Fine or better
Ex. Nobles Numismatics Sale July 25-27 2006
John Buchanan, also known to his peers as Thomas Buchanan, was born in 1864 in Williamtown, New South Wales and was a labourer by trade. On the 27th March 1883, Buchanan attested for the New South Wales Colonial Forces, enlisted as Gunner 1011 of the Artillery Battery.
With the growing conflicts in the African continent, Australia pledged military support to Great Britain’s campaigns in Sudan. On the 3rd March 1885, Buchanan, amongst the New South Wales Contingent, embarked from Australia for Africa – the military force was approximately 758 men in strength, 212 of which from Buchanan’s Artillery Battery, as well as 24 officers. The Australians would become known as the Australian Colonial Forces for the Sudan Campaign, and during their departure a public holiday was held to mark the occasion, described as the most festive ever seen in Sydney. The Australians disembarked at Suakin, Sudan’s Red Sea port, and many would be attached to a brigade composed of Scots, Grenadiers and Coldstream Guards. A short 50 days later, the Australian Colonial Forces embarked South Africa on the 17th May 1885 and disembarked at Sydney the following month.
Although most of the Australians returned on the 19th June, Buchanan was sick at the time of their embarkation and was left in hospital at Suez (Per A.W.M.), later embarked aboard the Transport Ship S.S. ‘Liguria’, arriving back to Australia on the 30th June. Buchanan was awarded his Lord Mayor’s ‘Soudan Medal’ and be one of 764 that received such a commemorative piece in silver – it is aptly engraved his name ‘T.J. BUCHANAN N.S.W.A.’, a nod to ‘Thomas’ and ‘John’, both names that he was known as, as well as his unit ‘NSW Artillery’.
It appears that John Buchanan did not have any later military service, and thus likely returned to civilian life as a labourer.