Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton GCB
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

Territorial Decoration
The Territorial Decoration was a medal of the United Kingdom awarded for long service in the Territorial Force and its successor, the Territorial Army...

 (16 January 1853 – 12 October 1947) was a general in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and is most notably for commanding the ill-fated Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was part of the British Army during World War I, that commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. This included the initial naval operation to force the straits of the Dardanelles. Its headquarters was formed in March 1915...

 during the Battle of Gallipoli
Battle of Gallipoli
The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...



Hamilton was politically a Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

. He spoke German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Hindi, was considered charming, courtly and kind. He appeared frail, yet was full of energy. He was twice recommended for the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

, but on the first occasion was considered too young, and on the second too senior. He was wounded in the wrist in the First Boer War
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

 (1881) at the Battle of Majuba, leaving his left hand almost useless. His left leg was shorter than the right, as a result of a serious injury falling from a horse.

Different people came to hold differing opinions of him. Prime Minister Herbert Asquith remarked that he had 'too much feather in his brain', whereas Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

, war correspondent covering the Gallipoli campaign considered he had 'a breadth of mind which the army in general does not possess'. He opposed conscription and was considered less ruthless than other successful generals.

He wrote a volume of poetry and a novel contemporarily described as risqué. Works included The fighting of the future, Icarus, A jaunt on a junk, A Ballad of Hadji and A Staff officer's Scrapbook. Writing in the introduction of his Gallipoli Diary, he commented: There is nothing certain about war except that one side won't win.

Hamilton's father was Colonel Christian Monteith Hamilton, former commander of the 92nd Highlanders. His mother Corinna was the daughter of the 3rd Viscount Gort. His mother died giving birth to his brother, Vereker
Vereker Monteith Hamilton
Vereker Monteith Hamilton was the son of Lieut. Col. Christian Monteith Hamilton of the 92nd Highlanders, and brother of British general Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton. He was a Scottish artist of military and historical works...

. He was educated in Cheam, Surrey and then at Wellington college. His father then sent him to stay with General von Damimers, a Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

ian who had fought against Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

. He married Jean Muir in 1887, daughter of a Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...


Hamilton was filmed as part of a war documentary 'Forgotten Men' in 1934 (aged 81).

Military career

Hamilton attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

 in 1870, the first year that entrance to the army was by examination rather than by purchasing a commission. In 1871 he joined the Suffolk regiment but shortly after transferred to the second battalion Gordon Highlanders stationed in India, taking part in the Afghan War.

In the First Boer War
First Boer War
The First Boer War also known as the First Anglo-Boer War or the Transvaal War, was fought from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881-1877 annexation:...

 he was present at the battle of Majuba, where he was injured and then taken prisoner. He returned to England to recover, where he was treated as a hero and introduced to Queen Victoria. In 1882 he was made captain and took part in the Nile expedition of 1884-1885, becoming brevet major. In Burma 1886-1887 he became Brevet Lieutenant Colonel. In Bengal from 1890-1893 he became Colonel in 1891 together with a Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

. 1893-1895 part of Chitral Expedition
Chitral Expedition
The Chitral Expedition was a military expedition in 1895 sent by the British authorities to relieve the fort at Chitral which was under siege after a local coup.-Background to the conflict:Chitral was at the extreme north west of British India...

 as military secretary to Sir George Stuart White, commander in chief of forces in India. 1895-1898 Deputy Quarter Master General in India. 1897-1898 commanded the third brigade in the Tirah Campaign
Tirah Campaign
The Tirah Campaign, often referred to in contemporary British accounts as the Tirah Expedition, was an Indian frontier war in 1897–98. Tirah is a mountainous tract of country.-Rebellion:...

, where his left arm was injured by a shell.

In the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 he was attached to the Natal Field Force as acting adjutant general and commanded the infantry at the Battle of Elandslaagte
Battle of Elandslaagte
The Battle of Elandslaagte was a battle of the Second Boer War, and one of the few clear-cut tactical victories won by the British during that conflict...

. He took part in the Battle of Wagon Hill at Ladysmith and was frequently mentioned in despatches. He was knighted in 1902, was promoted major general, received a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and became Chief of Staff to Lord Kitchener. The war correspondent Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 told of his campaign from Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals – the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.Bloemfontein is popularly and...

 to Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

 in Ian Hamilton's March
Ian Hamilton's March
Ian Hamilton's March is a book written by Winston Churchill. It is a description of his experiences accompanying the British army during the Second Boer War, continuing after the events described in London to Ladysmith via Pretoria.-Writing:...

(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
Battle of Rooiwal
The Battle of Rooiwal was an engagement of the Second Boer War. It took place on 11 April 1902 and resulted in a victory by a British force commanded by Colonel Robert Kekewich over a Boer commando led by Generals Ferdinandus Jacobus Potgieter and Jan Kemp....

) and fourteen minor ones, and was recommended twice for the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

 (which was considered inappropriate because of his rank).

In 1901 to 1903 he was Military Secretary at the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 and in 1903 to 1904 he was Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
In the United Kingdom, the Quartermaster-General to the Forces is a senior general in the British Army.From 1904 the Quartermaster-General to the Forces was the Third Military Member of the Army Board.-Responsibilities:...

. In 1904 to 1905, Hamilton was the military attaché of the Indian Army
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 serving with the Japanese army in Manchuria
Manchuria is a historical name given to a large geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually falls entirely within the People's Republic of China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast...

 during the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

. Amongst the several military attachés from Western countries, he was the first to arrive in Japan after the start of the war.

