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Australian Army Generals

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Australian Army Generals

Australian Army Generals aims to honour the lives of Australia's senior soldiers, recognising them as one of the key groups of people in Australia's development. Some 160 deceased Australian Army generals have been identified and have profiles on WikiTree (some 60 more are still serving or living). Many generals are Notables. Many have gone on to carve out careers as diplomats, philanthropists, businessmen, doctors, politicians, voluntary workers and even farmers. The intention is to extend the project to include RAN Admirals and RAAF Air Marshals at a later date. For the purpose of this category, generals include all those who attained the ranks of Field Marshal, General, Lieutenant General and Major General of all eras. Although classified as generals until 1921, Brigadier Generals of the First World War have been excluded to maintain continuity with later eras.

Practical information about generals

insignia of Field Marshal,
showing crown and batons

ranks

The senior, or general, ranks in the Australian Army are (in descending order):

  • Field Marshal - the current holder of the rank of Field Marshal, in an honorary and ceremonial capacity, is HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, prince-consort to the Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Elizabeth II. His insignia is a St Edward's Crown with crossed batons over a wreath (see illustration).
  • General - is the second-highest rank, and the highest active rank, of the Australian Army and considered a four-star rank. His insignia is a Crown, Star and crossed sword & baton (see below). The rank of general is held when an army officer is appointed Chief of the Defence Force.
  • Lieutenant General - is considered a three-star rank and is held by the Chief of Army, the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, the Chief of Joint Operations, and the Chief of Capability Development. His insignia is a Crown and crossed sword & baton (see below).
  • Major General - is considered to be equivalent to a two-star rank. His insignia is a Star and crossed sword & baton (see below). A Major General commands a division or the equivalent.
  • As stated above, we have excluded the 1901 to 1921 rank of Brigadier General from this category to maintain continuity with later eras (with the name change to Brigadier, this rank became associated with the field officer ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel).
insignia of a General,
showing star, crown
and sword / baton

insignia

The General rank insignia, identical to those of the British Army excepting for the title 'Australia', comprise one or more of three symbols:

  • the Crown of St Edward; as also worn by Majors, Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels and Brigadiers.
  • the Star of the Order of the Bath, or 'pip' as it is colloquially known; as worn by Second Lieutenants, Lieutenants, Captains, Lieutenant Colonels and Brigadiers.
  • a crossed Mameluke Sword and Baton.


And who are Australia's Generals?

This section is being developed and will concentrate on their senior commands and service in the ranks of the generals.

British Army Generals serving Australia

MAJ GEN Lachlan Macquarie

The first general to serve on the Australian continent was Lachlan Macquarie CB, the fifth governor of the British Colony of New South Wales from 1810 to 1822 (which then encompassed everywhere from the tip of Cape York to the southern point of Van Dieman's Land, west for half of the continent and east to Norfolk Island). Macquarie arrived as a Lieutenant Colonel in command of his 1st Battalion, 73rd Regiment of Foot, however was promoted to Colonel upon assuming his vice-regal duties on 1st January 1810 with the battalion placed under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Maurice O'Connell (who would marry Mary Putland, the widowed daughter of former Governor of New South Wales Vice Admiral William Bligh RN). Macquarie was subsequently promoted to Brigadier General in 1811 and then to Major General in 1813. Of course, he served in the capacity of governor and not as a military commander. Macquarie retired to Britain, where he died in 1824 at St James London and was entombed at Isle of Mull, Argyllshire; with the family tomb administered by the National Trust of Australia. Macquarie was succeeded as governor by Major General Sir Thomas Brisbane from 1821-25, Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Darling KCB 1825-31, and Major General Sir Richard Bourke KCB 1831-37.

  • Major General Sir Maurice O'Connell KCH (1766-1848) returned to New South Wales in 1838 to assume command of the forces in the Colony of New South Wales (then still inclusive of today's Victoria and Queensland), Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand. In November 1841, he was promoted to Lieutenant General. O'Connell was also appointed to the Legislative Council and served as Acting Governor. He retired to his New South Wales properties in 1847, passing away in Sydney a year later.
  • Major General Edward Wynyard CB (1788-1864) succeeded O'Connell in 1847 as commander of the forces in New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand. His return to Britain in 1853 followed the separation of Victoria as a British Colony. His steady opposition to every proposal for the British government for the reduction of troops under his command was justified in 1851 when gold was discovered and each colony began to clamour for protection. Wynyard's invaluable service within Australia is commemorated through the locale of Wynyard, Sydney, and the town of Wynyard in northern Tasmania.

