Saturday, 14 January 2012

Thomas Bruce Hutton - military history

Articles from Trove -
The Argus Saturday 11 February 1882 p13
Colonel Hutton, who has been invited by the Government to take the temporary command   of the volunteer force, has placed his services at their disposal, and he will be formally appointed at the next Executive meeting. His acceptance of office has given great satisfaction to the volunteers. A few particulars regarding the military career of Colonel Hutton may be interesting. Colonel Thomas Bruce Hutton is the son of an old Indian officer, and nephew of Colonel W, F. Hutton, of Kew. He was born in India, but received his education in England. On the 10th of January, 1855, he joined the army as an ensign of the 21st Fusiliers. Soon afterwards-in July of the same year- be was elevated to the rank of lieutenant, and accompanying his regiment to the Crimea, was present at the siege and fall of Sebastopol, and took part in the expedition to Kinbourn. For his services in the Crimea he received a medal and clasp from the Queen, and also a Turkish medal. He then served with the 61st regiment in India, and was present at the siege, assault, and capture of Delhi during the mutiny in 1857. In one of the sorties made on that place he was wounded in the side by a musket ball, but nothing daunted he was one of those who made the last sortie on the 1st of August. When scaling a wall, one of the defenders canted his ladder over, and gave him a fall which disabled him for the time being. For his services on this occasion he was presented with a medal and clasp, and be was subsequently appointed lieutenant governor of Delhi on the capture of that city. In 1861 he attained to the rank of captain, and was promoted to that of a major in 1867. As a major he was frequently in command of the 100th regiment at Aldershot and other places, and he also served on the staff of Sir Daniel Lysons, the officer at present commanding at Aldershot. In 1872 he was promoted to the position of lieutenant-colonel for his services in the field. He was held in high esteem by his regiment. In the same year he retired from the army by selling his commission, and came out to this colony to join his friends. About the year 1874 he joined the Victorian volunteer force, and acted as officer in command of the two red battalions until 1879, when he resigned.
Illustrated Australian News Wednesday 22 February 1882 p18
The Government has decided to send to England for an experienced military officer to take charge of and reorganise our volunteer force, and pending his arrival Colonel Thomas Bruce Hutton, a retired officer of the British army, who for some years has taken an active interest in our volunteer system, will take charge of it.
The Argus Wednesday 23 December 1874 p4
As most of our readers are doubtless aware, considerable dissatisfaction has been excited in the volunteer force by the promotion of Corporal and Acting- sergeant Foote to be aide-de-camp, with the rank of lieutenant, to Lieutenant Colonel Lemarchand, an officer recently appointed to the staff. It is thought injustice was done in passing over all the officers and non-commissioned officers of the field batteries, and conferring the distinction on a junior connected with a garrison corps. The feeling of irritation and sense of injustice to which the proceeding gave rise found expression in a memorial from the non-commissioned officers of the East Melbourne Volunteer Artillery, forwarded through Major Stokes to the colonel-commandant. In this they submit, that should old non-commissioned officers of the field batteries be overlooked, serious discouragement will be the result, as there will be no rewards held out for long service or efficiency. This combination for the purpose of representing a joint grievance was looked on by Colonel Anderson as a serious breach of discipline, and a direct violation of the rule which governs the practice of the Imperial service. In order, therefore, to mark the grave disapprobation with which he viewed the proceeding, the colonel-commandant issued a brigade order directing all officers and non-commissioned officers of the volunteer corps in and around Melbourne to parade at the Eastern-hill orderly-room, on Monday evening, in order that he might have an opportunity of pointing out to them the impropriety of the course adopted. We may do Colonel Anderson the justice to say that his address on the occasion was conceived in a sensible and gentlemanlike spirit. There was no pretension to any social superiority over those he was addressing, while at the same time he unflinchingly maintained his claims to deference, in his military capacity, from all serving under him, and expressed a firm determination to uphold that strict discipline and relative subordination of different ranks, without which a military force would speedily become a military rabble.
