Ian Hamilton (British Army officer)
Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton
Sir Ian Hamilton
|Born||16 January 1853|
Corfu, United States of the Ionian Islands
|Died||12 October 1947 (aged 94)|
|Years of service||1873–1915|
|Commands held||Mediterranean Expeditionary Force|
1st Gordon Highlanders
|Battles/wars||Second Anglo-Afghan War|
First Boer War
North West Frontier
Second Boer War
First World War
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Order of the Red Eagle (Prussia)
Order of the Crown (Prussia)
Order of Merit (Spain)
Order of the Sacred Treasure (Japan)
|Other work||Lieutenant of the Tower of London (1918–20)|
Rector of the University of Edinburgh (1932–35)
Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton, GCB, GCMG, DSO, TD (16 January 1853 – 12 October 1947) was a Scottish British Army General, who, after an extensive British Imperial military career in the Victorian/Edwardian era, commanded the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War.
He spoke German, French and Hindi, was considered charming, courtly and kind. He appeared frail yet was full of energy. He was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross, but on the first occasion was considered too young, and on the second too senior. He was wounded in action at the Battle of Majuba during the First Boer War, which rendered his left hand permanently injured.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Military career
- 3 Return to England & Inspector-General Overseas Forces
- 4 First World War
- 5 Later life
- 6 Death
- 7 Personal life
- 8 Assessments
- 9 Honours, awards and decorations
- 10 Legacy
- 11 See also
- 12 Notes
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Hamilton's father was Colonel Christian Monteith Hamilton, former commanding officer of the 92nd Highlanders. His mother Corinna was the daughter of the 3rd Viscount Gort. His mother died giving birth to his brother, Vereker, who became a well-known artist. He received his early formal education at Wellington College, Berkshire. His father then sent him to stay with General von Damimers, a Hanoverian who had fought against Prussia.
Hamilton attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1870, the first year that entrance to the British Army as an officer was regulated by academic examination rather than by the monetary purchasing of a commission. In 1871 he received a commission as an infantry officer with the Suffolk Regiment, but shortly afterwards transferred to the 2nd Battalion of The Gordon Highlanders, who at that time were on Imperial garrison service in India. On arrival in India Hamilton took part in the Afghan campaign.
During the First Boer War he was present at the Battle of Majuba, where he was wounded and taken prisoner of war by the Boers. He later returned to England to recover, where he was treated as a war hero and introduced to Queen Victoria. In 1882 he was made captain and took part in the Nile Expedition of 1884–1885, being promoted to brevet-major. In Burma 1886–1887 he became brevet lieutenant colonel. In Bengal from 1890–1893 held the rank of Colonel and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1891. He took part in the Expedition as military secretary to Sir George Stuart White, commander in chief of forces in India. From 1895–1898 he held the post of Deputy Quarter Master General in India. In 1897–1898 he commanded the third brigade in the Tirah Campaign, where his left arm was wounded by a shell.
He returned to England in April 1898 and was appointed Commandant of the School of Musketry at Hythe.
Second Boer War
Amidst mounting tensions between the United Kingdom and the Boer republics in South Africa Lieutenant General White was dispatched to take command in Natal in September 1899, with Hamilton accompanying him as Chief Staff Officer (Assistant Adjutant General). The Second Boer War broke out shortly after their arrival and Hamilton commanded the infantry at the Battle of Elandslaagte. At the Battle of Ladysmith Hamilton continued to lead his brigade sized column, but played no role in the fighting. Defeated in the field, White's Natal Field Force was besieged in Ladysmith from the beginning of November. Hamilton was given command of the southern sector of the towns defences and successfully fought off the only major assault on the garrison at the Battle of Wagon Hill in January. For his part in the siege he was frequently mentioned in dispatches.
After the relief of Ladysmith in February Hamilton took command of a brigade of Mounted Infantry, and from April the Mounted Infantry Division. He was promoted to major general, and knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB). The war correspondent Winston Churchill told of his campaign from Bloemfontein to Pretoria in Ian Hamilton's March (London, 1900, reprinted as the second half of The Boer War), having first met Hamilton in 1897 when they sailed on the same ship. Hamilton travelled 400 miles from Bloemfontein to Pretoria fighting 10 major battles with Boer forces (including the battle of Rooiwal) and fourteen minor ones, and was recommended twice for the Victoria Cross (which was considered inappropriate because of his rank).