Australia's defence continued to be dependent upon British forces until 1870 and then the Colonial Military Forces of the six independent colonies (listed alphabetically) New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, each of which were commanded by British Army officers seconded to the respective Colony:

  • Major General Major Francis Downes CMG (1834-1923), commanded the South Australia Military Force (1877-85; 1888-99) and the Victorian Military Force (1899-1902). Promoted Major General in 1884. He also served as the Victorian secretary of defence (1885-88). Downes remained in Australia, included on the Australian retired List, passing away at his home in Brighton, Victoria. His son was Major General Rupert Downes CMG, Director General of Medical Services; Australia's first father-son generals.
  • Major General John Soame Richardson CB (1836-96), commandant of New South Wales Military Force 1870 to 1892, leading the NSW contingent to the Sudan Campaign. He was a veteran of the Crimean and Maori Wars. He migrated to NSW in 1865, marrying and raising his family in his adopted home. Promoted to Major General in 1885 and retired in 1892; Richardson passed away, too soon, at his home at Leichhardt, in Sydney's inner west.
  • Major General (later) Sir George French (1841-1921) was commandant of the New South Wales Military Force; succeeding John Soame Richardson from 1896, having previously been commandant of the Queensland Force from 1883 to 1891. He retired to England in September 1902. French became the brother-in-law of Major General Ewen Sinclair-Maclagan in 1902.
  • Major General Sir Charles Holled Smith KCMG CB (1847-1925), commandant of the Victorian Military Force 1894-99. A veteran of the Zulu and Boer Wars, Egyptian War, Nile Expedition, Soudan, Suakin, and Tokar. Retired to England.

Even following Federation in 1901 and the establishment of the Australian Military Force in March that year, Australia remained dependent on seconded British officers until such time as we could develop our own military leaders:

  • Major General (later Lieutenant General) Sir Edward Hutton (1848-1923), a British military commander who pioneered the use of mounted infantry; commanded the 1st Mounted Infantry Brigade in South Africa, a formation made up of Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand troops; and from 1902 to 1904 was the first General Officer Commanding Australia's Commonwealth Military Force, of which he created both a field force and a garrison force, and transformed various colonial cavalry and mounted units into the famous Light Horse.
  • Major General Harry Finn CB DCM (1852-1924) was a British Army officer who served in the infant Australian Army as Inspector-General from 1901 to 1904 and then General Officer Commanding the Commonwealth Military Force until 1907. After retiring from the British Army, Finn became secretary of the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust in Sydney, and private secretary to the Governor of New South Wales. He is buried in South Head Cemetery, Sydney.
  • Major General Francis Wilson was a British Army officer who was appointed General Officer Commanding the Commonwealth Military Force 1911-12.
  • Major General Ewen Sinclair-Maclagan CB CMG DSO (1868-1948) was a British Army officer who served from 1901 to 1904 in the infant Australian Army and 1910-14 as drill instructor at the newly-established Royal Military College, Duntroon, before leading the 3rd Australian Brigade, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli and the Somme Valley, France, and then the 4th Australian Division in 1917-18. His wife and daughter were Aussies. He became the brother-in-law of Major General Sir George French in 1902.
  • General (later Field Marshal Lord) Sir William Birdwood GCB GCSI GCMG GCVO CIE DSO (1865-1951), who commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) during the Gallipoli Campaign. Sir William's barony is, in part, Baron Birdwood of Anzac.
  • Major General Godfrey Irving was a British Army officer who, in 1915, commanded the Commonwealth Military Force in Australia whilst the Australian Imperial Force was in the Middle East and the Dardenelles. He later migrated to Victoria.
  • Major General Sir Nevill Smyth VC KCB (1868-1941) was a decorated British Army officer who commanded the Australian 1st Brigade at Gallipoli and in France, before commanding the 2nd Australian Division. Smyth migrated to Australia following the First World War, stating 'that he regarded Australians as the finest troops with whom he had ever served, and he wanted to live among them in their country'.
  • Major General Sir Henry Hodgson KCMG CB CVO (1868-1930) was a British Army officer who commanded the Imperial Mounted Division, later renamed the Australian Mounted Division in the Middle East during The Great War.
  • Brigadier General Hubert Foster was the last British Army officer to command the Commonwealth Military Force, in 1916-17.

Generals of the Australian Army

The young nation's first 'home-grown' general was Sir John Hoad, appointed in 1907 however, died just four years later aged 55 years.

