The Men from Hyde – Arthur Percival Hamilton

Arthur Percival Hamilton was born in Shoeburyness.  The best guess is that Arthur’s father was serving with the Weapons Development Base that was established there in the mid – 1850s. This was not necessarily a safe place to be brought up – a premature explosion of a 6” shell killed 7 personnel including the Head of the Woolwich Arsenal in 1885. The area is still under military regulations.

Arthur joined the Regular Army before World War I, serving in the Queen’s London Regiment and later, once the war had begun, rising to the rank of Lieutenant- Colonel of the 19th Battalion. He gained the Military Cross, a decoration for bravery only open to officers.

He was killed in the 3rd month of the Somme battle, dying at an advanced dressing station established in Flatiron Copse on 15th September. The valley where he died had been known to British troops as Happy Valley as it was out of direct observation from German guns. But by late August the name had changed to Death Valley as the Germans had targeted their artillery to fire at map positions known to them from aerial observation.  Arthur died aged 32, was buried in Flatiron Copse Cemetery, near Mametz, on the Somme.

Before the war, he married Kate, of 42 Eaton Square. His brother later became a Wing-Commander and another brother a Church of England minister. He left £10,250 in his will to his sister. The imposing Brendon House in Park Road belonged to his family.

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