Hamilton Reed

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Hamilton Reed
Hamilton Reed VC IWM Q 2113.jpg
Group portrait including Hamilton Lyster Reed (centre)
Born23 May 1869
Dublin, Ireland
Died7 March 1931 (aged 61)
South Kensington, London
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service1888 - 1919
RankMajor General
UnitRoyal Artillery
Commands held15th (Scottish) Infantry Division
Battles/warsSecond Boer War
First World War
AwardsVictoria Cross (UK) ribbon.png Victoria Cross
Order of the Bath
Order of St Michael and St George
Croix de Guerre (France)
RelationsSir Andrew Reed (father)
Harry Hammon Lyster VC (uncle)

Major General Hamilton Lyster Reed, VC, CB, CMG, (23 May 1869 – 7 March 1931) was an Irish British Army officer, and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life[edit]

Born in Dublin, he was a grandson of Hamilton Lyster, and a son of Sir Andrew Reed, a distinguished police official. He was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was gazetted into the Royal Field Artillery as a second lieutenant on 17 February 1888.[1]

Military career[edit]

Reed was promoted to lieutenant on 17 February 1891, and to captain on 14 September 1898.[2] Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in late 1899, he went to South Africa for active service.[3] He took part in the Ladysmith Relief Force, including the Battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899, where he was wounded.[4]

Details on Victoria Cross[edit]

He was 30 years old, and a captain in 7th Battery, Royal Field Artillery during the battle of Colenso on 15 December 1899. The detachments serving the guns of the 14th and 66th Batteries, Royal Field Artillery, had all been either killed, wounded, or driven from their guns by Infantry fire at close range, and the guns were deserted. His citation mentions the following deed, for which he was awarded the VC:

Captain Reed, who had heard of the difficulty, shortly afterwards brought down three teams from hiss battery to see if he could be of any use. He was wounded, as were five of the thirteen men who rode with him, one was killed; and thirteen out of twenty-one horses were killed before he got half-way to the guns, and he was obliged to retire.[4]

Second Boer War[edit]

After the end of regular warfare, the war turned into a guerrilla war in late 1900. During the later part of the war, he served as a Staff Officer, in the position of Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General from 12 June 1901.[5]

The War ended in June 1902, with the Treaty of Vereeniging. Reed left Cape Town in the SS Dilwara in late July, and arrived in Southampton the following month.[6]

Further military service[edit]

East Sheen Cemetery

Reed was seconded to the Turkish Army during the Balkan Wars served with the British Army throughout the First World War.[7] He then served as General Officer Commanding, 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division from June 1923 until he retired in June 1927.[8]

He died in London on 7 March 1931.[7]


His son Andrew was killed in the Battle of France whilst serving with the RAF.[9]

The Medal[edit]

His Medal is part of the Lord Ashcroft collection.[10]


  1. ^ "No. 25790". The London Gazette. 24 February 1888. p. 1225.
  2. ^ Hart′s Army list, 1903
  3. ^ "Anglo Boer War.com". Retrieved 17 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "No. 27160". The London Gazette. 2 February 1900. p. 689.
  5. ^ "No. 27311". The London Gazette. 7 May 1901. p. 3128.
  6. ^ "The Army in South Africa - Return of troops". The Times (36845). London. 13 August 1902. p. 5.
  7. ^ a b "Captain Hamilton Reed VC". British Empire. Retrieved 22 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 22 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Reed, Andrew Patrick". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 22 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Lord Ashcroft VC Collection". Retrieved 15 January 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Philip Robertson
GOC 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
Succeeded by
Sir Henry Thuillier