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Sir Edward Thomas Henry Hutton
File:Gen Sir Edward Hutton.jpg
Born 6 December 1848 (1848-12-06)
Died 4 August 1923 (1923-08-05) (aged 74)
Place of birth Torquay, Devon, England
Place of death Lyne, Surrey, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
 New South Wales
Service/branch  British Army
New South Wales New South Wales Military Forces
 Canadian Army
Australia Australian Army
Years of service 1867–1915
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held General Officer Commanding the Militia of Canada
General Officer Commanding the Forces of Australia
3rd Division
21st Division

Anglo-Zulu War
First Boer War
Anglo-Egyptian War
Nile Expedition
Second Boer War
* Battle of Witpoort

First World War
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Mention in Despatches (12)

Lieutenant General Sir Edward Thomas Henry Hutton KCB, KCMG (6 December 1848 – 4 August 1923) was a British military commander, who pioneered the use of mounted infantry in the British Army and later commanded the Canadian Militia and the Australian Army.

Early career

Hutton was born in Torquay, Devon in December 1848, the only son of a middle-class family. He was taught at Eton College, leaving in 1867 and taking a commission in the King's Royal Rifle Corps.[1]

He first saw active duty in Africa in 1879, when he served with his regiment in the Anglo-Zulu War, being mentioned in despatches for his service at the Battle of Gingindlovu. He served with the mounted infantry force in the First Anglo-Boer War of 1880-81, and as a result was appointed to command the mounted infantry in the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882 as a brevet major. He fought around Alexandria and at the Battle of Tel el-Kebir, where he had a horse killed underneath him and was again mentioned in despatches. In the Nile Expedition of 1884-85, he was appointed to the staff, again in command of the mounted infantry.[2]

Hutton had become closely linked with the employment of mounted infantry in the African campaigns, and was the army's leading authority on its use;[1] in 1886, he gave a public lecture calling for a widespread scheme of training and preparing mounted infantry units within the units stationed in Britain. He was supported by Sir Garnet Wolseley, a prominent Army moderniser, and Hutton was given command of the newly raised composite regiment of mounted infantry at Aldershot in 1887.[3] Wolseley's support of Hutton has led him to be named as a member of the influential "Wolseley ring" by some biographers, but he was five to ten years younger than most members, and other sources often do not list him as a member of the group.[4] His influence was strengthened by his marriage, in 1889, to Eleanor Mary Paulet; Eleanor was the niece of the Marquess of Winchester and of Field-Marshal Lord William Paulet, his improved social connections led to him being appointed as an aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria in 1892.[1][5]

Overseas command

New South Wales

In 1893, Hutton was named commandant of the military forces in New South Wales (Australia); he was recalled in 1896 for a year's service in Ireland.[6]

Canada and South Africa

In 1898, he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and made General Officer Commanding the Militia of Canada.[6]

When South Africa's Second Boer War was on the horizon, Hutton lobbied Canada to participate.[6] Without informing Canada's Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Hutton published mobilization plans in the Canadian Military Gazette. Laurier's government then received a letter of gratuity from Britain for its decision to aid them in the Boer region. Furious, Laurier announced Canada's refusal to send any contingents. In the end, political pressure was too great, and Canada played a role in the war. However, the row led to Hutton being recalled.[6]

In 1900 Hutton went to South Africa as Commander of the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade, a formation made up of Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand troops.[6] He was knighted and appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in November 1900 for his services in the South African campaign[7]

After returning to the United Kingdom, Hutton was in November 1901 appointed Honorary Colonel of the 7th (Militia) Battalion, King´s Royal Rifle Corps.[8]


In 1902, Hutton became the first commander of the Australian Army.[6] He was recommended by Field Marshal Lord Roberts after several other officers had refused or were rejected by the government. His task in January 1902 became that of transforming six colonial forces into one national Australian Army.[5]

In 1904, Hutton promoted what was then a novel idea that Empire military attachés should be sent to witness the clash of Russian and Japanese forces in Manchuria.[9] Australian sources reveal a nested array of factors affecting the mission of Colonel John Hoad, who was detached by the Deakin government to serve with the Imperial Japanese Army in 1904-1905.[10] Along with other Western military attachés, Hoad had two complementary missions–to assist the Japanese and to observe the Japanese forces in the field during the Russo-Japanese War.[11]

Hutton resigned as GOC Australian Army at the end of 1904.[5]

Later career

After his resignation, he was appointed commander of 3rd Division in 1905, holding the command until 1906, and given a post overseeing administration in Eastern Command. In November 1907 he was appointed Lieutenant-General, shortly before his retirement. In 1914, he was recalled from retirement to command the newly raised 21st Division in the New Armies - the Australian government having turned down a suggestion he should be offered command of the Australian Imperial Force - but fell ill early in 1915, after a riding accident, and was relieved of command in April.[5]

In retirement, he wrote a history of the King's Royal Rifle Corps,[12] and a number of pamphlets on military affairs.[2] He died in 1923; he was survived by his wife; the couple had no children.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Meaney (2006)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Who Was Who
  3. Hutton (1917), p. 27
  4. Hill (1983) and Miller (2000) both list Hutton as a member of the Ring; Meaney (2006) does not, nor does the thematic list in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hill (1983)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Miller (2000)
  7. "No. 27306". 19 April 1901. 
  8. "No. 27377". 15 November 1901. 
  9. Hitsman, J. Mackay and Desmond Morton. "Canada's First Military Attaché: Capt. H. C. Thacker in the Russo-Japanese War," Military Affairs, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Oct., 1970), pp. 82-84.
  10. Perry, Warren (1983) "Hoad, Sir John Charles (1856 - 1911)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. IX., Melbourne University Press.
  11. Chapman, John and Ian Nish (2004) "On the Periphery of the Russo-Japanese War," Part I, p. 53 n42, Paper No. IS/2004/475. Suntory Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
  12. Hutton (1917)


  • Miller, Carman (2000) "Hutton, Sir Edward Thomas Henry", Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, Vol. XV. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • "HUTTON, Lt-Gen. Sir Edward (Thomas Henry)". (2007). In Who Was Who. Online edition.
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir William Gascoigne
General Officer Commanding the Militia of Canada
Succeeded by
Sir Richard O'Grady Haly
Preceded by
New creation
General Officer Commanding the Forces of Australia
Succeeded by
Harry Finn
Preceded by
General Officer Commanding 3rd Division
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New creation
General Officer Commanding 21st Division
Succeeded by
G T Forestier-Walker

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