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Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 13th Duke of Hamilton







Alfred, 13th duke of HamiltonAlfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 13th Duke of Hamilton and 10th Duke of Brandon TD, DL (6 March 1862 – 16 March 1940) was a Scottish nobleman and sailor. Born at Shanklin, Isle of Wight, he was the son of Captain Charles Henry Hamilton, a descendant of Lt.-Gen. James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton, and Elizabeth Anne Hill.


He succeeded his 4th cousin, William, the 12th Duke in 1895.

Hamilton served as a young man in the Royal Navy. He gained a reputation for being able to dive under the keels of the battleships on which he served, without any equipment, reappearing on the opposite side of the ship to the amazement of his crewmates. He was persuaded to leave in 1888 by his fourth cousin the twelfth Duke in 1890. There was a quite serious possibility that Alfred would provide a good match for the heirless twelfth duke's daughter, Lady Mary. These hopes of maintaining continuity were dashed however in 1890, when Hamilton was partially paralysed by a rare tropical disease he had caught whilst on his last tour of duty. Hamilton recovered however and succeeded in 1895. Whilst inheriting all entailed property and assets from his cousin and a £1 million debt, a large share of the Hamilton lands and properties went to Lady Mary, latterly the Duchess of Montrose. The properties that left the Hamilton family at this time included Brodick Castle on Arran, which had been owned by the Hamiltons for 500 years.

One property that did not leave the family was Hamilton Palace, the main family seat. However, the Duke had offered the palace to the Navy during WWI for use as a hospital. Following the end of the war it was considered necessary to demolish it due to subsidence, blamed on the family's own coal mines. Hamilton moved to Dungavel House, which had previously been a Hamilton shooting lodge on moorland close to Strathaven.

Hamilton was Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the 4th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry and was also Honorary Colonel of the 6th Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).


NPG x36598He married Nina Mary Benita Poore (right), daughter of Major Robert Poore and Juliana Benita Lowry-Corry, on 4 December 1901.


Douglas, 14th Duke of Hamilton and his three brothers, painted by Theodore Ramos, in 1970, from an earlier photograph - click for SCRAN Resource

The four sons of the 13th Duke of Hamilton had the unique distinction of all being active Royal Air Force squadron commanders and flying instructors - this notwithstanding the strong naval tradition in their father's family.





Lord David (b.1912) is in the uniform of a Squadron Leader; the 14th Duke (b.1903) and Lord George Nigel, the Earl of Selkirk (b.1908), are both Group Captains; and Lord Malcolm (b.1909), a Wing Commander.


The duke and Lord George Nigel were awarded the Air Force Cross for their distinguished services to aviation and the duke was mentioned in dispatches during World War II. Lord Malcolm was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Lord David was killed on active service in 1944.


There were three daughters, Ladies Jean, Margaret and Mairi.

Alfred Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 13th Duke of Hamilton died shortly after his 78th birthday, on 16 March 1940 at the family's property in Dorset, Ferne House.



Alfred, 13th Duke of Hamilton. Born 1862, died 1945.



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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024