Hugh Erskine Winthrop was born 26th October 1897. After studying at the City & Guilds Engineering College he was accepted into Sandhurst in 1915, but sent instead to R.M.C. Wellington in India, where he was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Indian Army (14th (K.G.O) Sikh Regiment) in April 1916. He reached the rank of Acting Captain during WW1, where he saw active service in Iraq on the Tigris Front during the Mesopotamian Campaign. He was mentioned in despatches for his role in the Battle of Sharqat in the closing days of the war, and went on to active service in Afghanistan in early 1919.
Later in 1919 Winthrop was appointed ADC to the Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, based in Lahore, a post he held for around 2 years. He then returned to regular army life, seeing active service once more in the Kurdish uprising of 1922-23, where his battalion was involved in the first ever strategic airlift of troops. After spending a year at the Army's Staff College in Camberley, he fought on the North West front in India in 1930, and reached the rank of Major in 1934. He remained in India for the rest of his career, becoming Colonel then Acting Brigadier during WW2. He was granted the honorary rank of Brigadier on his retirement in 1947.
Winthrop was commended in his annual military reports for his dedication, tact, energy and grasp of languages (Punjabi and Urdu). He was also an excellent horseman and hockey player, and took a keen part in regimental sports. Following his retirement he was active in the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association, serving as its Director of Appeals. He was married to Doreen Mary, from whom he was divorced in 1932, and then remarried to Eileen Maude Adelaide Mackey with whom he had one son, Edward Hugh, born in 1939. He died in 1963 and was buried in Tonbridge, Kent.