In May 1901 Hamilton was appointed Military Secretary at the War Office, but the following November he was again asked to return to South Africa as Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief, Lord Kitchener. He arrived in South Africa in late November 1901, and received the local rank of Lieutenant-general. In April 1902 he took command of the military columns operating in the Western Transvaal. Following the end of hostilities in June 1902, he returned to the UK together with Lord Kitchener on board the SS Orotava, which arrived in Southampton on 12 July. They received an enthusiastic welcome on their arrival to London, with thousands of people lining the streets to watch their procession.
In a despatch dated 23 June 1902, Lord Kitchener wrote the following about his work in South Africa:
At much personal convenience, Lord Roberts lent me his Military Secretary, Sir Ian Hamilton, as my Chief of Staff. His high soldierly qualities are already well known, and his reputation does not require to be established now. I am much indebted to him for his able and constant support to me as Chief of Staff, also for the marked skill and self-reliance he showed later, when directing operations in the Western Transvaal.
Hamilton was promoted to lieutenant-general for distinguished service in the field on 22 August 1902. He returned to his post as Military Secretary at the War Office in September 1902, and the same month accompanied Lord Roberts, Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, and St John Brodrick, Secretary of State for War, on a visit to Germany to attend the German army maneuvers as guest of the Emperor Wilhelm. From 1903 to 1904 he was Quartermaster-General to the Forces.
From 1904 to 1905, Hamilton was the military attaché of the British Indian Army serving with the Japanese army in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War. Amongst the several military attachés from Western countries, he was the first to arrive in Japan after the start of the war. He published A Staff Officer's Scrap-Book during the Russo–Japanese War on his experiences and observations during that conflict.
This military confrontation between a well-known European army and a less-familiar Asian army was the first time that the tactics of entrenched positions for infantry were defended with machine guns and artillery. This was the first twentieth-century war in which the technology of warfare became increasingly important, factors which came to dominate the evolution of warfare during the First World War. Hamilton wrote that cavalry was obsolete in such a conflict, regarding their role as better accomplished by mounted infantry. He became a supporter of non-traditional tactics such as night attacks and the use of aircraft. Conversely the successful Japanese infantry assaults convinced him that superior morale would allow an attacker to overcome prepared defensive positions.
Return to England & Inspector-General Overseas Forces
By 1911 Hamilton had been appointed Inspector-General of Oversea Forces, and by 1913 also, additionally, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Mediterranean Command, with major-generals in Gibraltar, Malta, and Egypt, plus the forces in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Cyprus seemingly reporting to him. In July 1914 he was returning to the United Kingdom with his appointment about to expire.
First World War
On 5 August 1914, with the declaration of hostilities between England and the II Reich, Hamilton was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief, Home Army. He also became commander of "Central Force", the predominantly Territorial Force military formation which was charged with repelling any seaborne German invasion of the east coast of England in the early part of the war.
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In March 1915 Lord Kitchener appointed Hamilton at the age of 62 to the command of the Allied Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, with orders to gain control of the Dardanelles straits from the Ottoman Empire and to capture Constantinople. Whilst a senior and respected officer, perhaps more experienced in different campaigns than most, he was considered too unconventional, too intellectual and too friendly with politicians to be given a command on the Western Front. Hamilton was not given a chance to take part in planning the campaign. Intelligence reports on the Ottoman Empire's military defensive capacity were poor, and underestimated its strength. Whilst the high command of the Greek Army, which possessed far more detailed knowledge of the Ottoman Empire's military capacity, warned Kitchener that a British Expeditionary Force entering the Eastern Mediterranean theatre would require 150,000 troops to capture Gallipoli, Kitchener concluded that a force of 70,000 men would be adequate to overpower any defensive garrison there.
