Valise for mounted service : Lieutenant C B B White, 1st Australian Commonwealth Horse

Accession Number RELAWM14055
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Personal Equipment
Physical description Brass, Canvas, Cotton tape, Leather
Maker Unknown
Date made c 1890s
Conflict South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
Army organisation period 1903-1912

Small brown waterproof valise for mounted service. The valise is a cylindrical canvas bag with an internal coating of a dark brown waterproofing compound. There is a single main compartment, the edge of which is bound in leather. The bag is closed by a wrap-around top flap. A secondary storage area inside this flap has a pair of cotton tape ties to secure its contents. The flap was originally secured by a pair of short leather straps connecting to small brass buckles, but one of the straps has been lost. A pair of larger buckled straps would have wrapped around the entire valise, but one of these is also missing. Each strap would have threaded through a pair of leather loops, which are still present, as are a series of four additional loops which may have been used in securing the bag to a saddle or other harness. All of the leather loops are reinforced inside by sections of stitched leather. Each circular end of the valise bears a black stencil reading 'QMI' (Queensland Mounted Infantry), and the underside has a black stencilled marking reading 'MAJOR . K . HUTCHISON' with another in white paint above it reading C B.B WHITE'.

History / Summary

Mounted service valise originally owned by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Kenneth Hutchison, a member of the Queensland permanent forces, who commanded the Second Contingent (Queensland Mounted Infantry) in South Africa during 1900-01. Hutchison was hit by a train and killed in 1902, shortly after his return to Australia, the valise being passed to his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Cyril Brudenell Bingham White, who departed for service in South Africa with the 1st Commonwealth Horse during the same year.

White was born at St Arnaud, Victoria, in 1876, but spent his early life in Queensland. He joined the Militia in 1896 and in 1899 joined the permanent forces, becoming a Lieutenant in the Queensland Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery. He received his first staff appointment, as captain and aide-de-camp to Major General Hutton, commander of the Australian Military Forces, in 1904. White attended the British Army Staff College, Camberley, in 1906, and graduated with good results. After several years in England, attached to the British War Office, he was recalled to Australia to become director of military operations at Army Headquarters.

At the outbreak of war in 1914, he was selected by Major General Bridges to be chief of staff for the new Australian Imperial Force, and took part in the landing at Gallipoli in April 1915. After the death of Bridges in May, he became chief of staff to the new commander, Lieutenant General Birdwood. For the remainder of the war, he exerted great influence in his role as senior staff officer to Birdwood. He was suggested as a suitable leader for the Australian Corps when it was formed in 1918, but remained with Birdwood, becoming chief staff officer to the 5th Army. Disappointed with cuts made to the Australian military after the war, he retired as Chief of the General Staff in 1923. In March 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Brudenell White was recalled as CGS, but was killed in an air crash near Canberra on 13 August.