Meet at Dawn, Unarmed
The Diary of Captain Robert Hamilton
On August 5th 1914, Robert Hamilton left his young family behind in Devon to start a momentous six month journey through France and Belgium with the 1st Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
In his diary, he recorded his experiences on the Front Line which included:
• The famous Christmas Truce in which he played a prominent part
• The humour, comradeship and loyalty of fellow soldiers in the face of constant danger
• The rain, mud and discomforts of life in the trenches
• The daily fight for survival and the constant danger from shelling and sniping
• Life behind the lines- the billets, estaminets and local hospitality
Extracts from his wife Renie’s diary highlight the fears and anxieties of loved ones awaiting news from the Front.
After he left the Western Front in 1915, his diary chronicles the ‘battles’ he fought with Conscientious Objectors and ‘Red Tape’ as Commandant of the Hereford Military Detention Barracks.
Robert’s grandson Andrew Hamilton and Great War enthusiast Alan Reed have complemented the diaries with an informative commentary. They have used a wide range of contemporary evidence, including the cartoons of Robert’s famous friend Bruce Bairnsfather, and a variety of original photographs. They have also recreated important episodes in his life, including a fascinating reconstruction of the Christmas Truce between the Warwicks and the Saxons in No Man’s Land.
Authors: Andrew Hamilton and Alan Reed
Published by: Dene House Publishing, Walton, Warwick CV35 9HX
Phone: 01789 842903 / 07743 696166
Publication date: April 2009
Price: £17.00 incl p&p
Photographs: 113 (Colour: 45, Black and White: 68)
Maps and sketches: 10
Pics from top left, clockwise:
• Pages from the book
• The Antelope Badge of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment - Alan Reed Collection
• Robert Hamilton, promoted to Captain in September 1914, in his Royal Warwickshire Regiment uniform
• Irene (Renie) Hamilton
• Soldiers of the Royal Warwicks about to embark for France in August 1914 - David Vaux
• October 31st: ‘Worked on No.4 platoon trenches’ British soldiers trench digging south of Armentières - Imperial War Museum
• British Cemetery at Méteren where many who fought with Robert Hamilton are buried
• December 8th: ‘Everyone was over their ankles in liquid mud’- Bairnsfather’s take on the situation! - Barbara Bruce Bairnsfather