Lieutenant Colonel R. de H. Burton
Lt Col. Burton was also with them and he was looking remarkable well and his hand was now quite well though one of his fingers has been slightly bent. He said he was pleased to be among us again, and I must say he certainly looked it.
(Lt. O.W. Steele, diary, 11 Jan 1916)
Born in England on 8 September 1861, Reginald de Hardwicke Burton, was a former major with the Middlesex Regiment and Boer War veteran. He had been severely wounded at the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900 and was placed on retired army pay in 1909. On 13 November 1914, he came out of retirement to take command of the Newfoundland Regiment. In August 1915, the unit left England for Egypt before deploying to the Gallipoli Front.
Newfoundland Prime Minister Edward Morris had been dissatisfied with the appointment of a British regular officer to command the regiment following Canadian militia colonel, E.B Clegg. Political forces in the colony complained that Burton favoured fellow British officers and passed over Newfoundlanders for promotions. Others alleged discrimination against Catholics, however a committee of the Patriotic Association found the allegation of such sectarianism in a British regiment “too fantastic for imagination.”
The Newfoundland Regiment landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli peninsula on 20 September 1915. Burton was evacuated for a gunshot wound to the hand just over a month later. He was temporarily replaced by second-in-command Major T.M. Drew before the official appointment of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Hadow in December 1915.
Burton died in England in 1942.