John Hamilton VC and his wife Mary after his return from the western front
The Highland Light Infantry Association standard was paraded by Association members Jim Devine and Jimmy Urquhart for Victoria Cross commemoration events at Dumbarton on Saturday 23rd September (Assaye Day), and at a service in Cambuslang Parish Church on Tuesday 26th September for 1/9th (Glasgow Highlanders) Bn. Highland Light Infantry Victoria Cross recipient L/Cpl John Hamilton. Commemorative plaques were unveiled on the banks of the river Clyde and river Leven at Dumbarton, and in Cambuslang Parish Church.
Both events were well attended by local dignitaries and veterans organisations, and most importantly, John Hamilton’s grandson Gordon and granddaughters Meryle and Hazel had all made long journeys from around the country to mark this commemoration of their valiant grandfather.
On 25/26 September 1917 north of the Ypres-Menin Road, Belgium. For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the enemy’s attack on the line held by our Brigades. The greatest difficulty was experienced in keeping the front and support lines supplied with ammunition. As it was of vital importance that this should be got forward Lance Corporal Hamilton on several occasions on his own initiative carried bandoliers of ammunition through the enemy’s belts of fire to the front and support line, and then passing along these lines in full view of the enemy’s snipers and machine guns distributed the ammunition. By his splendid example of fearlessness and devotion to duty he inspired all who saw him with fresh confidence and renewed their determination to hold on at all costs.
He later achieved the rank of Sergeant. Between the two World Wars he remained an active reserve and Territorial Army member. At the outbreak of World War II he was in hospital and missed mobilisation, and luckily missed his unit being captured at St Valery in the defence of Dunkirk. He eventually was promoted through the ranks and finished the war as a Colonel in charge of an Italian prisoner of war camp in England. He died at the age of 77. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.