Hamilton Gault was born on the 18th of August, 1882, in Kent, the son of a wealthy Montreal cotton manufacturer. His mother had difficulties with childbirth and went to stay with her own mother in England during her pregnancy.
|Hamilton Gault as a young officer with |
The Royal Scots of Canada
Affectionately known as “Hammie,” Hamilton Gault enjoyed a privileged upbringing in Montreal, Canada’s centre for trade and commerce in the early 20th century. He attended one of Canada’s most prestigious institutions, Bishop’s College in Lennoxville, Quebec. Throughout his childhood, Gault showed a great appreciation for the outdoors. He learned to ride horseback, shoot and would later join the Bishop’s College cadet corps.
The Cadet Corp provided Gault with his first taste of military life. Like others at school, he became fascinated with Britain’s colonial wars, reading extensively about campaigns in India. This exposure to military culture would propel Gault to a lifelong interest in the profession of arms and international relations.
Over six feet tall, with a good build, Gault was known for his dashing good looks and love of the wilderness. In pursuit of a military career befitting of his character, Gault would go on to join the 5th Royal Scots of Canada, a Highland militia regiment in Montreal also known as the Black Watch.
As conflict, and later war, arose in South Africa between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free States in 1899, Hamilton Gault moved to enlist with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. Gault left Canada with the Regiment in 1902 and saw service in South Africa as the war was winding down.