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Remembered Today:

General Sir Ian Hamilton


George Armstrong Custer
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Having posted on General Sir Ian Hamilton over the past couple of days in the 'The Anzac Legend' thread, I happened this weekend to be in the area of the final resting place of the man still held by many to be in great part personally responsible for the Gallipoli disaster, and decided to stop to take a couple of pictures. As can be seen, the grave of Hamilton and his wife is now somewhat overgrown and unkempt, with only the shape of the ivy to hint at the stone cross underneath it:

hamilton1.jpg

In the 1944 picture below, the 91-year old Hamilton is seen beside the grave of his wife which he would share two years later. Hamilton is speaking at a ceremony to unveil a memorial to his wife's adopted son, Captain Harry Knight, Scots Guards, who had been KIA in North Africa in 1941.

hamilton3.jpg

A comparison shot shows my youngest son holding a copy of John Lee's 2000 biography of Hamilton, and standing approximately where Hamilton stood 64 years ago. The growth in the tree beside the grave in the intervening years is apparent:

hamilton2.jpg

Although a Scot whose family came from Argyll, Hamilton was actually born in Corfu and his burial place near Doune is connected to his wife's origins. The grave is in the small cemetery off the A64 shortly before the old bridge over the river Teith at Doune in Stirlingshire. Hamilton's wife's family home of Deanston House stands nearby, and is now an old peoples home.

ciao,

GAC

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Seconded. General Sir Henry Horne's grave up in Caithness is also rather neglected.

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I'm afraid I don't have any additional information on the 1944 pic, Tom. It's not of good enough quality to magnify and read the shoulder titles on the honour guard. I'd assumed they might be a local Home Guard unit - neither they nor the chaplain seem in the first flush of youth! 1941 had been a bad year for Hamilton - his wife had died and later the same year came the news of the adopted son's death in North Africa. According to Lee's biography, although Hamilton and his wife Jean adopted Harry and a girl, Rosalind, Hamilton referred to them as 'her' children and seems to have had little to do with their upbringing. I assume that the memorial to Harry was not put up until 1944 due to waiting for confirmation that he was a KIA rather than MIA.

Ian, I didn't know about Horne's grave at Caithness - got any pictures? Strange how rapidly the graves of the Great War generals have been forgotten not just by those interested in military history, but also, apparently, in some cases by their families. I suspect that in Hamilton's case at least, this is due to there being no direct descendants.

Regards,

George

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Regardless of Hamilton's culpability for the Gallipoli disaster, I think it is very sad indeed to see this grave in such an uncared for condition. Does he not have living family or can the local council not be asked to put some of the finance they get from our huge council tax bills to some use and clean it up?

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Ian, I didn't know about Horne's grave at Caithness - got any pictures?

Sadly, no. I was there in June last year. I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo.

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Regardless of Hamilton's culpability for the Gallipoli disaster, I think it is very sad indeed to see this grave in such an uncared for condition. Does he not have living family or can the local council not be asked to put some of the finance they get from our huge council tax bills to some use and clean it up?

Agreed

Ian

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I have a (true) story that may at first blush seem OT but is an interesting comment. A Turkish army was campaigning in what is now called "ex-Jugoslavija", and a senior Turkish general died. As was the custom with high-ranking Turks, (and deer), his body was opened up and his intestines, which would swiftly spoil the corpse,were buried on the spot, and the rest of the remains salted or preserved by some other means and was shipped to Istanbul for a proper burial. (The Turks were often rather ornate in their burial practices, which can offend many austere Muslims.) A small chapel was built on the spot to hold the intestines; such a chapel/tomb is known in Turkish as a tuerbe, or "tomb" (ue = the Umlaut, "u" with two dots.), I think that the same word may be used in Serbo-Croatian. The small chapel was built, and the general's valet offered to remain and tend and protect the chapel and intestines.

Fast forward to about 1980. Tuerbe-Crisis! The valet's family had stayed on the spot for 16 generations, protecting the chapel and the presumably now quite dry intestines, but the present generation of sons basically stated that they wanted to go to university, not spend their life protecting some other family's intestines.

I have not seen this tuerbe, but in 1971 I visited a similar one to the intestines of the Turkish sultan killed on the battlefield of Kosovo Polje on June 26, 1389 (Vidovdan); he was killed in treachery by a Serb officer negotiating about prisoners, etc. after the battle. Amazingly, it seems that this tuerba survived the recent unpleasantries in Kosovo.

Where is Hamilton's valet, or his sons?

Bob Lembke

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GAC,

Very many thanks for posting these pictures

Your thread has prompted me to go back to my own copy of John Lee's biography and to re-read the Postscript;

as good a summing-up on ISMH as you will find anywhere

The impression which I have previously drawn from the 1944 photograph

is that the plaque to his adopted son was awaiting its unveiling behind the Union Flag on the wall

Is it still there?

Or was I mistaken, and is the plaque to be found elsewhere?

Best regards

Michael

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