The plan to take control of the Dardanelles and open a new front in the war had been considered in various forms since 1914. In November of that year ships from the Royal Navy had shelled its outer forts, causing the magazine at Seddülbahir castle to explode. In December 1914 a Royal Navy submarine entered the channel and sank the Turkish warship Mesudiye at Çanakkale. These early experiences raised in Kitchener's mind the prospect of an easy victory for a more ambitious operation, but as a consequence of them the Turks had set about laying sea-mines in the straits to interdict Allied warships ships approaching again, and strengthened the forts guarding its approaches. On 3 January 1915 the British First Sea Lord, Admiral Fisher, presented a plan to the British Government for a joint naval and army attack, utilizing 75,000 troops, but only on the proviso that it could be launched with little delay. By 21 January 1915 Fisher wrote privately to Admiral Jellicoe that he could not approve the plan unless 200,000 men were available to carry it through. Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, had initially suggested in September 1914 that the operation would need the support of only 50,000 men, a strength of just over two British Army divisions
Starting on 19 February 1915, British and French warships attempted to take the strait using naval power alone, but failed after an abortive attack foundered upon sea-mines. Lord Kitchener then decided that an invasion by troops of the Gallipoli peninsula would be required to support the naval operation with a land campaign, led by Hamilton, who became responsible for organising landings there. He had no specialised landing craft, the disparate troops he had been given had no training for seaborne operations, and supplies for the army had been packed in ways which made them difficult to access for landings. Hamilton believed that the Royal Navy would make further attacks during his campaign, however, realising its likely losses, and fundamentally opposing the idea that tactical losses of its ships in the operation was an acceptable price to pay, the Royal Naval high command declined to mount another attack.
With the Gallipoli Campaign stalled, Hamilton was recalled to London on 16 October 1915, effectively ending his military career.
In retirement, he was a leading figure in the ex-servicemen organization, the British Legion, holding the position of Scottish President. He was also a founding member and vice-president of the Anglo-German Association in 1928, which works to promote rapprochement between England and Germany. He maintained a relationship with the Association after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, and described himself as "an admirer of the great Adolph (sic) Hitler", dismissing Mein Kampf as a "youthful excess". (In the historian Ian Kershaw's view however Hamilton was a pillar of the British Imperial power establishment and not a Nazi supporter, despite his early apparent approval for much of what the early manifestation of the III Reich proclaimed). In 1934, at the age of eighty-one, Hamilton was filmed as part of a war documentary film called Forgotten Men.
Hamilton died in his 95th year on 12 October 1947 at his home at Hyde Park Gardens in London. His body was buried at Kilmadock Cemetery, in Doune, Stirlingshire, Scotland. In 2013 his grave was found to have fallen into a semi-derelict condition, and it was refurbished by Stirling Council.
He married Jean Muir in 1887, daughter of a Glasgow businessman, the marriage producing no children.
Along with his professional career Hamilton was a prolific writer. He published a volume of poetry, and a novel contemporarily described as risqué. His written works include the titles: The Fighting of the Future, Icarus, A Jaunt on a Junk, A Ballad of Hadji and A Staff Officer's Scrapbook. In the introduction of his Gallipoli Diary, he stated: "There is nothing certain about war, except that one side won't win".
Hamilton's known published writings encompass 184 works in 568 publications, in six languages and 4,455 library holdings.
- — (1887). The Ballad of Hádji, and Other Poems.
- — (1905). A Staff officer's Scrap-book during the Russo-Japanese War. Vol. I. London: E. Arnold.
- — (1907). A Staff officer's Scrap-book during the Russo-Japanese War. Vol. II. London & New York: E. Arnold & Longmans, Green. OCLC 10080215.
- — (1910). Compulsory Service; a Study of the Question in the Light of Experience.
- — (1913). National life and national training.
- 1915 — Sir Ian Hamilton's Despatches from the Dardanelles, etc.
- 1919 — The Millennium
- — (1920). Gallipoli Diary. New York: George H. Doran. OCLC 580456.
- — (1921). The Soul and Body of an Army.
- 1923 — The Friends of England; Lectures to Members of the British Legion
- 1926 — Now and Then
- 1939 — When I was a Boy
- 1944 — Listening for the Drums
- 1957 — The Commander
British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith remarked that he thought that Hamilton had "too much feather in his brain", whereas Charles Bean, a war correspondent who had reported from the scene of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, and who went on to write Australia's Official History of the 1914-1918 War, considered that Hamilton possessed "a breadth of mind which the army in general does not possess".
Honours, awards and decorations
A statue of the then Lt.-Gen Hamilton stands on the Boer War memorial in Cheltenham.
- DSO : Distinguished Service Order – 1891
- CB : Companion – 1896 – Chitral relief force
- KCB : Knight Commander – 29 November 1900 – in recognition of services in connection with the Campaign in South Africa 1899–1900
- GCB : Knight Grand Cross – 1910
- GCMG : Knight Grand Cross – 1919
- Knight 1st class of the Order of the Crown (Prussia) – during his September 1902 visit to Germany to attend German Army maneuvres.
