Rank: Brigadier General
Edward Chaytor was born in Motueka on 21 June 1868, the son of John Clervaux Chaytor and Emma Chaytor (nee Fearon), both long established families of Nelson and Marlborough.
Edward boarded at Nelson College between 1880 and 1884. After College he farmed the family run at Spring Creek, near Blenheim.
On 17 October 1898 he married a widow, Louisa Jane Hiley, at Spring Creek. They had a family of three children.
He volunteered in 1900 for the 3rd Contingent of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, who served in the South African War. He distinguished himself in action on 26 May at Reit Keil and after being shot in the leg, was invalided home in 1901 but in 1902 he returned to South Africa as commander of the South Island Regiment.
Soon after the war ended, Edward was appointed Assistant Adjutant General for the Defence Department. Other promotions followed and by 1911 he was promoted to full Colonel and was appointed Adjutant General in July 1914.
When war broke out Edward was responsible for the dispatch of the Samoan Contingent, 29 August and for raising the Main Body that departed on 16 October. He enlisted on 1 September with the Main Body of the NZEF and departed 16 October as a Colonel.
He was wounded twice in 1915. The second wound required a hospital stay at the Royal Free Hospital in London. In November Edward Chaytor was given command of the New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade (NZMRB) in Egypt and was to remain in Egypt as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (E.E.F).
When the New Zealand forces departed for England early in 1916, the NZMRB remained behind. By November, he was promoted to Brigadier General, reporting to Australian Major General Harvey Chauvel and the two men established a good working relationship.
Nearly 18000 New Zealanders served in Egypt, Palestine and Jordan. Edward Chaytor’s focus was on thorough training of the men but he was also innovative and he was the first to use aerial reconnaissance planes over the desert in July 1916. By January 1917, the Sinai in Egypt was clear of Turkish forces.
In April Edward Chaytor commanded the Desert Column, as a Major General in command of the ANZAC Mounted Division.
On 16 September, he was given an extra division size force called “Chaytor Force” who captured Amman in Jordan on 25 September.
He was discharged on 14 December. On his return to Wellington, Edward Chaytor was appointed General Officer in Command, New Zealand Military Forces. He retired from this position in 1924.
He was mentioned in dispatches seven times and was awarded the following:
Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMC)
Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO)
Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (CB)
The Order of the Nile, 2nd class
The Order of the White Eagle, 3rd class
He was knighted in 1918 for his wartime services. He returned to live in London, England until his death on 15 June 1939.