The next Australian to be promoted Major General was Sir William Bridges, at the commencement of the (First World) War in 1914 to command the Australian Imperial Force and, subsequently, the 1st Division. Bridges was killed at Gallipoli just weeks after the ANZAC landing. Gordon Legge was promoted and appointed as Bridges' replacement. Sir Harry Chauvel was soon after promoted and replaced Legge, who moved sideways to command the newly-formed 2nd Division. Chauvel went on to become the hero leader of the Light Horse Divisions and Corps in the Middle East. About that time, Sir Newton Moore, a politician and citizen soldier, has promoted to Major General to command AIF units in the UK (an appointment that only continued to 1917). As the AIF continued to expand in 1916, Sir John Monash and Sir Jim McCay (a former Federal Minister of Defence) were promoted to Major General to command the newly-formed 3rd and 5th Divisions respectively. The 4th Division was initially commanded by a British General. Five further appointments were made in late 1916 and 1917, namely James Mackay to establish an Army Reserve, William Holmes to command the 4th Division (however, he would be killed in action in 1917), Sir Talbot Hobbs to take over command of the 5th Division, Sir Neville Howse VC to command AIF Medical Services and Sir Brudenell White to work with British General Birdwood in the Australian Corps and British 5th Army. The final six appointments to senior command came in 1918 as the war trudged towards an Armistice: Sir Charles Rosenthal to 2nd Division (Legge moved to Chief of the General Staff), Sir William Glasgow to 4th Division (replacing the deceased Holmes), Sir Jack Gellibrand to 3rd Division (Monash had been promoted and given command of the Australian Corps), Edwin Tivey to 5th Division (Hobbs had taken over 1st Division), George Leonard Lee to Eastern Command New South Wales (the first Major General to be appointed with a view to post-war), Sir Granville Ryrie to command the Australian Mounted Division and AIF in Egypt post-Armistice, and Reginald Browne to non-conflict assignments. Legge, Monash, McCay, Hobbs, Howse, Glasgow, Gellibrand, Lee, Ryrie and Browne went onto the Retired List within five years of the end of the war, leaving only Chauvel, White, Rosenthal and Tivey serving as Generals beyond the mid-1920s. The changing needs of the post-war Army would also necessitate having leaders in staff roles, as well as command.

No. Photo Name Birth-place Previous Corps Years as General Highest rank attained Commands Notes
1Sir John Charles Hoad KCMG (1856-1911)Goulburn, New South WalesInfantry1907-1911
MAJ GENInspector General; Chief of the General Staffobserved and assisted the Japanese forces in the field during the Russo-Japanese War
2Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB CMG (1861-1915)Greenock, Renfrewshire, ScotlandArtillery1914-1915
MAJ GENChief of the General Staff; Royal Military College, Duntroon; Australian Imperial Force; 1st Divisionheld key staff appointments from federation
3Gordon Legge CB CMG CGM (1863-1947)Hackney, London, EnglandInfantry1915-1924LT GEN1st Division; 2nd Division; RMC Duntroonstrong advocate of an independent RAAF; father-son generals duo with Stanley Legge
4Sir Harry Chauvel GCMG KCB (1865-1945)Tabulam, New South WalesInfantry1915-1930General1st Division; ANZAC Mounted Division; Desert Mounted Corps; Chief of the General Stafffirst Australian to attain ranks of Lieutenant General and General
5Sir Newton Henderson Moore KCMG VD (1870-1936)Fremantle, Western AustraliaInfantry1915-1917MAJ GENAustralian Imperial Forces in the UKwas a Mayor of Bunbury, Premier of WA, and member of the House of Commons
6Sir John Monash GCMG KCB (1865-1931)West Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry1916-1922General3rd Division; Australian Corpsconsidered one of the best Allied generals of the First World War
7Sir Jim McCay KCMG KBE CB (1864-1935)Ballynure, Antrim, IrelandInfantry1916-1925LT GEN5th Divisioncreated the Military Board and Army Intelligence Corps; Minister for Defence 1904-05
8William Holmes CMG DSO VD (1862-1917)Paddington, New South WalesInfantry1916-1917
MAJ GEN4th Division-
9Sir Talbot Hobbs KCB KCMG (1864-1938)Pimlico, London, EnglandArtillery1916-1919LT GEN5th Division; 1st Division; Australian Corpsdeeply involved in the erection of memorials to the Australian divisions
10James Kenneth Mackay CB OBE VD (1859-1935)Wallendbeen, New South WalesInfantry1916-1920MAJ GENDirector General Australian Army Reserve-
11Sir Neville Howse VC KCB KCMG (1863-1930)Stogursey, Somerset, EnglandMedical1917-1921MAJ GENAIF Medical Servicesfirst Australian serviceman to recieve the Victoria Cross
12Sir Brudenell White KCB KCMG KCVO DSO (1876-1940)Saint Arnaud, VictoriaInfantry1917-23; 1940-40
GeneralChief of the General Staffplanned the AIF, evacuation of Gallipoli, the post-First World War army, and the Second AIF
13Sir Charles Rosenthal KCB CMG DSO VD (1875-1954)Berrima, New South WalesArtillery1918-1926, 1932-1937MAJ GEN2nd Division-
14Sir William Glasgow KCB CMG DSO VD (1876-1955)Tiaro, QueenslandMounted Infantry1918-1922MAJ GEN4th DivisionMinister for Defence 1927-29; first Australian High Commissioner to Canada 1939-45
15Sir Jack Gellibrand KCB DSO & Bar (1872-1945)Lleintwardeine, TasmaniaInfantry1918-1922MAJ GEN3rd Divisionhelped to form the Hobart Remembrance Club in 1919
16Edwin Tivey CB CMG DSO VD (1866-1947)Inglewood, VictoriaMounted Infantry / Light Horse1918-1926MAJ GEN5th Division, 2nd Cavalry Division-
17George Leonard Lee CMG DSO (1860-1939)Maitland, New South WalesNSW Lancers1918-1920MAJ GEN2nd Military District-
18Sir Granville de Laune Ryrie KCMG CB (1865-1937)Michelago, New South WalesMounted Infantry / Light Horse1918-19MAJ GENAustralian Mounted DivisionNSW MLA from 1900; Federal MHR from 1911; High Commissioner to UK
19Reginald Spence Browne CB (1856-1943)Appin, New South WalesInfantry1918-19MAJ GEN--

