Ian Robertson Hamilton, Q.C., was born in Paisley on 13th September 1925. Educated at John Neilson School in Paisley and Allan Glenn's in Glasgow, he also attended Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. He served in the RAFVR 1944-48. Called to the Scottish Bar in 1954, and the Albertan (Canada) Bar in 1982. Appointed Advocate Depute in 1962, served as Director of Civil Litigation in Zambia 1964-66. Appointed Hon. Sheriff of Lanark in 1967. Author and Journalist, now residing in North Connel, Argyll.
To anyone who knows the man, or has read his autobiography "A Touch of Treason", Ian Hamilton would probably be the last person who would consider himself either a hero or a 20th century patriot. But then Ian has ever 'ganged his ain gait'.
Of course we all recognise the name as being the man who, along with Kay Matheson, Alan Stewart and Gavin Vernon, stole or 'liberated' (depending on one's nationality...) the renowned Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey in 1950. Ian was hailed a hero by the Scottish public, and it was assumed to be a coup for the SNP at that time. The publicity during and after the event certainly didn't do the Nationalist cause any harm either. However, having read his autobiography, people will be surprised to hear that Ian didn't have a lot of confidence in the SNP at the time. In fact, it appears now that he actually despised them. He comes across as a man who has an overwhelming love for his country and his people, but very little time for politicians and timewasters. Once the Stone was recovered, Hamilton and the others were threatened with prosecution by the Crown which resulted in thousands of Scots taking to the streets to demonstrate in their favour. In the event, no prosecutions were made and for a very good reason - the Stone had been stolen from Scotland by Edward I in 1296 and any case would require ownership of the Stone to be asserted - something which would have proved to be extremely embarrassing for the Crown.
His involvement with Scottish nationhood was enhanced by his participation in the famous case in 1953, of John MacDonald MacCormick and Ian Robertson Hamilton v. The Lord Advocate, on the question of whether or not Her Majesty could be styled Queen Elizabeth the Second or whether she ought not to be styled Queen Elizabeth the First.
He would, I am sure, resent being called a Scottish Nationalist. However it cannot be denied that what he did that dark Christmas Eve in Westminster Abbey inspired countless Scots, and gave them cause to hold their heads a little higher. It also served then, as it does now, to remind the Scottish public that the very talisman of our people had languished behind bars in an English gaol, despite the august surroundings, for near seven centuries. It matters not that the stone is not the genuine article, the fact is that the English consider it so, and their various Kings and Queens have sat upon it. Much as their successive governments have sat on the aspirations of the Scottish nation, it demands that we must detest this continued insult to the Scottish people. In 1996, Michael Forsyth returned the Stone to Edinburgh castle, hoping that this gesture would revive Tory fortunes, while a clearly irritated Duke of York made it quite clear that his mother was only lending her stolen goods to Scotland. Ian Hamilton refused an invitation to the party, although Kay Matheson did accept. Forsyth's gesture was in vain and every single Tory lost their seat in the 1997 general election.
Ian Hamilton gave an example to the might of England that Scots will never settle under the Saxon yoke. He demonstrated something that we have always known. Scotland and her people are very capable, when required, of standing up and redeeming what has been stolen from us.
Extract from "A Touch of Treason":
".. enduring is the thing. Just going on being Scots, and damning the consequences, and damning those in every generation who sell out to go over to the other side. Without bombs, without violence, without hatred, although it is difficult sometimes not to hate the Quislings, we must plod along. The Scottish race was here, under whatever name, long before the English were woad-painted savages. It reached a low ebb in the early twentieth century, but the tide has turned, and the flood now flows.."
|Return to Roll of Honour||Return to Index|