Lt. Gen. Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston

At the outbreak of the First World War, Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston commanded the 11th Infantry Brigade on the Western Front.  In April 1915, he was promoted to command the 29th Division, and was in charge of all British troops at the south end of the Gallipoli peninsula.  Invalided home in July 1915, he returned to command the VIII Army Corps in the Somme Offensive in July 1916.               

Born 23 Sep 1864, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1884.  He married Grace Strang Steel in 1905, and in 1911 succeeded his mother as Laird of Hunterston.  Elected to Parliament as Unionist M.P. for North Ayrshire in October 1916, he retired from the House of Commons in 1935.  He died on 18 Mar 1940 after falling from a turret at Hunterston House, and is buried at West Kilbride Cemetery.
Portrait painted by Philip de László
in 1916

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At the VIII Army Corps dug-out on Hunter-Weston

Hill, Helles, May 1915   
Return To The Dardanelles

In May 1921, Lt. General Hunter-Weston sent the following telegram to the Reuters Agency, with the request that it be published so as to reach as many as possible of those who fought at the Dardanelles:-  

“To the survivors – sailors, soldiers and airmen who fought at the Dardanelles – on this, the sixth anniversary of the original landing, and in your name, I am laying on each of the main beaches a
wreath of wild flowers gathered from the land made forever British by the bodies of our heroic dead.  May we who survived do our best to spread the spirit of cheerful self-sacrifice, of devotion to duty and of comradeship which they so gloriously exemplified, and so help to attain the ideals for which we fought.”  

The above photograph of Hunter-Weston featured on one of the commemorative first-day covers released in Australia on Anzac Day, 25 April 2005, on the 90th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

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Fairlie Friends  

When the fate of Captain Alfred Parker was unknown after he’d been reported killed, and then reported wounded and missing in October 1914, his family contacted Lt. General Hunter-Weston for assistance.  In a letter dated 11 January 1915 to the Captain’s brother, Hunter-Weston advised that he had received confirmation of Captain Parker’s death and burial.  To the Captain’s mother he wrote, “You his mother may well be proud to have given birth to such a son.  And it is better for his wife to have lived those alas all too few years with him than to have existed for aeons with any other.  I am proud to have been his friend.”

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Fairlie War Memorial  

At the unveiling ceremony of Fairlie War Memorial on 20 August 1921, Lt. General Hunter-Weston gave an address at the memorial service.  He spoke of the qualities of the men who were being honoured – their determination and grit and courage; their devotion to duty and self-sacrifice and comradeship, saying “The sacrifice was one of the noblest in the minds of man – they gave their lives for others.  Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his life for a friend.”

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Drawing portraying laying of wreath on “W” Beach, as described in telegram (above)




Pictures courtesy Angus Cochran Patrick ____________________________________________________________________________________


Fairlie Community Association SCIO

Scottish Charity No. SC028785