Lieutenant Bryant Charles Hamilton



Bryant Charles Hamilton was born in North Adelaide, South Australia, on 18 May 1893, son of eminent surgeon and churchman Dr Thomas Kinley Hamilton from Castlecaulfield, County Tyrone, and his wife Ellen Hamilton (formerly Hewgill, nee Patton), from Tandragee, County Armagh. They had come to South Australia in 1880 and married there in 1884.

Hamilton was educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide. In 1915 he was living at Tavistock Square, London, with his mother. On 7 October he enlisted in the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps (No.6659) at Berkhamstead. He applied for a commission in the North Irish Horse on 31 January 1916 and in March was sent to the Cavalry Cadet Squadron at Netheravon.

Hamilton was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant on 28 July 1916 and was posted to the North Irish Horse reserve at Antrim.

In March 1917 he was sent to France, joining the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment in the field at Humbercourt, probably being posted to A Squadron. He remained with the regiment throughout the war, during which it saw action at Passchendaele, Cambrai, the German offensive of March 1918 and the Advance to Victory offensive that brought the war to an end.

Hamilton was promoted to lieutenant on 28 January 1918. He relinquished his commission on 1 April 1920.

After the war he returned to Adelaide. He died at Blackwood, South Australia, on 26 April 1963.

Hamilton's brother Kenneth Tom Hamilton also served in the war, with the 3rd Australian Light Horse. He saw action at Gallipoli, and survived the war.



During his time in the North Irish Horse Hamilton sent home a number of photographs and postcards, some of which are shown below.

The first is identified on the reverse as "Barricade in Holles Street". Holles Street was close to the fighting in Dublin during the Easter Rebellion. These men, of the 2/4 or 2/5 Leicestershire Regiment, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division, are guarding the southern end of the street, facing Merrion Square. The photograph may have been taken by a North Irish Horseman of B Squadron, which was attached to the 59th Division at the time.

Below, the same location today.


Below are two training photographs, the first showing officer cadets at rest and the second, rifle drill or bayonet practice.



The postcard below was taken at Vignacourt in December 1918 or January 1919. It shows the men of 'A' Squadron, North Irish Horse, who were then part of the V Corps (North Irish Horse) Cyclist Regiment. Hamilton has written on the reverse of the postcard:

This is a photo of A Squadron the one I did most of my fighting with. The first officer on my right is Capt Booker, the second is Atkinson. This was taken a few days before I went into Hospital. B.C.H. [Hamilton was hospitalised with pneumonia.]

Hamilton is sitting in the front row, third from the viewer's right. Third from the viewer's left, front row, is Lieutenant Edward Arthur Atkinson, originally a Sergeant in the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles. The officer on the middle is Acting Captain Worship Booker. Sitting between Atkinson and Booker is Warrant Officer Humphrey Boyd, MM.

Other versions of this photograph appear here and here.



I am grateful to Bryant Hamilton's daughter, Anne Magarey and her sisters Frances, Judy and Diana, and also Mark Radford, for kindly agreeing that I reproduce images 1,3,5,6,7 and 8.