Of course, we have nothing to say in extenuation of military combinations or irregular proceedings of any kind. We have always advocated the maintenance of strict discipline in the force, and shall continue to do so, believing that without it military organisations are not only useless, but more dangerous to their friends than their enemies. We think, then, that the colonel-commandant was quite right in rebuking the subscribers to the memorial in question, although it appears to us that the culprits erred more through ignorance than design. But while we hold that the colonel did no more than his duty in visiting the first symptoms of insubordination - no matter whether intentional or other- wise-with his displeasure, we cannot hold him guiltless of provoking the dissatisfaction which has led to the breach of military propriety complained of. We can understand that Lieutenant-Colonel Lemarchand, fresh from the regular army, may be excused for the mistake he made in selecting a personal friend as his aide, thus causing him to be unfairly promoted over the heads of his seniors. In so doing he merely exercised a privilege which, we believe, is rarely, if ever, questioned in the Imperial service. But Colonel Anderson, who has had many years' experience of a citizen army, the efficiency-nay the existence-of which depends on the preservation of that high moral tone to which favouritism and injustice are fatal, would have only dis- played proper discretion had he strongly discountenanced the appointment, and so prevented the heartburnings which a little reflection would have shown him must follow its approval. We submit that neither Colonel Anderson nor his staff, nor, we may add, the country either, can afford to disregard the feelings and opinions of our citizen soldiery. It was the obvious duty of the commandant to have pointed out to Lieutenant-Colonel Lemarchand the inadvisability of insisting on the recognition of all his rights in dealing with volunteers. It is by judicious consideration and tact in handling matters of this delicate nature in such a manner as to avoid public scandals, that Colonel Anderson should seek for opportunities of demonstrating his fitness for the important position he fills.
Without in any way defending the action of the memorialists, we must say that in our opinion the appointment of Mr. Foote was perfectly indefensible. We hold the substance of their com- plaint to be unanswerable, however irregular may have been the manner in which it was submitted. That Colonel Anderson is perfectly aware of the universal dis- satisfaction existing in the force, is proved, we think, by his assembling some 150 gentlemen to hear eight non- commissioned officers reproved, partly because their commanding officer did not know his duty. Can he say that the discontent is unreasonable? It is useless to contend that Lieutenant Colonel Lemarchand had a right to select whom he liked, regardless of everything except his own will and pleasure, and that, therefore, no blame attaches to any one. We admit the right; we deny the wisdom of exercising it. Colonel Anderson, in the course of his remarks, pointed out that "it was the duty of the commanding officer of the corps to have taken steps to prevent what was really a reflection upon the superior officers of the force being made ". No doubt, but at the same time we would ask-is it not the duty of the superior officers of an organisation so delicate as all volunteer forces must necessarily be, to order their conduct in such a way as to render reflections on their justice and discretion impossible? We do not ask that strict military discipline should be relaxed to the slightest extent, but that nothing may be done which is likely to clash with the reasonable wishes of either the officers, non-commissioned officers, or privates. We may rest assured that the true way to maintain discipline in a volunteer force is to promote a spirit of contentment and perfect confidence in the impartiality of those in command.
We would congratulate the volunteer force generally on the acquisition of two such officers as Lieutenant-Colonel Lemarchand and Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Hutton. By these appointments the staff has been very materially strengthened. It has always been felt that should the day ever unhappily arrive when our citizen army would be called on to prove the stuff of which it is made, the officers must almost necessarily prove its weakest point. Rumours have, indeed, gone abroad from time to time to the effect that the staff itself was not exactly a collection of profound strategists or skilful tacticians, nor had its members as a rule had frequent opportunities of seeking the " bubble reputation" in tho " cannon's mouth " . The addition, therefore, of two officers who have gained experience and distinction in active service must be hailed with satisfaction. The men, we believe, would follow tried leaders anywhere, and if these gallant officers will only endeavour to remember that they are not dealing with regulars, but with volunteers keenly alive to anything resembling slight or affront, they will not only inspire the force with confidence, but also command that willing service which is always rendered to those we esteem and respect.
The Argus Monday 28 April 1879 p5
Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Bruce Hutton, commanding the Regiment of Volunteer Red Rifles, has sent in his resignation to the commandant, but in consequence of the absence of Colonel W A. D Anderson, C M G from Melbourne, the resignation has not yet been received. It is understood that Lieutenant Colonel Hutton has sent in his resignation on the ground that he is dissatisfied with the manner in which the Victorian volunteer force is administered. A recent private inquiry ordered by the Acting Treasurer has no doubt led to this decision on the part of the gallant officer.

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