Collection HAMILTON, ISM - HAMILTON, Gen Sir Ian Standish Monteith (1853-1947)

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Key Information

Reference code



HAMILTON, Gen Sir Ian Standish Monteith (1853-1947)


  • 1814-2015 (Creation)

Level of description



320 boxes or 3.2 cubic metres

Scope and content

Papers, 1814-2015, relating to Hamilton's life, military career and activities. The collection specifically includes correspondence, 1852-1899; diaries and notebooks, 1870-1899; printed correspondence and speeches of FM Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Waterford and Pretoria, 1878-1893; diaries kept during the siege of Ladysmith, South Africa, 1899-1900; personal and official correspondence during the Second Boer War, 1899-1902, including Hamilton's letters to FM Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Waterford and Pretoria, 1901-1902, and operational correspondence of 10 Div and Hamilton's Force, 1900; Hamilton's diaries of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 and related correspondence, 1902-1905; publications of the Royal Commissions on the war in South Africa and on the Militia and Volunteers, 1903-1904; correspondence as General Officer Commanding Southern Command, 1905-1909, and related official papers; correspondence as General Officer Commanding Mediterranean Command and Inspector General of Overseas Forces, 1910-1914, including papers relating to compulsory and voluntary military service, official reports on overseas forces, and correspondence relating to Hamilton's tours of the West Indies, South Africa, the Far East, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; correspondence as Commander-in-Chief Central Force, Home Defence, 1914-1915; papers as General Officer Commanding Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on Gallipoli, 1915, including correspondence with FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, and the War Office, Rt Hon Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill MP, Lt Gen Sir John Grenfell Maxwell and Lt Gen Sir William Riddell Birdwood; papers relating to Ellis Ashmead Bartlett and Keith Arthur Murdoch, war correspondents on Gallipoli; papers relating to operations at Suvla Bay and Sari Bair, Aug-Sep 1915, and to the efficiency of commanding officers; papers relating to Hamilton's despatches from Gallipoli, and to recommendations for decorations; official despatches, 1914-1919; force orders, intelligence bulletins and other papers of General Headquarters, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force; papers relating to Hamilton's Gallipoli diary; maps and official photographs of the Gallipoli Campaign; depositions of witnesses given to the Dardanelles Commission, with related correspondence, 1916-1919; correspondence with the War Office, 1917-1938; correspondence as Colonel of the Gordon Highlanders, 1912-1949; correspondence relating to ex-servicemen, the British Legion, and to war memorials, 1916-1949; correspondence and papers as Lord Rector of Edinburgh University, 1932-1936; correspondence with major military, political and literary acquaintances, including Rt Hon Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill MP, Rt Hon Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane of Cloan, Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, John Masefield, FM Sir William Robert Robertson, and senior officers associated with the Gallipoli Campaign, 1916-1949; correspondence relating to the Anglo-German Association and to Anglo-German relations, 1928-1947; correspondence with members of the public and relatives, 1908-1948; business and financial correspondence, 1913-1947; correspondence relating to Hamilton's estate and his literary executors, 1948-1969; papers relating to Hamilton's publications, 1872-1948; speeches, articles and letters to the press, 1918-1947; scrapbooks and press cuttings, 1883-1971; photographs, 1855-1947; publications and other printed material, 1814-1966; diaries, correspondence and publications of Hamilton's wife, Jean Miller Hamilton, Lady Hamilton, 1869-1940; correspondence of Eleanor Charlotte Sellar, 1896-1934, including correspondence with Hamilton, FM Sir George Stuart White and FM Sir Neville Bowles Chamberlain.

System of arrangement

The papers are arranged in discrete chronological sections broadly corresponding to the above.

