Richard Clutterbuck (1917–1998) was a pioneer in the study of political violence. In his lifetime he was both a professional soldier and academic. Clutterbuck was commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1937 after graduating in mechanical sciences from Cambridge. After Dunkirk, he went through both the Western Desert and Italian campaigns. The army sent Clutterbuck to different hotspots, including Palestine (1947) during the Irgun Zvei Leumi's terrorist campaign. In 1956, up against Chinese communists, Lt. Col Clutterbuck shed his rank badges to go on patrol as an ordinary soldier. As chief engineer Far East, 1966–68, Brigadier Clutterbuck put into practice in northeast Thailand the counter-terrorist philosophy he was gradually evolving. His next job after Thailand was the top one, as Engineer-in-Chief (1968–70) at the Ministry of Defence. While in the Far East, however, he had started to read for a PhD in politics. In 1968, he enrolled at the University of London.
His last army post was back in the specialisation he had created for himself, as chief army instructor of the Royal College of Defence Studies, devoted to peacekeeping or "low-intensity Operations" as they were now termed. His Who's Who entry gave his recreations as "sailing, canoeing and the study of revolution". On retirement in 1972 he became Dr Clutterbuck, and marched straight into the post of lecturer in political conflict at Exeter University.