THERE was a touch of deja vu about proceedings to welcome the man who will oversee the military side of the handover of sovereignity to China in 1997. The new Commander British Forces Hong Kong (CBF), Major-General Bryan Dutton, delivered his speech as grey skies delivered a torrential downpour, as had happened when his predecessor, Major-General Sir John Foley, went on his way out a week ago. General Dutton, the 61st and probably last CBF, arrived on Thursday but officially took command of the Hong Kong Garrison yesterday. He took the salute of a ceremonial guard of honour comprising 12 representatives from each of the Gurkha, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Hong Kong Military Service Corps. The general, a director of British Army public relations during the Gulf War who has served in Northern Ireland, British Guiana and Libya, said he hoped to gain a deeper knowledge of both Hong Kong and China over the next three years. However, he would not commit himself on when he was likely to meet his People's Liberation Army counterpart to discuss the handover of the territory's military estate and the final farewell ceremony. He looked forward to what he said would be a ''more subtle'' but equally important role for British forces up to the withdrawal in three years' time. General Dutton, 51, is married with a son and a daughter.