What is it that makes someone memorable? Is it talent, skill, personality, achievement or a combination of all of the above? Whatever the correct answer is, Hugh Caulfield Hamilton had all of them and yet very few people in his home country, or even his home town of Omagh will have ever heard of him.
He excelled in road races and on the track during an all too short-lived motor-racing career that saw him dazzle against the best of the best, including Tazio Nuvolari during the 1933 Ards Tourist Trophy. He, too, impressed during the Mille Miglia in Italy and produced eye-catching performances at Grand Prix in Germany, France, Italy, Lybia and Morocco before his burgeoning career was cut short following a high-speed crash in Switzerland on Sunday, August 26th, 1934 during the Prix de Berne.
Hugh was born on July 18th, 1905, on the Hospital Road, Omagh, where he lived in what was described by Mike Wylie in a 1972 Wheels magazine article headlined ‘The Wild Man of Ards’ as ‘a large house’, to English mother Agnes E Fenn and father, Claude C Hamilton, who was a solicitor by trade and secretary of Tyrone County Council. His uncle, EV Hamilton was also a solicitor in Aughnacloy, while his paternal grandfather was Rector in Sixmilecross.
FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S ULSTER HERALD