Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton KCB, DSO

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Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton

Birthdate: (67)
Death: 1957 (67)
Immediate Family:

Son of Admiral Sir Frederick Tower Hamilton GCVO KCB and Maria Walpole Hamilton

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About Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton KCB, DSO

Rear Admiral Hamilton, second from left in profile photo, meets King George VI aboard HMS Duke of York at Scapa Flow, August 1943

Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton KCB, DSO (31 December 1890 – 27 June 1957) was a senior Royal Navy officer who was Flag Officer in Malta (1943–1945) and later served as First Naval Member & Chief of Staff of the Royal Australian Navy. During his early career he was generally known as L. H. Keppel Hamilton.

Background and early life

Hamilton was the first of the two sons of Admiral Sir Frederick Hamilton, who was Second Sea Lord during the First World War, by his marriage to Maria Walpole Keppel, a daughter of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Keppel. He grew up at Anmer Hall near King's Lynn in Norfolk. Two of his middle names were in honour of his notable grandfather, Henry Keppel. His paternal grandfather, Captain Henry George Hamilton (1808–1879), was also a Royal Navy officer, while his great grandfather, William Richard Hamilton (1777–1859), was an Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, British Minister to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and an archaeologist.

An uncle, his mother's brother, became Admiral Sir Colin Richard Keppel. His grandfather's two eldest brothers were Augustus Keppel, 5th Earl of Albemarle and George Keppel, 6th Earl of Albemarle.

Naval career

Hamilton joined the Royal Navy in 1908 with the rank of Midshipman. On 30 June 1911, he was promoted Sub-Lieutenant, and on 30 June 1913 Lieutenant.

During the Great War, Hamilton saw actice service in the West Africa Campaign, on the Niger River and in the German colony of Kamerun. He commanded the Niger river flotilla which drove the Germans out of Dehane in December 1914, then led a party from the coast which transported a naval 12-pounder gun taken out of HMS Challenger on an epic journey of 640 miles along the Niger and Benue rivers, then sixty miles overland, to assist Brigadier-General Cunliffe in the taking of Garoua from a German garrison. Garua fell in June 1915. In September 1915 he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order "for his services in the operations in the Cameroons" and was also awarded the Order of Saint Stanislaus of Russia, 3rd class.

He saw active service again in the Second World War, including taking part in the Allied reactions to the German invasion of Norway in 1940 (as commander of HMS Aurora), for which he was awarded the Norwegian War Cross, and the protection of Arctic convoys. In 1942, he was a Rear Admiral commanding the First Cruiser Squadron (CS1), which consisted of the British cruisers HMS London and Norfolk, the American cruisers USS Wichita and Tuscaloosa, and four destroyers. In that role, he was one of the senior officers of the disastrous Convoy PQ 17.

Between 1943 and 1945, Hamilton was Flag Officer in Malta, and while there was knighted by being appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. After the War, he served as Chief Naval Advisor to the Government of Australia and was First Naval Member & Chief of Staff of the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board, effectively head of the Royal Australian Navy, from 1945 to 1948.

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Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton KCB, DSO's Timeline

Age 67