General Information

Name of creator


Biographical history

Born in 1853; educated at Cheam, Wellington College and Royal Military College, Sandhurst; commissioned into 12th (East Suffolk) Foot, 1872; served in Ireland, 1872-1873; transferred to 92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regt, 1873; regimental service in India, Afghanistan and South Africa, 1873-1881, including active service in Second Afghan War, 1878-1880, and First Boer War, 1881(severely wounded, Battle of Majuba Hill, 1881); aide-de-camp to Gen Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Bt, as Commander-in-Chief Madras, 1882-1884, and Commander-in-Chief East Indies, 1886-1890 (including Burma Expedition, 1886-1887); served with 1 Bn Gordon Highlanders during First Sudan Expedition, 1884-1885; Assistant Adjutant General for Musketry in Bengal, India, 1890-1893; Military Secretary to Gen Sir George Stuart White, Commander-in-Chief East Indies, 1893-1895; Assistant Adjutant General and Assistant Quarter Master General, Chitral Relief Force, North West Frontier, 1895; Deputy Quarter Master General in India, 1895-1898; Officer commanding 1 Bde and 3 Bde, Tirah Expeditionary Force, North West Frontier, 1897-1898; Commandant, School of Musketry, Hythe, Kent, 1898-1899; Assistant Adjutant General and Chief of Staff, Natal Field Force, 1899, and Maj Gen commanding 7 Bde, Second Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1900; Lt Gen, commanding Mounted Infantry Div, Second Boer War, South Africa, 1900-1901; Military Secretary, War Office, 1901; Chief of Staff to Gen Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Baron Kitchener of Khartoum and Aspall,Commander-in-Chief, South Africa, Second Boer War, 1901-1902; Military Secretary, War Office, 1902-1903; Quarter Master General to the Forces, 1903-1904; Military representative of India attached to 1 Japanese Army, Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905; General Officer Commanding Southern Command, 1905-1909; Adjutant General to the Forces, 1909-1910; General Officer Commanding Mediterranean Command, and Inspector General of Overseas Forces, 1910-1914; Commander-in-Chief Central Force, Home Defence, 1914-1915, World War One; General Officer Commanding Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 1915, World War One; Lieutenant of the Tower of London, 1918-1920; retired from the Army, 1920; Colonel of the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, 1904-1914; Colonel of the Gordon Highlanders, 1914-1939; Lord Rector of Edinburgh University, 1933-1936; President, 1922-1935, and Patron, 1935-1947, of the Metropolitan Area British Legion; President of the British Legion in Scotland, 1935-1947; President of the South African War Veterans' Association, 1932-1947; died 1947.


  • A jaunt in a junk (Kegan Paul, Trench and Co, London, 1884);
  • The fighting of the future (Kegan Paul, Trench and Co, London, 1885);
  • Icarus (Vizetelly's one volume novels, Vol 18, 1886);
  • The ballad of Hádji and other poems (Kegan Paul, Trench and Co, London, 1887);
  • A staff officer's scrap-book during the Russo-Japanese War (Edward Arnold, London, 2 vols, 1905 & 1907; 2nd ed 1912);
  • A military and medical view of the temperance question (Malta Chronicle, Valetta, 1910);
  • Compulsory service, a study of the question in the light of experience (John Murray, London, 1910, 1911);
  • National life and national training Birmingham and Midlands Institute Presidential Address (Birmingham, 1912);
  • Sir Ian Hamilton's despatches from the Dardanelles (George Newnes, London, 1916, 1917);
  • The millennium? (Edward Arnold, London, 1919);
  • Gallipoli diary (Edward Arnold, London, 1920, reprinted 1930);
  • The soul and body of an army (Edward Arnold and Co, London, 1921, reprinted 1991);
  • The friends of England, lectures to members of the British Legion (G Allen Unwin, London, 1923);
  • Now and then (Methuen and Co, London, 1926);
  • Belted Galloways (Vinton and Co, London, 1930);
  • _Anti-commando, an account of Sir Aubrey Woolls-Sampson's part in the South African War, 1899-1902 _by Victor Sampson and Hamilton (Faber and Faber, London, 1931);
  • When I was a boy (Faber and Faber, London, 1939);
  • Jean, a memoir on Jean, Lady Hamilton (privately printed, London, 1941; Faber and Faber, London, 1942);
  • Listening for the drums (Faber and Faber, London, 1944);
  • The commander edited by Maj Anthony Farrar-Hockley (Hollis and Carter, London, 1957).

