Great War historian Peter Hart assesses the career of General Sir Ian Hamilton, best known for his command during what turned out to be the poisoned chalice of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.
Sometimes an officer is judged only on the final act of their career. This is unfortunate because many military careers end in a failure which leaves little chance for redemption. Such is the case with General Sir Ian Hamilton, a distinguished Scottish soldier who packed an awful lot of active service into a glittering career. He was considered by the Germans – no mean judges of a military commander - as the most experienced general in the world. Then came the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. At a stroke his reputation was destroyed, and he never held a command post again – though he lived an active life until his death some 42 years later - aged 94. But is it fair to denigrate him based on his final professional act?