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“Splendid allies” or “No more deadly enemies in the world?” General Sir Ian Hamilton, the British Military and Japan 1902–1914

  • DUNCAN STUART FERGUSON

Abstract

This article uses archival material, including personal correspondence, to chart General Sir Ian Hamilton's changing attitudes towards Japanese nationals, Japanese military leaders and Japanese military personnel, during and after the Russo Japanese War.

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1 On Hamilton see Lee, John A Soldier's Life: General Sir Ian Hamilton (Basingstoke, 2000). Hamilton was not the most senior British military observer, that distinction belonging to General Sir William Nicholson; Hamilton was, however, the more experienced soldier, Nicholson being regarded a military bureaucrat. It was remarked that Nicholson appeared uninterested in the fighting that he was meant to observe, preferring to chat with staff officers as battle raged: see Sebastian Dobson ‘Introduction’, The British Military Observers with the Japanese Army, http://www.ganesha-publishing.com/russo_jap_intro.htm (accessed 4 December 2007); and Philip Towle, ‘British Observers of the Russo-Japanese War’, http://www.russojapanesewar.com/aspects.pdf (accessed 4 December 2007).

2 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 7 March 1904, The Papers of General Sir Ian Hamilton (henceforth Hamilton Papers) 3/2/3, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College, London (LHCMA).

3 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 10 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

4 MacDonald, Sir Claude, ‘The Japanese Detachment during the Defence of the Peking Legations 1900’, Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society, Vol. XII, pp. 220.

5 Sir Claude MacDonald to the War Office, April 1902, WO 106/48, The National Archive (TNA).

6 Sir Claude MacDonald, ‘Report on the Conference at Yokosuka Naval Dockyard’, 14 April 1902, WO 106/48, TNA; Captain E. Troubridge, Naval Attaché, Tokyo, to Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, C-in-C, China Station, 15 December 1902, The Papers of Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge (henceforth Bridge Papers) BRI/19, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (NMM).

7 ‘Report of the conference with Japanese military representatives’, July 1902, WO 106/48, TNA.

8 Lieutenant-General Sir William Nicholson to Colonel E.A. Altham, 13 June 1903, WO 106/48, TNA.

9 Ion, Hamish, ‘Something New under the Sun: E.F. Calthrop and the Art of War’, Japan Forum, Vol. II (April 1990), pp. 2941.

10 Colonel A.G. Churchill to Lieutenant-General Sir William Nicholson, Director-General for Mobilisation and Military Intelligence, ‘Report on the Japanese Army’, 27 May 1903, WO 106/48, TNA.

11 Sir Ernest Satow, British Minister in Beijing, to Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, Commander-in-Chief, China Station, 25 February 1904, Bridge Papers BRI/17, NMM.

12 Colonel E.A. Altham, Director of Military Intelligence, ‘Remarks on the report from the Military Attaché, Tokyo’, G3/4/2, WO 106/48, TNA.

13 Captain WC Black, ‘Comments on Colonel Churchill's Report’, 2 June 1903, DAQMG, WO 106/48, TNA.

14 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 25 December 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

15 A German military mission had played the most significant role in the doctrinal development of the Imperial Japanese Army, and, as several senior officers had received their advanced training in Germany, German became the most commonly understood European language among them.

16 Diary, end pages, Hamilton Papers 3/1/1, LHCMA.

17 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 24 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

18 Hamilton was aware of Japanese sensibilities: at an audience with the Emperor he “felt very distinctly the divine halo which the worship of millions sets on the brow of this demi-god”, Diary, 4 March 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/6, LHCMA.

19 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 15 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

20 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton 26 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

21 Diary, 17 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

22 Hamilton disliked Japanese cuisine. ‘I dined with the House of Peers last night. The most solid piece of food I had was a small roasted octopus. I must confess that after one and a half hours eating I went to bed ravenous’. Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 26 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

23 Diary, 19 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA. Occasionally the Japanese provided forms of entertainment that Hamilton felt inappropriate: he was ‘humiliated by their idea of what we like’ when invited to a performance by transvestite dancers, see Diary, 4 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

24 Diary, 6 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

25 Captain Ernest Troubridge to Admiral Sir Gerard Noel, 16 April 1904, The Papers of Admiral of the Fleet Sir Gerard Noel NOE/8B, NMM.

26 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 28 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

27 Hamilton, Sir Ian, A Staff Officer's Scrap Book, Vol. 1 (London, 1905), pp. 810.

28 Diary, 6 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

29 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 15 April 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

30 Diary, 16 November 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

31 Diary, 16 August 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

32 Diary, 21 August 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

33 Diary, 17 August 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

34 Diary, 7 January 1905 Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

35 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 26 March 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

36 Diary, 30 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

37 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, June 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

38 Diary, 3 November 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

39 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 4 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

40 Diary, 30 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

41 Diary, 24 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

42 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 20 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

43 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 15 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

44 Diary, 30 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

45 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 15 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/2/3, LHCMA.