Hamilton also contributed prefaces and introductions to the following publications:-

  • War songs by Christopher Reynolds Stone (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1908);
  • The Lancashire fighting territorials in Gallipoli by George Bigwood (George Newnes, London, 1916);
  • The Anzac book, written and illustrated in Gallipoli by the men of Anzac edited by Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean (Cassell, London, 1916);
  • The memoirs of Sir Andrew Melvill edited by Torick Ameer-Ali (John Lane: London, New York, 1918);
  • The New Zealanders at Gallipoli by Maj Fred Waite (Whitcombe and Tombs, Auckland, 1919);
  • Noel Ross and his work by Mr and Mrs Malcom Ross (Edward Arnold, London, 1919);
  • The 42nd (East Lancashire) Division by Frederick P Gibbon (Country Life, London, 1920);
  • The making of Wellington College by Joseph L Bevir (Edward Arnold, London, 1920);
  • Notes on the Dardanelles campaign of 1915 by Maj Sherman Miles (Reprinted from
  • The Coast Artillery Journal, Dec 1924);
  • Gallipoli today by T J Pemberton (Ernest Benn, London, 1926);
  • Memories of four fronts by Lt Gen Sir William Raine Marshall (Ernest Benn, London, 1925);
  • History of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) (Gale and Polden, Aldershot, 1928);
  • Searchlights, sonnets and other verse by Eva Mungall (Alexander Gardner, Paisley, 1929);
  • Thoughts of a soldier by Gen Hans von Seeckt (Ernest Benn, London, 1930);
  • The Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion, 1741-1919 by John William Burrows (J H Burrows, Southend-on-Sea, 1931);
  • The cross of Carl by Walter Owen (Grant Richards, London, 1931);
  • The tragedy of the Dardanelles by Edward Delage (John Lane, London, 1932);
  • The Scottish national war memorial by Francis C Inglis (Grant and Murray, Edinburgh, 1932);
  • Gallipoli revisited by William Edward Stanton Hope (Stanton Hope, London, 1934);
  • High command in the world war by Capt William Dilworth Puleston, US Navy, (Scribners, London, 1934);
  • High treason by Col Victor K Kaledin (Hurst and Blackett, London, 1936);
  • Letters from Helles by Col Sir Henry Clayton Darlington (Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1936);
  • The Liao-Yang campaign by Lt Col Alfred Higgins Burne (William Clowes, London, 1936).

Custodial history

The papers were placed in the Centre in several deposits by Hamilton's literary executors,1968-1976. Hamilton's account of the battle of Majuba Hill (letter to Maj Gen Martin Andrew Dillon, 28 Oct 1881, Hamilton 1/2/7/1) was presented to the Centre by the Library of the Ministry of Defence, London, in 1976. Rosaleen James' memoir (written as Roisin Ni Mheara) was donated by her family in 2016.

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied from open material for research purposes only.

Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, via the Archives.

Language of material

  • English
  • French
  • German

Script of material

Language and script notes

Mainly English, some French and German.

Finding aids

This collection level description and detailed catalogue.

Existence and location of originals

The Foyle Special Collections library at King's College Library holds a collection of just over 300 books from the Hamilton personal library which has been catalogued.

Related materials

The papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart include correspondence with Hamilton 1921-1942 (ref: LH 1/351), and notes by Liddell Hart on his discussions with Hamilton, 1931-1932 (ref LH 11/1931/24, LH 11/1932/48); the papers of FM Sir William Robert Robertson, 1st Bt, include correspondence between Robertson and Hamilton, 1916-1919, regarding Hamilton's re-employment following his recall from the command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Oct 1915 (ref: Robertson 5/2, 8/4 and 8/5); the papers of Gen Sir Alexander John Godley include letters to Godley and Louisa Marion Godley, Lady Godley, from Hamilton, 1913-1932, notably on Hamilton's official tour of Canada in 1913, his departure from command in Gallipoli, and views on the conclusions of the Dardanelles Commission (ref: Godley: 3/115-142); the papers of Maj John Francis Allen North, historian, include correspondence with Hamilton, 1934-1941, mainly relating to North's Gallipoli (Faber and Faber, London, 1936), (ref: North); the papers of Maj Gen Sir Frederick Barton Maurice include a letter from Hamilton, Jun 1922, regarding the assassination of FM Sir Henry Hughes Wilson (ref: Maurice 3/5/128).

