WW1 TALK: PTE ROBERT HAMILTON – PART 4

Detail from UVF Somme mural East Belfast Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Detail from UVF Somme mural East Belfast Photo: © Michael Fisher

Private Robert Hamilton survived unscathed during the five-months long Battle of the Somme in 1916. But some time afterwards, possibly in 1917, he was ‘stricken with fever’ and was brought back to Britain as an invalid. I notice that in the case of another Fusilier, he was taken to Leeds Infirmary for treatment, but it’s not yet clear where Hamilton would have been sent. He appears to have been allowed to return to Monaghan at some stage and might have been treated in the old Infirmary there.

His obituary in the Northern Standard in May 1918 gives us some more clues as to how he met his end. It tells us he went out again from Ballinode, never to return, on Easter Saturday (March 30th 1918). Three weeks later on April 19th he was listed as being killed in action. He was 26, not 24 as the plaque in Ballinode states. This has become clear as a result of finding a copy of his birth and baptismal record, thanks to Mrs Armstrong in Clabby.

Private Robert Hamilton Photo from Northern Standard obituary May 1918

Private Robert Hamilton Photo from Northern Standard obituary May 1918

Looking at the regimental war diary of the 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and the 2nd North Irish Horse which was amalgamated with them it is apparent that this was the time of the second German offensive on the western front, which had begun a month or so earlier. The Germans were determined to recapture much of the ground that had been held by the Allies and to push the British Army back to the French Coast.

Kemmel Berg 1918 (German archive)

Kemmel Berg 1918 (German archive)

On April 18th the diary records the action at Kemmel Hill, not far from Ypres, where the Germans attempted to recapture this high ground from which the occupiers could observe the surrounding countryside for miles around.

View from Kemmel Hill

View from Kemmel Hill

2am. Moved to Kemmel as composite Battalion with 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly. Heavy casualties, while moving into position, from enemy shelling. Captain Despard wounded and died soon after.

8pm. Relieved by French troops and marched to Siege Camp. 

Sheet 27 NW.

Note 41: Killed in action this day – Captain Charles Beauclerk Despard DSO MC, formerly of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, aged 37, son of William and Mary Despard of ‘Sheelagh’ Malone Park, Belfast, husband of Josephine Despard of The Acacias, Portarlington, Queens County, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 3.

Died of wounds this day – Private John Bales (43229) formerly Notts and Derby Regiment (36090), born and enlisted Nottingham, buried at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, grave II.F.23 (Soldiers Died shows Bales’ date of death as 18 July 1918, the CWGC database as 18 April); Private Edward Morton (28773), born Kilmore, County Cavan, enlisted Armagh, aged 17, son of Mr R Morton of 6 Lonsdale Street, Armagh, buried at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, grave II.F.19; Private Walter Henry Smyth (23793), born Ballinderry, County Antrim, enlisted Newtonards, County Down, residence Ballinderry, aged 21, son of James Smyth of Lakeview House, Ballinderry, Lisburn, County Antrim, buried at Mendinghem Military Cemetery, grave X.A.41.

19 (April 1918) Note 42:

MY NOTE: The following entry is included here under killed in action this day. We will remember them:

Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 140/1 Naming R.Hamilton Photo: Friends of 36th (N.Antrim) website

Tyne Cot Memorial Panel 140/1 Naming R.Hamilton Photo: Friends of 36th (N.Antrim) website

PRIVATE ROBERT HAMILTON (18259), born Clabby, County Fermanagh, enlisted March 1915 at Monaghan, residence Ballinode, County Monaghan, aged 24, son of Mary Hamilton of Kilmore East, Ballinode, Monaghan, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141;

Died of wounds this day – Private Thomas John Ingram Dickson (23697), born Madden, County Armagh, enlisted Lurgan, County Armagh, residence Madden, aged 19, son of David and Rachel Dickson of Drumhillery, Madden, Keady, County Armagh, native of Drumhillery, buried at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, grave I.F.10; Private Joseph Seeley (5978), born Shankill, County Armagh, enlisted Lurgan, County Armagh, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141.

