Louis Keppel Hamilton

  (Redirected from Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton)

Admiral Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton KCB, DSO & Bar (31 December 1890 – 27 June 1957) was a senior Royal Navy officer who was Flag Officer in Malta (1943–45) and later served as First Naval Member and Chief of Staff of the Royal Australian Navy. During his early career he was generally known as L. H. Keppel Hamilton.

Sir Louis Keppel Hamilton
Admirals meet KG VI aboard HMS Duke of York 16-08-1943 IWM A 18577.jpg
Rear Admiral Keppel Hamilton, second from left, meets King George VI aboard HMS Duke of York at Scapa Flow, August 1943
Born(1890-12-31)31 December 1890
St George Hanover Square, London
Died27 June 1957(1957-06-27) (aged 66)
King Edward VII's Hospital, London
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Navy
Years of service1908–1948
Commands heldChief of the Australian Naval Staff (1945–48)
Flag Officer, Malta (1943–45)
1st Cruiser Squadron (1942–43)
Home Fleet Destroyer Flotillas (1941)
HMS Aurora (1940)
HMS Ambuscade (1928–29)
HMS Wild Swan (1927–28)
HMS Wanderer (1927)
HMS Taurus (1917–18)
HMS Moorsom (1915–16)
Battles/warsFirst World War

Second World War

AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order & Bar
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Order of Saint Stanislaus, 3rd Class (Russia)
War Cross (Norway)

Background and early lifeEdit

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.[1] 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.[2]

Naval careerEdit

Hamilton joined the Royal Navy in 1908 with the rank of midshipman. On 30 June 1911, he was promoted sub-lieutenant,[3] and on 30 June 1913 lieutenant.[4]

During the First World War, Hamilton saw active 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.[5][6][7][8] In September 1915 he was awarded 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,[9] 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.[10]

Between 1943 and 1945, Hamilton was Flag Officer, 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.[11]

Hamilton died at King Edward VII's Hospital for Officers on 22 June 1957, when his home address was 64, Pont Street, London. He left an estate valued at £72,095 and probate was granted to Miss Jean Hamilton.[12]


  1. ^ Vivian Stuart, The Beloved Little Admiral: the life and times of Admiral of the Fleet, the Hon. Sir Henry Keppel, G.C.B., O.M., D.C.L., 1809–1904 (R. Hale, 1967), p. 57
  2. ^ w185 at william1.co.uk, accessed 24 October 2010
  3. ^ "No. 28510". The London Gazette. 4 July 1911. p. 4933.
  4. ^ "No. 28733". The London Gazette. 1 July 1913. p. 4641.
  5. ^ "No. 29307". The London Gazette. 24 September 1915. p. 9433.
  6. ^ The Times History of the War (Volume X, 1917), p. 78
  7. ^ Peter Young (ed.), The Marshall Cavendish illustrated encyclopedia of World War I (Volume 4, 1984), p. 1319
  8. ^ Frank Arthur Mumby, David Hannay, The Great World War: a history (Volume 5, 1917), p. 64
  9. ^ "No. 35743". The London Gazette (Supplement). 9 October 1942. p. 4450.
  10. ^ Bernard Schofield, The Russian Convoys (1964)
  11. ^ Ekarestini O'Brien, Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook: Part 8 – Miscellaneous Series (1998), p. 78
  12. ^ Hamilton 1957 at probatesearch.service.gov.uk, accessed 29 August 2015
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Power
Flag Officer, Malta
Succeeded by
Sir Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton
Preceded by
Sir Guy Royle
Chief of the Australian Naval Staff
Succeeded by
Sir John Collins