Private William Claud Hamilton


William Claud Hamilton was born on 4 April 1889 at Woodbrook, Gortin, County Tyrone, the first of eight children of farmer Claud Hamilton and his wife Catherine (nee Fulton). By 1911 he was living on the family farm at Woodbrook with his parents and five surviving siblings.

Hamilton enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 16 and 20 December 1912 (No.770). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

In June 1916 C Squadron joined with F Squadron and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons Service Squadron to form the 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment, serving as corps cavalry to X Corps until September 1917, when the regiment was disbanded and most of its men were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Hamilton was transferred on 20 September, when he was issued a new regimental number – 41463 – and posted to B Company, No.5 Platoon.

Hamilton probably saw action with the 9th Battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917. He was one of the many posted as missing following the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 27 March 1918. In fact he had been captured, but his family did not hear of his fate until the following August, when they received a letter stating that he was a prisoner of war and being held in Friedrichsfeld Camp in Germany.

Hamilton was released after the Armistice. His name was included in a list of those who had returned home, in the Belfast News-Letter of 9 January 1919.