This military confrontation between a well-known European army and a less-familiar Asian army was the first time 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 World War I.

Hamilton wrote that cavalry was obsolete in such a conflict, though many cavalry forces were deployed in World War I by the British army. He became a supporter of non-traditional tactics such as night attacks, and the use of aircraft.

Hamilton went on to serve as General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, a general might be the GOC II Corps or GOC 7th Armoured Division...

 Southern Command
Southern Command (United Kingdom)
-History:The Command was established in 1905 from the Second Army Corps and was initially based at Tidworth but in 1949 moved to Fugglestone Farm near Wilton in Wiltshire....

 between 1905 and 1909 and as Adjutant-General to the Forces
Adjutant-General to the Forces
The Adjutant-General to the Forces, commonly just referred to as the Adjutant-General , is one of the most senior officers in the British Army. He is in charge of administration, personnel and organisational matters. The Adjutant-General usually holds the rank of General or Lieutenant-General...

 between 1909 and 1910.

The Dardanelles

Kitchener appointed Hamilton to command the Allied Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
The Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was part of the British Army during World War I, that commanded all Allied forces at Gallipoli and Salonika. This included the initial naval operation to force the straits of the Dardanelles. Its headquarters was formed in March 1915...

 to gain control of the Dardanelles
The Dardanelles , formerly known as the Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart the Bosphorus. It is located at approximately...

 straits from Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and capture Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 in March 1915. Hamilton was 62 and had been in charge of Land defenses for England. 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 were poor and grossly underestimated the strength of defending forces and their willingness to fight. It was conceived that a force of 70,000 men would be adequate to rapidly overpower the defenders.

The plan to take control of the Dardanelles and open a new front in the war had been considered in various forms in 1914. In November that year, British ships shelled the outer forts, causing the magazine at Seddülbahir castle to explode. In December, a submarine entered the channel and attacked a Turkish battleship, Çannakkale. Both these events raised the hopes of the British that an easy victory might be had, but as a consequence the Turks set about laying mines through the channels to prevent ships approaching and strengthened the fortifications. On 3 January 1915 First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

, Admiral Fisher presented a plan to the War council for a joint naval and military attack, using 75,000 troops, but only if the attack could be launched immediately. By 21 January, he wrote privately to Admiral Jellicoe
John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe
Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO was a British Royal Navy admiral who commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in World War I...

 that he could not approve the plan unless 200,000 men were available. Churchill himself, as First Lord of the Admiralty, had initially suggested in September 1914 that the support of 50,000 men would be needed.

An attempt was made commencing 19 February to take the strait using naval power alone. For the large ships to approach and shell the forts, the mines had to be cleared. The mines could not be cleared because of inadequate minesweepers, and the ongoing shell fire from the forts. The plan had been conceived with the idea of only sending second-rate ships which were considered expendable. On 18 March the British and a squadron of French ships mounted a more determined attack, with the result that three were sunk and three disabled by undiscovered mines. There was little effect on the defenders, except to cause them to expend the majority of their ammunition. Churchill ordered admiral John de Robeck
John de Robeck
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Michael de Robeck, 1st Baronet GCB, GCMG, GCVO was an admiral in the British Royal Navy who commanded the Allied naval force in the Dardanelles during World War I....

 to continue the operation, but De Robeck, replacing the intended commander of the fleet, Admiral Sackville Carden
Sackville Carden
Admiral Sir Sackville Hamilton Carden KCMG was a British admiral who, in cooperation with the French Navy, commanded British naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea during World War I.-Early life:...

 (who had become ill) saw no sense in losing further ships, and withdrew. It was then decided that an invasion by troops would be required. Had the bombardment continued it is likely the defending guns would have ceased firing for lack of shells, the minesweepers could have worked effectively and the British ships could have moved in to their objectives.
Hamilton became responsible for organising armed landings. He had no specialised landing craft, the disparate troops he had been given had no training, and supplies for the army had been packed in ways which made them difficult to access for landings. Hamilton believed that the navy would make further attacks during his landings. The navy, realising likely losses and fundamentally opposing the idea that tactical losses of ships was acceptable declined to mount another attack. The Turks had been allowed two months warning from the first serious navy attack to prepare ground defences before the follow-up ground landing could be mounted, and they used the time effectively.

Following the failure of the Dardanelles expedition, Hamilton was recalled to London on 16 October 1915, effectively ending his military career.

Later life

In retirement, Hamilton was a leading figure in the ex-service
Ex-service is a British term which refers to those who have served in the British Empire or Commonwealth Armed Forces. Earlier, the term ex-servicemen or Ex-servicewomen was used, but has been replaced with one having no gender connotations....

men organization, the British Legion holding the position of Scottish President.

Hamilton was also a founding member and vice-president of the Anglo-German Association in 1928 which promoted pro-German sentiment in Britain. Hamilton remained with the Association after Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's rise to power and described himself as "an admirer of the great Adolph [sic] Hitler", dismissing Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

as a youthful excess.

Hamilton also expressed anti-Semitic sentiments and supported a proposed ban by the Association on Jewish members—the ban was not implemented, instead the Association dissolved on 2 April 1935 in light of the worsening situation in Germany.

A statue of the then Lt.-Gen Hamilton still stands on the Boer War memorial in Cheltenham.

Selected works

Hamilton's's published writings encompass 83 works in 168 publications in 8 languages and 2,998 library holdings.

External links

(Hamilton's Gallipoli war diaries)

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