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium Photo: CWGC website

Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium Photo: CWGC website

Killed in action this day – Private Herbert Ruddick Bark (43431) formerly 1/24th London Regiment (721539), born Peckham, SE, Surrey, enlisted Surrey, Kennington, aged 27, son of Edward John Bark, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private John A Bell (41333) formerly North Irish Horse (2245), born Loughbrickland, County Down, enlisted Antrim, residence Newry, County Down, buried at Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, grave V.C.23; Private Joseph Arthur Bowden (41287) formerly North Irish Horse (1965), aged 21, born Cootehill, County Cavan, enlisted Antrim, residence Cootehill, son of Joseph and Lydia S Bowden of Cortober House, Cootehill, County Cavan, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Frederick St George Cooke (41694) formerly North Irish Horse (2182), born Carrigallen, County Leitrim, enlisted Belfast, residence Lisburn, County Antrim, son of the late Francis and Anne Cooke of Gortermone House, Carrigallen, County Leitrim, husband of Jeannie C Cooke of ‘Norton’, 6 Hawthornden Road, Knock, Belfast, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Leonard Walter Crook (45754) formerly Royal West Surrey Regiment (67320), born West Ham, E, Essex, enlisted Stratford, E, Essex, residence West Ham, aged 18, son of Julia Eliza Crook of 82 Gladstone Road, West Ham, London, and the late Henry John Crook, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Allan Davey (41589) formerly North Irish Horse (1312), born Carrickfergus, County Antrim, enlisted Belfast, residence Carrickfergus, aged 30, son of Mr and Mrs W.J Davey of Dunloskin, Carrickfergus, husband of Sarah E Davey of 1 Lancasterian Street, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141;Private William Thomas Elliott (41159) formerly Dragoons of the Line (UD/284), enlisted Enniskillen, residence Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Sergeant Herbert Firth (43469) formerly London Regiment (721651), enlisted Kennington, SE, Surrey, residence Brixton Hill, SW, Surrey, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private James Gillespie (14242), A Company, born and enlisted Armagh, aged 33, son of Thomas and Jane Gillespie of 83 Callan Street, Armagh, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Patrick John Glass (3428), born and enlisted Balleymoney, County Antrim, residence, Hordle, Hants, aged 26, son of Sarah and the late James Glass, husband of Annie May Glass of 8 Council House, Hordle, Lymington, Hants, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William Gribben (20986) formerly Connaught Rangers (4358), born Loughinisland, County Down, enlisted Belfast, residence Clough, County Down, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Arthur Gribbin (23011), born Dromore, County Down, enlisted Belfast, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Arthur James Hall (45745) formerly 24th London Regiment (5615), enlisted Highbury, N, Middlesex, residence Finsbury Park, N, Middlesex, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Robert Hamilton (18259), born Clabby, County Fermanagh, enlisted March 1915 at Monaghan, residence Ballinode, County Monaghan, aged 24, son of Mary Hamilton of Kilmore East, Ballinode, Monaghan, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Henry Harper (21119) formerly Connaught Rangers (2306), enlisted Belfast, residence Hollywood, County Down, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Albert Gordon Keller (25103) formerly Royal Army Service Corps (T/S/3482), born Staveley, Derbyshire, enlisted Liecester, residence Staveley, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Henry Lavery (26841), born Lurgan, County Armagh, enlisted Glasgow, residence Lurgan, aged 32, husband of Analysia Lavery of 31 North Street, Lurgan, County Armagh, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Edward Lawley (40016) formerly West Yorkshire Regiment (33932), born and enlisted Leeds, aged 35, son of Mr and Mrs R Lawley of 12 Armenia Place, Sheepscar, Leeds, husband of Edith Nicholson (formerly Lawley) [sic] of 128 Bayswater Road, Leeds, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William George Leinster (41266) formerly North Irish Horse (1469), born and enlisted Cavan, residence Belfast, aged 26, son of George and Elizabeth Leinster of Drummullen, Farnham, Cavan, husband of Georgina Leinster of 123A Longstone Street, Lisburn, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William Lindsay (41084) formerly Dragoons of the Line/ Inniskilling Dragoons (UD/60), born Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh, enlisted Enniskillen, residence Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, aged 31, son of James and Margaret Lindsay of Raholland, Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Sergeant Ernest Charles Miles (43449) formerly London Regiment (721582), enlisted Kennington, SE, Surrey, residence Feckham, SE, Surrey, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Robert McConnell (41445) formerly North Irish Horse (1859), born Cloughfin, County Antrim, enlisted Antrim, residence Belfast, aged 23, son of Mary McConnell of 11 High Street, Greencastle, Belfast, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Willaim McGahey (41609) formerly Dragoons of the Line (UD/292), enlisted Enniskillen, residence Blacklion, County Cavan, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William McGrane (10752), born Stamullen, County Meath, enlisted Drogheda, County Louth, residence Julianstown, aged 27, son of Denis McGrane of Julianstown, Drogheda, County Meath, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Lance Corporal Randal Edmund McManus (41505) formerly Dragoons of the Line (UD/88), born and enlisted Dungannon, County Tyrone, aged 26, son of Jane McManus of 6 Howard Terrace, Dungannon, County Tyrone, and the late Samuel McManus, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William Nowell (45746) formerly London Regiment (722363), A Company RIF, born and enlisted, Battersea, SW, Surrey, aged 26, son of William and Martha Nowell of 54 Theatre Street, Lavendar Hill, London, husband of Charlotte Ann Nowell of 13 Kassala Road, Battersea Park, London, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Robert Park (41353) formerly North Irish Horse (2325), born Magherafelt, County Londonderry, enlisted Antrim, residence Magherafelt, aged 29, son of John Park JP and Margaret Park of Grange, Magherafelt, County Londonderry, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private William Pilkington (45817), formerly Royal West Surrey Regiment (66613), born and enlisted Camberwell, SE, Surrey, aged 20, son of Mrs Emma Pilkington of 7 Avenue Road, Camberwell, London, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private John James Raynor (43273) formerly Notts and Derby Regiment (22385), born and enlisted Ikeston, Derbyshire, aged 33, son of the late Aaron and Catherine Raynor, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private Clifford Skee (40082) formerly West Yorkshire Regiment (11251), born South Shields, County Durham, enlisted Newcastle-on-Tyne, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141; Private George Soper (45739) formerly London Regiment (722478 [or 5571]), born Southwark, SE, Surrey, enlisted Surrey, aged 26, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Soper of 73 Crampton Street, Newington Butts, London, husband of Elizabeth Soper of 37 Newport Street, Lambeth, London, no known grave, commemorated at Tyne Cot Memorial, Panel 140 to 141.

(to be continued)

Regimental Crest, Royal Irish Fusiliers: Nick Metcalfe website

Regimental Crest, Royal Irish Fusiliers: Nick Metcalfe website

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