The King's Royal Rifle Corps

Lt-Gen Sir Edward Thomas Henry Hutton KCB KCMG

1848 6th Dec. born at Torquay, Devon
1867 Joiner KRRC as ensign aged 19
1879 Captain. Zulu War
1881 First Boer War
1882-83 Egypt. Assistant Military Secretary to GOC
1883 Promoted Major. Served in Aldershot as Brigade-Major
1884-85 Egypt. DAA and QMG
1887-92 Aldershot DAAG
1888-92 Commanded Mounted Infantry units
1889 Promoted to Lieut-Col
1889 1st Jun. Married Eleanor Paulet
1892 ADC to Queen
1892 Promoted to Colonel
1893 Australia. Commandant of New South Wales Military Forces
1896 Returned to UK. Dublin
1897-98 Curragh
1898-1900 Canada. Commandant of Canadian Militia
1900 Special Services, South Africa
1900 Mar. Maj-Gen, Mounted Infantry Brigade
1902 Appointed to Australia to command its land forces
1905 Returned to UK. Eastern Command. GOC 3rd Division
1907 Promoted to Lieut-General
1908 Retired (for the first time)
1912 Appointed KCB
1914 Recalled by War Office to command 21st Division
1915 Riding accident causes his retirement
1923 4th Aug. Died in Surrey

Sir Edward Hutton is well known in Australia for having organised the army there. He set up the administrative services and restructured the HQ staff, but his work was hampered by disagreements with the Australian Premier, Sir George Dibbs over finance. He was very keen on the idea of mounted infantry and encouraged the development of the Australian Light Horse. When he returned to England he persuaded many people that Australians made natural mounted riflemen, being more at home in the saddle than on foot.

In South Africa, during the Boer War he commanded a brigade of mounted infantry made up of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians and British troops. They served with distinction in the advance on Pretoria. In 1902 he was appointed to the position of Commander of the Australian Military. This was not an easy job as most of his ideas met with hostile opposition. He proposed a Military College, an Army Service Corps and an Ordnance Corps. These proposals were not popular as they involved centralisation and did not suit the different Australian States.

Hutton served in Australia for 3 years during which time he had to deal with 4 different Prime Ministers and 6 Ministers of Defence. For the most part he did not hold these politicians in high regard so his relationship with them was strained. It was also a time of recession so funds were difficult to procure. Apart from raising an army to defend Australia he was also conscious of providing reinforcements for Britain's forces in time of war.

He retired in 1908, but one of his proteges, General Sir W T Bridges, suggested that Hutton be put in charge of the newly raised Australian Imperial Force. However, the idea was rejected. When World War 1 broke out he was recalled to command a division, but a year later he fell off his horse and had to retire once more. His health declined after the war and he died on 4th August 1923, being buried with full military honours at Lyne near Chertsey in Surrey.

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by Stephen Luscombe