The Life of Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston MP
Chapter One: Hunters and Westons
Hunters and Westons
In the half century before the Great War, the British officer corps was a remarkably self-contained body. Although there had been a gradual broadening of its membership, there was still a high degree of self-recruitment involving the sons of professional officers, as well as a strong representation of the gentry and aristocracy, for whom military service was traditionally a well-regarded career.1 Often less financially secure than their southern counterparts, Scottish landed families made a sizable contribution to this confident and cohesive elite – by 1914 some 17 per cent of generals were from Scotland, a proportion well beyond its share of the UK population.2 For all his individual flamboyance and striking traits of character, Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston personified this shared patrician profile. It was a background that shaped his values, his lifestyle, and his friendships, as well as his professional destiny.
An immediate familial military connection existed through Hunter-Weston’s father, Gould Read Weston. Born in 1823, Gould was the second son of a Dorsetshire gentleman, James Willis Weston, but could claim direct descent from an ancient Staffordshire family who had been resident in the county since the reign of Henry II.3 After attending the East India ← 7 | 8 → Company’s Military Seminary, he followed a familiar path for younger sons. Gazetted as an ensign in the 65th Native Infantry, he sailed for India in April 1840, where he spent the next eighteen years. During an eventful career in the army of...
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