46 Diary, 21 October 1904, 24 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

47 Diary, 21 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

48 Diary, 20 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

49 Diary, 9 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

50 Diary, 11 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

51 Diary, 3 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

52 Diary, 30 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

53 Diary, 20 October 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

54 Diary, 4 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

55 Diary, 11 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

56 Diary, 22 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

57 Diary, 29 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

58 Diary, 30 September 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

59 Diary, 10 February 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/5, LHCMA.

60 Diary, 30 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

61 Hamilton, A Staff Officer's Scrap Book, Vol. I, p. 217.

62 Diary, 4 August 1904, Hamilton Papers 3/1/3, LHCMA.

63 Diary, 17 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

64 Diary, 28 January 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/4, LHCMA.

65 Diary, 18 February 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/5, LHCMA.

66 Diary, 22 February 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/6, LHCMA.

67 The Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Official History of the Russo-Japanese War (HMSO, 1910), Vol. I, p. 16.

68 The Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Official History of the Russo-Japanese War (HMSO, 1912), Vol. II, p. 695.

69 Hamilton, Sir Ian, A Staff Officer's Scrap Book (London, 1907), Vol. II, p. 317.

70 The Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, Official History of the Russo-Japanese War (HMSO 1912), Vol. II, p. 750, Appendix 21.

71 Hamilton, Sir Ian, A Staff Officer's Scrap Book, Vol. I (London, 1905), Vol. II (London, 1907).

72 Roosevelt to Hamilton, 8 May 1907, 15 May 1907, Hamilton Papers 4/3/1-5, LHCMA. Hamilton also received a perceptive appreciation of his book from the future US Chief of Staff, General Leonard Wood, who felt that “had the Japanese been opposed by a well led, active and aggressive enemy” they would not have won. The Japanese victory was due, Wood thought, to “Russian internal conditions and difficulties of transportation”, see Wood to Hamilton, 19 January 1906, Hamilton Papers 4/3/1, LHCMA.

73 Hamilton to General Sir Neville Lyttleton, 17 January 1906, Hamilton Papers 4/3/1-5, LHCMA. Hamilton explained to Lyttleton that his book had been read in typescript by both the Foreign Secretary, Lord Lansdowne, and by the Japanese Minister in London, Viscount Hayashi; as a result “12 or 13 pages had been cut”.

74 Piggott, Major-General FSG, Broken Thread: an autobiography (Aldershot, 1950), pp. 43, 77. Hamilton received the Grand Cordon of the Sacred Treasure – “a very pretty gewgaw with a ribband which will suit my red coat” see Diary, 15 February 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/5, LHCMA.

75 Diary, 22 February 1905, Hamilton Papers 3/1/6, LHCMA.

76 Hamilton to Miss Nellie Sellar, 26 June 1907, Hamilton Papers 21/1-3, LHCMA.

77 General Sir Ian Hamilton, Inspector-General of Overseas Forces, ‘Report on Foreign Contingents in North China 1913’, Hamilton Papers 5/3/18, LHCMA.

78 ‘Report on Far East Garrisons 1913’, Hamilton Papers 5/3/19, LHCMA.

79 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 18 October 1912, Hamilton Papers 5/1/31, LHCMA.

80 Hamilton to General Sir John French, 10 December 1912, Hamilton Papers 5/1/22, LHCMA.

81 ‘Report on the Military Forces of the Commonwealth of Australia’, 24 April 1914, Hamilton Papers 5/3/27, LHCMA. Hamilton urged the creation of an Australian citizen army on the Swiss model of universal male military training: Australia was at greater risk of invasion than Switzerland.

82 Reuters report of speech given at Auckland, New Zealand by General Sir Ian Hamilton, 13 May 1914, Hamilton Papers 5/1/91, LHCMA.

83 War Office to Hamilton, 20 June 1914, Hamilton Papers 5/1/91, LHCMA.

84 Hamilton to Lady Hamilton, 21 May 1914, Hamilton Papers 5/1/76, LHCMA.

85 Captain C. L. Ottley, Director of Naval Intelligence, ‘The Renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance: Naval Aspects of the Treaty’, 10 April 1905, CAB 17/67, TNA. Nevertheless the First Lord of the Admiralty urgently sought Japanese naval co-operation during the First World War, see Timothy D. Saxon, ‘Anglo-Japanese Naval Co-operation 1914–1918’, US Naval War College Review, Vol. LIII (Winter 2000), pp. 62–92.

86 ‘Observations by Lord Kitchener’, 12 August 1905, WO 106/48, TNA.

87 General Staff Memorandum, 14 March 1907, WO 106/48, TNA.

88 Fisher to Alexander Izvolsky, 15 October 1908, cited in Marder, Arthur J (ed.), Fear God and Dread Nought: the Correspondence of Admiral of the Fleet Lord Fisher of Kilverstone, Vol. II, (London, 1956), p. 198.

89 Hamilton to Leopold Amery, 20 July 1909, Hamilton Papers 4/1/8, LHCMA.

90 Hamilton to Leopold Amery, 7 August 1909, Hamilton Papers 4/1/8, LHCMA.

“Splendid allies” or “No more deadly enemies in the world?” General Sir Ian Hamilton, the British Military and Japan 1902–1914

  • DUNCAN STUART FERGUSON

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