Born at Kittymuir Farm Stonehouse on 30-10-1892, and at the age of 16 in 1909 he sailed for New Zealand to work. After a few years in New Zealand he then sailed to Australia , working as a ranch hand at Uranas NSW.
On the outbreak of war he intended to return to Scotland and join up however the elite Australian Light Horse (Mounted Infantry) were recruiting locally and at 5/- per day, less 1/- per day (paid at end of service) he decided to join up in Australia on 14th September 1914, better getting shot at for 5/- a day as opposed to the British 1/- per day. Robert proved that he had the riding and shooting ability to join this elite group. After a few weeks training the regiment sailed from Sydney on HMAT Star of Victoria (A16) on 19th October for Egypt with stops for coal and supplies at Albany SW Australia and Colombo Ceylon, they disembarked in Egypt on 8-12-1914 for the defence of Suez . The regiment was next deployed on HMAT Caledonian to Alexandria for Gallipoli without their horses, at Gallipoli they landed at 6.00am on the 12thMay 1915 at ANZAC Cove, there they mounted a defensive role for most of campaign .On 7thAugust some 2001st Light Horse men launched an attack on the Turkish position known as the Chessboard, 147 of them became casualties. The Regiment left Gallipoli 21st December1915 for Egypt. Back in Egypt the Regiment joined the ANZAC Mounted Division and was deployed to protect the Nile Valley from the pro Turkish Senussi Arabs. On 14th May 1916 they were tasked with defending the Suez Canal, the1st light Horse Brigade played a significant role against the Turks at the Battle of Romani 4th August. They then joined the Allied advance across the Siani in November and were involved in the Battle of Maghdaba December 1916 and the Battle of Rafa January 1917 the next major Battle was the abortive second Battle of Gaza in April. Some 18 miles North East of Beersheba in the battle at Tel el Khuweilfeh on3rd November Sergeant Robert Hamilton was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field , his citation reads,
On 3rd November 1917 at Tel el Khuweilfeh this NCO took forward a Hotchkiss gun detachment to a forward flank position and considerably helped to keep down the enemy’s fire, and carried in a wounded man under very heavy fire. His coolness and bravery set a fine example to his men all day
Recommended by Lt Col Granville
2 weeks after this award Robert was wounded with a Gun shot wound to the neck. ( not evacuated , A&NZ casualty list No 10 )
After the collapse of Turkish position in Southern Palestine the regiment moved on Jaffa and then on to clear and occupy the West Bank of the Jordan River ,then the Raids on Amman 24-27 February 1918 and Es Salt 30 April – 4 May and the repulse of major German and Turkish attacks on14thJuly. The Regiment then fought on, east of the Jordan Turkey surrendered on 30 October and the first Light Horse sailed for Australia on the 12 March 1919. Robert had embarked on HT Bermudian at Port Said, and disembarked at Southampton on19-12 -1918 for the leave, he was discharged on 15-3-1919 in London with the rank of Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant and overseas service of 4years 187 days.
He returned home to Stonehouse and married Annie Naismith (grandaughter of Robert Naismith author of Stonehouse Historical and Traditional) of Cross View, they set up home in Hamilton Ferme at the Cross and had seven of a family Minnie, (my mother) Robert, William, James, Ian, Douglas, Evelyn and Norman.
Robert along with his brother in law James Watson of Thorndale, Manse Road set up a bus company The Admiral, running Lancier’s from Strathaven to Cathedral Street in Glasgow they eventually gave up the service due to the practise still used today of competitors running buses a few minutes in front of them
Robert then took on High Lannrig Farm. For a few years. When the Council house were built in Newfield Road Robert moved into number 4.
He bred Greyhounds, and had kennels down at the oilworks under the viaduct, he had prolific winner in a dog named Avonhope ( known as the rent payer ) he also started working for Sam Park of Lesmahagow, as Racing Manager / Handicapper at Larkhall Greyhound Stadium 1936 – 1964 when it closed down
At the outbreak of WW2 Robert was Section Commander of the Local Defence Force, No 5 Coy No 22 Platoon Section 1
Names of platoon members taken from his diary 26 August 1940 include
David Brown, Alexander Bambrick, James Cryan, William C S Whitelaw, Henry McFarlane, David Finnie, George Harrison, Archibald Miller, David Miller, James Miller, Walter Mitchell, Henry Speirs, Andrew McLellan, Walter Lang, Thomas Moffat , Hugh Boyle, John Whitelaw, George Spence.
During WW2 Robert’s four eldest enlisted in the armed forces
- L/Cpl W/ 217659 Minnie Hamilton 11- 9- 1942 – 9
Auxiliary Territorial Service Attached 606 (Mixed) Heavy Ant Aircraft Bty Royal Artillery Predictor operator on gun sites, South Coast of England & Newhaven Fort
- Cpl Robert Hamilton 1942 – 19 Royal Artillery Served in India & Burma.
- WO2 James Hamilton 1942 -1947 1 year Royal Engineers 4 years Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers served in India
- Lt Ian Hamilton 1944 – 1948 1stBn Seaforth Highlanders served in India, Java & Malaya
Robert retired in 1964, kept bee’s, went fishing and carried out maintenance on the vehicles of his sons fruit & veg business and did some handicapping for Shawfield Stadium.
Robert died 1970. Information provided by William Mackie, (Grandson)