The Life of Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston MP
Chapter Four: Hunting the Boer
Hunting the Boer
In normal circumstances, Hunter-Weston would have left Camberley at the end of 1899 and taken up a comfortable staff appointment. Instead, he was plunged into a colonial conflict which tested the standards of command and staff work in the British army as never before. By the close of hostilities in May 1902, British casualties in the Second South African War amounted to 21,842; among the fallen were four of Hunter-Weston’s Staff College classmates. The war may have proved deadly for many men, but it was also Hunter-Weston’s hour of opportunity. Displaying a powerful blend of professionalism and self-promotion, he began to build a reputation with a British public hungry for heroes.
As a thirty-five year old Brevet Major, Hunter-Weston was hardly party to the arcana imperii that were driving events between Capetown and London. Nevertheless, he became acutely aware of its impact on the ordered life of the peacetime army. The South African crisis had built up slowly during the summer. Continued diplomatic machinations by the British High Commissioner, Sir Alfred Milner, to re-establish supremacy in the region encountered determined resistance from the governments of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. Following the breakdown of negotiations over ‘Uitlander’ voting rights in June, Milner pressed for military reinforcements to overawe the Boer republics. Within weeks a ‘special service draft’ had been despatched from Staff College to augment local staffs and ← 39 | 40 → train mounted infantry...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.