Gilbert Henry Claude Hamilton

The following account of Colonel Hamilton appeared recently in a number of the Navy and Army Illustrated newspaper: 'Gilbert Hamilton holds a unique record, for he is the first cavalry officer in the army who has ever risen straight from the ranks to command a cavalry regiment, and he deserves the position he has won for himself, if ever a man did, for he has shown himself an exceptionally fine soldier and officer. He joined the 2nd Life Guards as a trooper at the age of seventeen and a half, and before he was twenty-three he had won his commission, being appointed to the regiment he now commands. His war services comprise the Afghan War of 1879, in which he was, first, aide-de-camp to Sir Sam. Browne, and afterwards galloper to the officer commanding the cavalry brigade at Cabul, and also the Boer War of 1881. In all military exercises Colonel Hamilton is facile princeps. He holds the record score for shooting with the Martini Henry carbine, and won twice running the Inter-Regimental Revolver competition. As a swordsman he competed seven times at the Royal Military Tournament in the sword versus sword mounted competition, and for six years out of the seven was either first or second, in fact only on one occasion was he knocked out before reaching the final.'

Gilbert Henry Claude Hamilton was born 30 July 1852, being the eldest son of the late Lieutenant-General Henry Meade Hamilton and Henrietta, daughter of the late Rev. Sir Erasmus Dixon Borrowes Bt of Barretstown Castle, County Kildare, Ireland. He was appointed Sub-Lieutenant 14th Hussars 1 Sep 1875 and Lieutenant on the same date. He commanded the 14th from 22 Feb 1899 until 1901. He was also Adjutant to the Yorkshire Dragoons (Yeomanry) from 22 Feb 1888 to 17 April 1893.

Gilbert Hamilton comes of a soldier stock. His father, the late Lieutenant-General H. M. Hamilton, C.B., served in several campaigns. One of his brothers, Bruce Meade Hamilton, late of the East Yorkshire Regiment, is now Major-General Commanding 21st Brigade in the war in South Africa, and has already distinguished himself there in many engagements. He is a Staff College man. Hubert, also a Staff College man, is a Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, late Major in the Royal West Surrey Regiment, and gained the ' Distinguished Service Order ' recently in the campaign in Egypt, when serving with the Egyptian army. He also is at the front, and is Military Secretary to Lord Kitchener, Commander-in-Chief in South Africa; whilst the youngest, Keith, is serving in South Africa with his regiment the Oxfordshire Light Infantry, in which he is a Captain.

Father and sons together have up to the present date earned twenty medals between them. Colonel Gilbert Hamilton was mentioned in despatches and received the medal for his services in the Afghan wars of 1878, 1879, and 1880, and he commanded the Fourteenth in South Africa until 21st November 1900, when he was appointed Brigadier-General to command the 4th Brigade of Cavalry in Lieutenant-General French's Cavalry Division. On 30 July 1901 his brigade surprised and captured Potgieter's Laager at Wolmaranstadt in Transvaal. Twenty-one Boers were killed or wounded and all of Commandant Potgieter's wagons were captured. He retired in 1906 and was awarded CB in the birthday honours list of that year. He is mentioned in Douglas Haig's Letters and Diaries at 'Ghazi' Hamilton, brother of 'Hammy'.

Regimental Details | 14th Hussars Commanding Officers


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by Stephen Luscombe