Lieutenant James Wetherall Hutton


James Wetherall Hutton was born on 25 November 1893 at 24 Kembella Avenue, Belfast, the fourth of five children of mercantile marine captain James Hutton and his wife Margaret (nee Wallace). His father died before James's tenth birthday. Educated at Belfast's Municipal Technical Institute, by 1911 James was living in Salisbury Avenue, Belfast, with his mother and four siblings, and working as a railway clerk.

Hutton enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 3 September 1914 (No.1090). He embarked for France with D Squadron on 1 May 1915.

On 3 October 1916 he applied for a commission in the infantry, with a preference for the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. The commanding officer of his regiment, Lord Cole, wrote in support of the application:

[He is] a man of good education, reliable & capable of commanding men in the field.

Hutton left France and on 16 December 1916, reporting for duty at No.2 Officer Cadet Battalion, Pembroke College, Cambridge. On 26 April 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles and was posted to the 17th (Reserve) Battalion.

Soon after, he embarked for France, where he was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion. Hutton was with the battalion when it went into the lines near Wieltje on the Ypres front on 3 August 1917. The battalion diary described their five-day tour as:

Very bad time. Heavy hostile shelling. ... During this tour the Battalion had the following casualties:– 7 Officers and 167 O.Rs

Hutton was one of the casualties, wounded in the right leg on 5 August. After treatment in France he was evacuated to England. A medical board at Leicester on 2 September reported that:

... he was admitted to No. 1/5 Northern (?) Hospital on 11 Aug/17. There was a partial fracture of tibia (?) wound had been (secured?) in France, damaged bone ga(?)ped away and F.B. removed. Knee joint not (involved?). Wound now healing.

The board found that he would be incapacitated for at least 2½ months.

Whether Hutton saw further service overseas is not known. He was promoted to lieutenant on 26 October 1918. On 12 April 1919 he was demobilised, and on 1 September 1921, relinquished his commission.