Name: Robert Ainslie Hamilton
Birth: 13 AUG 1894 in Liverpool
Christening: 19 SEP 1894 Liverpool, St Saviour's
Death: 28 MAR 1918 in Killed In Action, Somme
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.
Change Date: 15 AUG 2016 at 19:35:48
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.
Killed - 4
Wounded - 2
Missing - 10
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
Lt -Col Watson was killed while covering
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
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
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
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
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