Second Lieutenant George Edward Archibald Augustus FitzGeorge Hamilton

Second Lieutenant George  Hamilton
Second Lieutenant George Hamilton

Regiment: First Battalion Grenadier Guards
Date and place of birth:  30 December 1898, London
Date and place of death: 18 May 1918 (aged 19), Warlincourt, France

Second Lieutenant George Hamilton was born in London on 30 December 1898, the heir to a baronetcy and of royal blood on his mother’s side.  The King and Queen stood sponsor at his christening. He died at the age of 19 in May 1918 during the aftermath of the German attack at the River Lys in the Arras and Bapaume area. A Memorial Service was subsequently held at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace in his memory.

Family background

George Hamilton was born on 30 December 1898 in the parish of St George’s London, the only son of Sir Charles Edward Archibald Watkin Hamilton (1876–1939), who was the fifth Baronet of Trebishun, Breconshire and third baronet of Marlborough House, succeeding to these titles in 1915.

His mother was Olga Mary Adelaide FitzGeorge (1878–1928), daughter of Rear Admiral Sir Adolphus Augustus Frederick FitzGeorge KCVO. She was a cousin of Queen Victoria and a grand-daughter of the Duke of Cambridge, a male-line descendant of George III. The christening of George Hamilton was attended by King George V and Queen Adelaide and they stood sponsor to him along with the Duke of Cambridge.

At the 1901 census, George is listed as being present at Rotherhill House, near Stedham, along with a housekeeper and various nurses and other servants. His parents are at 13 Devonshire Place, London with a butler and housemaid. In May 1902, his parents had a daughter who died at birth and later that year his parents were divorced. His mother re-married in 1905 to Mr. Robert Charlton Lane and died in October 1928 (obituary in The Times). In 1906, his father married Algorta Marjory Blanche Child but this marriage again ended in divorce in 1915.

The 1911 Census show George’s grandparents and his uncle Thomas living at Iping House, Midhurst with a retinue of servants. George himself is listed at St Michael’s School at Westgate on Sea near Margate.

From 1912 to 1915, George Hamilton attended Winchester College and the school states that he always intended to enter the Army. He passed to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst early in 1916 and later took his commission.

Military career

George Hamilton was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards as a Second Lieutenant and was sent to France to join his unit in late 1917 or early 1918 about the time of his nineteenth birthday.

The First Battalion of the Grenadier Guards was involved in the first Battle of the Somme in early 1918 following the intense German attacks of Operation Michael on the British Line near St Quentin, Arras and Bapaume. The Germans made some gains but eventually the attack was halted at the end of April.

George Hamilton was killed on 18 May 1918 by a bomb dropped from an aircraft at Warlincourt near Arras and his body was buried at the Warlincourt Haute Cemetery. This cemetery, some 22 kilometres from Arras, was used by field ambulances in May and June 1918. There are 1258 casualties buried here from various phases of the Great War.

The Times of 19 June 1918 notes that a Memorial Service was held for Mr FitzGeorge Hamilton on 18 June at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.

Subsequent family history

In 1924, his father Sir Archibald Hamilton converted to Islam taking the name Abdullah and became a prominent convert to that faith. He was buried in the Brookwood Muslim Cemetery in 1939. The baronetcies passed to his younger brother, Thomas but on the death of Thomas’ son, Edward in 2008 there was no succession and the baronetcies lapsed.

Principal Sources

The picture of George Hamilton is reproduced by kind permission of the Warden and scholars of Winchester College and details of their school contribution to the Great War may be found at http://www.winchestercollegeatwar.com/.

 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project