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Arthur Hamilton - killed on his first sortie on the day known as the 'slaughter of the innocents'

Arthur Charles Hamilton, of North Harrow, Middlesex, was born in July 1911 and employed as a Stockbrokers Clerk.

He joined the RAF in March 1940 and was commissioned as a direct-entry Air Gunner.

With his training completed, he joined 141 Squadron at Turnhouse in May. The squadron moved south to West Malling on 12th July 1940.

He was in one of nine Defiants which were attacked off Dover and out of the sun by Me109s of III/JG51 on 19th July, known subsequently by some as the 'slaughter of the innocents'. Six of these nine aircraft were lost on this single sortie. Hamilton's pilot, F/O IDG Donald, was killed in the aircraft and Hamilton baled out but drowned in the sea. However it should be noted that records in 'The Battle of Britain: Then and Now' dispute this account. According to this source, their Defiant, L7009, crashed at Elmsvale Road, Dover at 12.45pm.

"Flight Lieutenant Ian David Graham Donald DFC from Epsom and Pilot Office Arthur Charles Hamilton from Harrow were two victims in the 'slaughter of innocents which took place off Dover on Friday 19 July 1940. A pilot/air gunner team in a Defiant of No 141 squadron, their debut in action, proved to be their last. Their unit, although the first to fly the Defiant, had never seen action with the aircraft and by July 19 the Luftwaffe were wise to the limitations of the machine and chopped them down piecemeal. Pilot Officer Hamilton is buried in the cemetery beside Hawkinge aerodrome and F/Lt Donald... besides All Saints church at Tilford, Surrey".

Hamilton was 28 and is buried in Folkestone New Cemetery, Kent.

He is also commemorated at Churchill School, Causeway, Zimbabwe. The school was founded in 1950 and is divided into houses for which compete with each other at games. It was decided to name the houses after pilots who died in the Battle of Britain.

The names chosen were Akroyd, Beaumont, Cardell, Hamilton, Maxwell and Wakeham.

Photos and text courtesy of Battle of Britain Monument website

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