The Life of Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston MP
Chapter Two: A Gentleman and a Soldier
A Gentleman and a Soldier
Hunter-Weston’s birth and family background may have conferred social standing, but it was his education which confirmed him in the rank of a gentleman. It was through his formal schooling that he was expected to acquire the self-belief and sense of purpose that would equip him to lead in any situation. As the ‘embodiment of instant tradition’, public schools in England were at the peak of their influence and mystique during the last half of the nineteenth century and their numbers had multiplied accordingly.1
It is unclear when Hunter-Weston decided that he wanted to become a solider, or the extent to which this was an independent decision.2 However, for a boy who had serious ambitions towards an army career, the choice of school was fairly obvious – on the eve of the Great War, more than one third of the officers in the British Army’s High Command had been educated at either Eton, Wellington, Harrow, Marlborough or Charterhouse.3 Hunter-Weston’s parents chose the newest of these schools, Wellington College. Originally founded in 1859 for the benefit of army families of limited means, it was moving into the first rank by the 1870s, with fees second only to Eton.4 ← 13 | 14 →
Short, robust and cheerful, Hunter-Weston entered Wellington in the Michaelmas Term of 1877. He was determined to make an impression with his turnout. According to family legend, he was discovered in the butler’s inner sanctum on the...
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