- Carlyon (2002), p. 17.
- "No. 27306". The London Gazette. 19 April 1901. p. 2695.
- "No. 27311". The London Gazette. 7 May 1901. p. 3124.
- "The War – Lord Kitchener's staff". The Times (36607). London. 8 November 1901. p. 6.
- "No. 27376". The London Gazette. 12 November 1901. p. 7293.
- "Latest intelligence – The War – The Transvaal". The Times (36739). London. 11 April 1902. p. 3.
- "The Army in South Africa - Troops returning home". The Times (36804). London. 26 June 1902. p. 10.
- "Lord Kitchener's return". The Times (36819). London. 14 July 1902. p. 6.
- "No. 27459". The London Gazette. 29 July 1902. p. 4835.
- "No. 27490". The London Gazette. 31 October 1902. p. 6897.
- "No. 27481". The London Gazette. 10 October 1902. p. 6413.
- "The German maneuvers". The Times (36865). London. 5 September 1902. p. 6.
- "General Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B". The War Illustrated. IV: 1290. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009.
- Chapman, John; Nish, Ian (April 2004). "On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War, Part I (Note 42)" (PDF). Suntory Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD). London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): 53.
- Kowner (2006), p. 140.
- "Hamilton, Gen. Sir Ian Standish Monteith (1853-1947)". Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. King's College London., and The London Gazette, 1 June 1909, Issue 28256, p.4160.
- Rinaldi 2008, p. 14.
- Rinaldi 2008, p. 25.
- Carlyon (2002), pp. 16–17.
- "Gallipoli Campaign". Spartacus Educational.
- Carlyon (2002), pp. 65–72.
- Carlyon (2002), pp. 79–83.
- Kershaw (2004).
- Forgotten Men (1934) on IMDb
- "Sir Ian Hamilton Dies In His Sleep". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 13 October 1947. p. 6 (SECOND EDITION). Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton at Find a Grave
- "General Sir Ian Hamilton Grave". greatwarforum.org. July 2013.
- Hamilton 1920, p. v..
- Ancestral Voices, James Lees-Milne, Faber and Faber, 1975, p. 124
- "Hamilton, Ian, Sir 1853–1947". WorldCat Identities.
- Cassar 1994, p. 78.
- Carlyon (2002), p. 18.
- "Glasgow University jubilee". The Times (36481). London. 14 June 1901. p. 10.
- "Latest Intelligence - The German Army Maneuvres". The Times (36900). London. 16 October 1902. p. 4.
- "About Us". Hamilton Preparatory School. Archived from the original on 14 August 2013.
- Carlyon, Les (2002). Gallipoli. New York: Pan Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-7329-1128-7.
- Cassar, George H. (1994). Asquith As War Leader. A&C Black. ISBN 978-1-85285-117-0.
- Jenkins, Roy (2002). Churchill: A Biography. Plume. ISBN 978-0-452-28352-7.
- Kershaw, Ian (2004). Making friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and Britain's road to war. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 978-0-7139-9717-0.
- Kornicki, Peter (2010). "General Sir Ian Hamilton and the Russo-Japanese War". In Cortazzi, Hugh (ed.). Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits. 7. Folkestone: Global Oriental. pp. 162–78.
- Kowner, Rotem (2006). Historical Dictionary of the Russo-Japanese War. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4927-5.
- Lee, John (2000). A Soldier's Life: General Sir Ian Hamilton, 1853-1947'. Macmillan.
- Rinaldi, Richard A. (2008). Order of Battle of the British Army 1914. Ravi Rikhye. ISBN 9780977607280.
Media related to Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton at Wikimedia Commons
- Works by Ian Hamilton at Project Gutenberg
- Baker, Chris. "Ian Hamilton". The Long, Long Trail. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008.
- Newspaper clippings about Ian Hamilton in the 20th Century Press Archives of the ZBW
Sir Coleridge Grove
| Military Secretary
Sir Ronald Lane
Sir Charles Clarke
| Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Sir Herbert Plumer
Sir Evelyn Wood
(as Commander II Army Corps)
| GOC-in-C Southern Command
Sir Charles Douglas
Sir Charles Douglas
| Adjutant General
Sir Spencer Ewart
Sir Charles Douglas
(as Inspector-General Home Forces)
| Commander-in-Chief, Home Army
Sir Leslie Rundle
| Rector of the University of Edinburgh
The Viscount Allenby