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  • ID: I7606
  • Name: Robert Ainslie Hamilton
  • Prefix: Lieutenant
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 13 AUG 1894 in Liverpool
  • Christening: 19 SEP 1894 Liverpool, St Saviour's
  • Death: 28 MAR 1918 in Killed In Action, Somme
  • Note:
    Robert Ainslie Hamilton entered School House at Oundle in January 1909, was there during the census of 1911 aged 16, and left in July 1912.

    In World War One, he became a Second Lieutenant on the 26th July 1915 in the Army Service Corps.

    By 1918 he was a Lieutenant and was attached to the 5th Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. From 1915 to the beginning of 1918 the battalion was part of the 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division which was involved in the defence against the first Phosgene attack (19 December 1915), the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and the Battle of Poelcapelle during the Third Battles of Ypres in 1917.

    On 2 February 1918 the battalion was transferred to 187th Brigade in the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division, which was involved in The Battle of Bapaume (25 March) and The First Battle of Arras 1918 (28 March) which were the First Battles of the Somme 1918 in the German 'Spring Offensive'. Below is the Battalion War Diary for that period:
    Unit War Diary of 5th Battn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI):

    Arras 23rd MAR 1918 - The Batn moved to ARRAS. Billeted in the Communal College.

    24th Mar 1918 - Battn moved into a position of readiness prior to German ATTACK in front of ARRAS.

    ARRAS 25th Mar 1918 - Battn moved by forced march to BUCQUOY to take part and operate to hold up GERMAN advance.

    BUCQUOY- 26th Mar 1918 - Took up position in BUCQUOY-PUISIEUX line awaiting German advance.

    27th Mar 1918 - German attack driven in right flank of 62nd Division near ROSSIGNOL WOOD.
    B and C companies move into Brigade reserve on right flank and counter
    with tanks driving the enemy back to ROSSIGNOL WOOD. A & D Companies move to
    right flank in readinesss for counter attack on the 28th.

    ROSSIGNOL WOOD 28th Mar 1918 - Counter attack launched at 5.30am in ROSSIGNOL WOOD. A, B & C coys push well forward and regai objectives (being our original front line).
    D Coy held in reserve. Later A, B & C coys are cut off by enemy and are
    missing. The Commanding Officer (Lieut Colonel O. C. Watson D.S.O.) killed
    during this counter attack. Majot T. Shearman assumed command.
    29,30,31 Mar 1918 - Battn HQ personnel move up to and occupy trench, S.W. of ROSSIGNOL WOOD on defensive flank.
    Remnants of D coy join Battn HQ.

    Total Casualties:
    Killed - 4
    Wounded - 2
    Missing - 10

    Other Ranks
    Killed - 28
    Wounded - 80
    Missing - 268

    Lieut Colonel O. C. Watson was to be awarded the Victoria Cross as follows:
    "Maj (A /Lt -Col ) Oliver Cyril Spencer
    Watson. D S O (R of O ), late K O Yorks
    For most conspicuous bravery, self-sacrificing
    devotion to duty, and exceptionally
    gallant leading during a critical period of
    His command was at a point where continual
    attacks were made by the enemy in
    order to pierce the line, and an intricate
    system of old trenches in front, coupled with
    the fact that his position was under constant
    rifle and machine-gun fire, rendered the
    situation still more dangerous.
    A counter-attack had been made against
    the enemy position, which at first achieved
    its object, but as they were holding out in
    two improvised strong points, Lt-Col Watson
    saw that immediate action was necessary
    and he led his remaining small reserve to the
    attack, organising bombing parties and leading
    attacks under intense rifle and machine-gun
    Outnumbered, he finally ordered his men
    to retire, remaining, himself in a communication
    trench to cover the retirement, though
    he faced almost certain death by so doing.
    The assault he led was at a critical
    moment, and without doubt saved the line.
    Both in the assault and in covering his men's
    retirement, he held his life as nothing, and
    his splendid bravery inspired all troops in
    the vicinity to rise to the occasion and save
    a breach being made in a hardly tried and
    attenuated line.
    Lt -Col Watson was killed while covering
    the withdrawal."

    Robert Ainslie Hamilton was one of the other officers killed in action.

    His Commanding Officer wrote: "He was killed on the night of March 27, 1918. The enemy had filtered through in a weak part of our line, and your son took a platoon out to bomb them back. In this he was successful, but was killed by an enemy machine gun... He was always cheerful and set a fine example to all ranks."

    He is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial (Panel 95) in the Somme, France along with over 14,000 other casualties who have no known grave.

    HAMILTON Robert Ainslie of 52 Rodney street, Liverpool; lieutenant A.S.C. died 28 March 1918 in France. Administration London 12 March to Caroline Emily Hamilton,
    spinster, and William Langstaff Ainslie solicitor.
    Effects 2618 14s. 10d. Former Grant Liverpool
    July 1918.

    Oundle Memorial book of the Great War

    Common Wealth War Grave Commission:
    Regiment/Service: Army Service Corps, attd. 5th Bn. King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
    Panel Reference: Panel 95.
    Memorial: POZIERES MEMORIAL, Somme, France
    Additional Information: Son of the late Robert J. Hamilton, F.R.C.S.E., of Rodney St., Liverpool,%20ROBERT%20AINSLIE

    Movements of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

    War Diary of 1/5 Battalion King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
    Ref: WO 95/3091/2 , National Archives, Kew
    Date: 1918 Feb. - 1919 Feb.

    Photo of Robert Ainslie Hamilton from the Oundle memorial book


    1901 census

    Notes on Operations 21st March - 5th April 1918, T. Shearman, Major 5th Battn, K.O.Y.L.I.King?s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

    Trench Map showing Rossignol Wood (Trenches as of 1916)

    War Diary of 25th - 31st March 1918 of KOYLI Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

    War Diary of March 1918 showing casualties of KOYLI Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

    Victoria Cross Citation of the commanding officer Lieut-Col O.C.R. Watson

    Biography of Robert Ainslie Hamilton

  • Change Date: 15 AUG 2016 at 19:35:48

    Father: Robert Jessop Hamilton b: 26 MAY 1859 in Liverpool c: 13 SEP 1859 in Liverpool, St Bride
    Mother: Lylia Sophia Ainslie b: 1861 in Ulverston, Lancashire
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