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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton

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"SIR IAN STANDISH MONTEITH HAMILTON (1853-), British general, was born at Corfu on Jan. 16 1853. He was educated at Wellington College and in Germany, and joined the army in 1872. He served with the 92nd Highlanders in the Afghan War and the Boer War of 1881, and was severely wounded on Majuba Hill, one arm being permanently disabled. He was then for several years intermittently on the staff of Sir F. (Lord) Roberts. He served in the Nile Expedition of 1884-5, for which he was promoted brevet major, and in Burma in 1886-7, for which he was promoted brevet lieutenant-colonel. In 1887 he married Jean, daughter of Sir John Muir, Bart. Promoted colonel in 1891, he was on the staff of the Chitral Relief Force in 1895, for his services in which he received the C.B., and he then became deputy quartermaster-general in India. He commanded a brigade on the North-West Frontier in 1897, and was afterwards commandant of the school of musketry, Hythe, for a year. On the outbreak of the South African War in 1899 he went to Natal on the staff. He commanded a brigade at the early engagements around Ladysmith and during its siege, and was promoted major-general; after its relief he commanded a mounted infantry division during Lord Roberts' advance from Bloemfontein to Pretoria and into the eastern Transvaal, for which he was made a K.C.B. He returned home early in 1901 to become military secretary at the War Office, but towards the end of the year went back to South Africa nominally as chief of the staff to Lord Kitchener, although in reality he was employed chiefly as the commander-in chief's deputy to control particular groups of operations from time to time during the closing stages of the struggle. He was promoted lieutenantgeneral for his services.

He was afterwards again military secretary and then quartermaster-general at the War Office, and in 1904 he went out to the Far East to accompany the Japanese armies in the field. His diary and impressions of the Manchurian campaigns he published under the title A Staff Officer's Scrap Book (2 vols., 1906-7), a book which by reason of the interest of its subject, the charm of the author's style, and the combination of war experience and of imagination which inspired his judgments and criticisms, at once took rank in Europe as a modern military classic. On his return he had charge of the Southern Command until 1909, being promoted general in 1907, and he was afterwards adjutantgeneral at the War Office for a year. He took a prominent part on behalf of the voluntary service system during the early years of the Territorial Force and the campaign in favour of compulsory service led by Lord Roberts, and in the course of this controversy he published a book under the title Compulsory Service (1910), which he wrote at the request of Lord Haldane. In 1910 he was created G.C.B., and appointed commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean and inspector-general of the Overseas Forces, in which capacity he visited and inspected the newly organized forces of the Australian Commonwealth in 1913. On the outbreak of war in 1914 he served for some months as commanderin-chief of the Home Defence Army in England. Then, in March 1915, he was selected to take charge of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, which was intended to cooperate in opening a way into the Black Sea (see Dardanelles Campaign). The naval effort to force the Dardanelles having failed, he found himself obliged to undertake operations in the Gallipoli Peninsula, and although his army was very ill-equipped for the task, he succeeded in landing it in the face of the enemy; but in spite of this good beginning he was speedily brought to a standstill. Having, after considerable delay, received substantial reenforcements, he made a great effort in Aug. to improve his position, but the operations failed to accomplish what was intended, and a situation of stalemate arose. The Government consulted him in Oct. as to the expediency and feasibility of withdrawing from the peninsula, and on his pronouncing himself strongly opposed to such a policy he was replaced by Sir C. Monro and returned home. He was given the G.C.M.G. for his services. He was appointed lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1919, but retired from the army at the end of the year.

In 1920, after the issue of the report of the Dardanelles Commission, he published his own story of the campaign under the title of Gallipoli Diary (2 vols., 1920).

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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