The National Archives holds reports and correspondence by Hamilton during the Second Boer War (ref: CAB 37/59/124; PRO 30/57/20; WO 105/16), reports relating to the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 (PRO 30/57/37; WO 32/7560; WO 32/9031), and correspondence with FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, during the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915 (PRO 30/57/61-64); The British Library, Department Of Manuscript Collections, London, holds correspondence between Hamilton and AF Roger John Brownlow Keyes, 1st Baron Keyes of Zeebrugge and Dover, 1925-1929; The Bodleian Library, Oxford University holds correspondence between Hamilton and Rt Hon Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford (ref: MSS Asquith), and correspondence between Hamilton and Rt Hon Lewis Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt, 1911 (ref: MSS Harcourt); The Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge University, holds correspondence between Hamilton and Rt Hon Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill MP (ref: CHAR), and between Hamilton and AF Sir John Michael de Robeck, 1915-1920 (ref: DRBK); Trinity College Library, Cambridge University, holds letters from Hamilton to Sir Henry Babington Smith, 1896-1910 (ref: HBS71); The House of Lords Record Office, London, holds correspondence between Hamilton and John St Loe Strachey, owner and editor of The Spectator,1909-1915 (ref: Strachey papers); The Imperial War Museum, London, holds the original instructions of Mar 1915, in Lord Kitchener's hand, given by him to Hamilton for commanding the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Dardanelles, and a letter from Hamilton, Mar 1918, concerning the German offensive in France, in the papers of Lovat Fraser, a journalist on The Times (ref: Misc N3), three letters from Hamilton to FM John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl French of Ypres, 1915-1919 (French papers, ref: 75/46/14), and correspondence between Hamilton and Gen Sir Archibald (James) Murray concerning operations in Egypt 1916-1917 (Murray papers ref: 79/48/4, B7); The National Army Museum, London, holds 16 letters from Hamilton to (Henry) Spenser Wilkinson, journalist and military historian, 1898-1931 (Wilkinson papers, ref: 9011-42); The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, holds correspondence between Hamilton and Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane of Cloan, 1907-1935 (Haldane papers, ref: MSS 5908-6109), and between Hamilton and William Will, journalist, 1919-1945 (ref; Acc 7534); Sheffield Archives, Sheffield hold letters by Hamilton relating to the West Yorkshire Regt (The Prince of Wales's Own), 1921-1923; The Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, Contemporary Medical Archives Centre, London, holds a report by Hamilton on Japanese medical arrangements, Russo-Japanese War, 1904 (ref: Royal Army Medical Corps).

Related descriptions

Publication note

Related publications

  • Ian Hamilton's march by Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (Longmans and Co, London, 1900), relates to Churchill's progress with Hamilton's Mounted Column from Winburg-Pretoria, South Africa, Second Boer War, May-Jun 1900;
  • The problem of the army by Leopold Stennett Amery (Edward Arnold, London, 1903), contains an appendix by Hamilton on the tactical lessons of the Second Boer War;
  • The Russo-Japanese War, reports of British officers attached to the Japanese and Russian forces in the field (HMSO, London, 1908), contains reports by Hamilton on operations of 1 Japanese Army;
  • Fallacies and facts, an answer to 'Compulsory service' by FM Sir Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts of Kandahar, Waterford and Pretoria (John Murray, London, 1911), comprises Roberts' riposte to Hamilton's advocacy of voluntary military service;
  • The Dardanelles, an epic told in pictures (Alfieri Picture Service, London, 1916), contains description based on Hamilton's despatches from Gallipoli;
  • The John Keats memorial volume (John Lane, London and New York, 1921), contains a chapter by Hamilton critical of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles;
  • Things that happened by Vereker Monteith Hamilton (Edward Arnold, London, 1925), an autobiography by Hamilton's brother, contains numerous references to Hamilton;
  • The post Victorians (Ivor Nicholson and Watson, London, 1933), contains a chapter by Hamilton on FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome;
  • The happy warrior, a life of Gen Sir Ian Hamilton by Ian Bogle Monteith Hamilton (Cassell, London, 1966), is a biography by Hamilton's nephew.

The following publications have made use of Hamilton's papers:-

  • Gallipoli by Robert Rhodes James (T Batsford, London, 1965);
  • The Boer War by Thomas Pakenham (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1979);
  • Defeat at Gallipoli by Nigel Steel and Peter Hart (Macmillan, London, 1994);
  • Gallipoli by Col Michael Hickey (John Murray, London, 1995);
  • _Politicians versus the generals-the South African War _by Keith Surridge (Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, London, 1999);
  • Lord Roberts and the war in South Africa, 1899-1902 by André Wessels (British Army Records Society, 2000);
  • A soldier's life-General Sir Ian Hamilton, 1853-1947 by John Lee (Macmillan, London, 2000).


Compiled Aug 1999

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Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


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