Sir Edward Thomas Henry Hutton

(1848—1923) army officer and military reformer

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(6 December 1848–4 August 1923) commanded many Australians in the Boer War and was the controversial first commander of Australia's military forces after Federation.

Born in England and educated at Eton, Hutton entered the British Army and campaigned in Africa (1879–85). He served in the new mounted infantry arm and on returning to England was involved in efforts to make it a permanent part of the Army, and was commandant of the new Mounted Infantry School at Aldershot. It was becoming customary that British regular officers command the military forces of Britain's White dominions (see Colonial military forces), and Hutton held three such appointments from 1893 to 1904. He was guided in his work by a vision of imperial military federation, believing that the empire's citizen soldiers, who outnumbered (and socially outranked) the small British Army, should be organised and trained to form on war's outbreak a vast militia, well trained and disciplined and strong in mounted troops wielding rifles rather than swords. Thus he sought to form the soldiers under his command into forces of all arms, to mount many of them on horses, to train and discipline them toughly, and to persuade their governments to commit them to serving outside their colonies in war. Despite informal support for his efforts from the imperial government, Hutton's frantic energy, intemperate outbursts and inability to understand local resistance to his vision ensured his failure.


From The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Military History.

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