Pilot Officer Ronald Keith Hamilton, the son of William James Hamilton and Ellen Mary Hamilton (nee Gerry), was born at Brisbane in Queensland on 8th February 1921. He was enrolled in the Reserve of the Royal Australian Air Force on 11th April 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance and issued with Reserve Badge A4076. At the time of his enrolment, he was single, employed as a Junior Draftsman with the City Electric Light Company at Boundary Street, Brisbane and resided with his parents at “Walanray”, Hilda Street, Corinda, Brisbane. He had previously served for 14 months in the Citizen Military Forces with the 61st Battalion Cameron Highlanders. At the age of 19 years and 3 months he was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at No. 3 Recruiting Centre in Brisbane on 10th May 1940 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description was that he was 5 feet 7 inches in height and weighed 121 pounds. He had a red complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr William Hamilton, residing at Hilda Street, Corinda, Brisbane.
Pilot Officer Ronald Hamilton was allotted the service number of 404076. His service record does not show where he trained after enlisting in the R.A.A.F. however it was probably at No. 3 Initial Training School at Amberley in Queensland where he would have been trained in military discipline and the basics of military aviation. He joined No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School at Mascot in New South Wales on 29th April 1940 where he received instruction on basic single-engined aircraft. He joined No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Forest Hill in New South Wales on 29th July 1940 where he received advanced training on single and multi-engined aircraft. After completing his training at Forest Hill he was awarded the Pilot Qualification Badge on 23rd September 1940. He joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 18th November 1940 to prepare for movement overseas on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Sergeant on 19th November 1940. He was granted pre-embarkation leave during the period 19th November until 28th November 1940. He embarked from Sydney on 10th December 1940 and disembarked in England on 8th February 1941.
Pilot Officer Ronald Hamilton, sometime after arriving in the United Kingdom joined No. 1 Depot at Uxbridge. He joined No. 56 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Sutton Bridge on 17th February 1941 where he was trained as a fighter pilot. He joined No. 615 (County of Surrey) Squadron at Royal Air Force Station Kenley for operational duty on 31st March 1941. No. 615 Squadron took part in offensive sweeps over Europe and defence duties in Wales. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 25th June 1941.
Pilot Officer Ronald Hamilton was the pilot of a No. 615 Squadron Royal Air Force Hurricane Fighter that was lost near Ostend in Belgium during air operations on 18th September 1941. He took off from his base at 0950 hours on 18th September 1941 to escort bombers attacking shipping off Ostend. Subsequent reports revealed that after the attack his aircraft’s engine stopped and his aircraft was last seen pancaking on the sea and then going in vertically. Another pilot circled the spot but did not see Pilot Officer Hamilton. The pilot had to break away owing to enemy aircraft. No trace of his remains was found therefore his name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial for the Missing in the United Kingdom.
Pilot Officer Ronald Hamilton, for his service during World War 2, had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Aircrew Europe Star, the War Medal, the Defence Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 123 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 31st January 1935 and that he left the School on 1st June 1935. His parent was shown as William James Hamilton, 253 Herries Street, Toowoomba. After leaving school he was employed as an Electrical Apprentice in Brisbane.