b. 20/08/1863 Brighton, Sussex. d. 26/09/1915 Loos, France.
Angus Falconer Douglas-Hamilton (1863-1915) was reputedly born in Brighton, Sussex on 20th August 1863. However, in the 1881 Census he and his siblings are listed as being born in India and no trace of his birth is in England and Wales records. The family surname was changed to Douglas-Hamilton in 1875. His father was Major General Octavius Douglas-Hamilton who was commissioned in 1839 in 2nd Bengal European Cavalry. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1841, Captain in 1851, Major in 1858. Lieutenant Colonel 1863 and Colonel in 1870. He retired in 1875 and was granted the honorary rank of Major General. Angus’ mother was Katherine Augusta Westenra nee MacLeod. They had married on 29th June 1852 at Charlton Parish Church, Kent. Angus had six siblings (four brothers and two sisters).
Angus was educated at Foster’s Naval Preparatory School, privately by army tutors and at the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He was commissioned in the Dorsetshire Regiment on 23rd August 1884 and was promoted Lieutenant in the Cameron Highlanders 15th November 1884. He was involved in the latter part of the Sudan Campaign 1885 and was in the Sudan Frontier Field Force 1885-1886. He was promoted to Captain in 1892 and appointed Adjutant 6th Gordon Highlanders from 1894-1899.
Angus married Anna Watson nee Mackenzie on 1st August 1894. His brother Hamilton was the officiating minister at the wedding. Angus and Anna had a daughter, Camilla Beatrice, born on 9th August 1895. Angus’ military career continued with his appointment as Acting DAAG in Gibraltar 1900 and then service with 2nd Cameron Highlanders in Gibraltar, Malta, South Africa, North China and India. Promoted to Major in March 1901, and he retired in August 1912. He was recalled from the Reserve of Officers as Railway Transport Officer in Southampton 5th August 1914. Appointed temporary Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer of the 6th Cameron Highlanders on 1st October 1914 and went to France in July 1915.
On 25th/26th September 1915 during operations on Hill 70 at the Battle of Loos, France, Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas-Hamilton, when the battalions on his right and left had retired, rallied his own battalion again and again and led his men forward four times. The last time he led all that remained, about 50 men, in a most gallant manner, and was killed at their head. It was due to his bravery, and splendid leadership that the line at this point was able to check the enemy's advance.
Douglas-Hamilton’s body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial to the Missing. In 2013, it was reported his remains had been identified, but it proved incorrect. The VC was originally posted to his widow in January 1916, but was later presented formally by King George V at Buckingham Palace on 29th November 1916. She settled in Ord, Forest Hill, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire. She was presented with a bronze statue of a Cameron Highlander by former 1914-18 prisoners of war in appreciation of her work on his behalf.
In addition to his VC, he was awarded the Egypt Medal 1882-1889 with clasp “The Nile 1884-1885”, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19 and Khedive’s Star 1884-1886 (Egypt). The medals were left by his widow to her only daughter for the duration of her lifetime. In April 1965, the medal group and his death plaque were presented to the Queen’s Own Highlanders’ Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QUEENS OWN HIGHLANDERS MUSEUM, FORT GEORGE.
BURIAL PLACE: LOOS MEMORIAL TO THE MISSING, DUD CORNER CEMETERY, LOOS.
Angus Douglas-Hamilton's medals on display at the Queens Own Highlanders Museum, Fort George, Inverness-shire, Scotland.
(Picture courtesy of Thomas Stewart).
Picture - Thomas Stewart
St Andrews Cathedral, Inverness
His medals in updated display in August 2015 (Thomas Stewart)
War Illustrated 30th October 1915