Of the First World War Australian Generals that continued to serve beyond 1924-25, Tivey would only serve until 1926 and Chauvel until 1930. Rosenthal was the Militia commander of 2nd Division until 1926 and again 1932-1937, whilst a politician. In the 'between wars' period, they would be joined (mostly for short periods) by fellow First World War veterans: Victor Sellheim, James Mackay, Charles Cox, Frederic Hughes, John Forsyth, Joseph Gordon, George Johnston, Godfrey Irving, John Paton, Walter Coxen, Harold 'Pompey' Elliott, Charles Brand, Thomas Dodds and George Rankin. Other than White, the majority were tasked solely with running a peacetime Army.

From 1930 onwards, though, would come appointments of generals who would command in a World War with experience gained in the previous World War: Gordon Bennett DSO, Sir Thomas Blamey DSO, Owen Phillips DSO, Doctor Rupert Downes, Ernest Squires DSO MC, Sir Carl Jess DSO, Sir John Lavarack DSO, John Leslie Hardie DSO.

No. Photo Name Birth-place Previous Corps Years as General Highest rank attained Commands Notes
20Victor Conradsdorf Sellheim CB CMG (1866-1928)Balmain, New South WalesMounted Infantry / Light Horse1919-1927MAJ GENQuartermaster General-
21Frederic Hughes CB VD (1858-1944)Brighton, VictoriaMounted Infantry / Light Horse1920-1920MAJ GEN (Hon)--
22James Burston (1856-1920)Kilmore, VictoriaInfantry1920-20MAJ GEN (Hon)-father-son Aussie generals duo with his son, MAJ GEN Sir Roy Burston
23Charles Cox CB CMG DSO (1863-1944)Pennant Hills, New South WalesNSW Lancers; Light Horse1921-1923MAJ GEN1st Cavalry Division-
24John Keatly Forsyth CMG (1867-1928)Brisbane, QueenslandMounted Infantry1921-22, 1925-25MAJ GEN (Hon)Quartermaster General-
25José Maria Jacobo Rafael 'Joseph' Gordon CB (1856-1929)Cádiz, Andalucía, SpainArtillery1921-21MAJ GEN (Hon)Military Forces of South Australia; Chief of the General Staffwas chief staff officer Overseas Colonial Forces, Second Boer War
26George Jameson Johnston CB CMG CBE VD (1868-1949)East Melbourne, VictoriaArtillery1922-1927LT GEN (Hon)3rd Division-
27Sir Julius Bruche KCB CMG (1873-1961)North Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry1923-1935MAJ GENQueensland District; New South Wales District; Adjutant General; RMC Duntroon; Chief of the General Staff-
28James Macarthur-Onslow VD (1867-1946)Menangle, New South WalesMounted Rifles1924-24MAJ GEN (Hon)-with nephew, Denzil Macarthur-Onslow, Australia's only uncle-nephew generals duo
29John Macquarie Antill CB CMG (1866-1937)Jarvisfield, New South WalesMounted Rifles / Light Horse1924-1924MAJ GEN (Hon)-best known for his role in the Battle of The Nek at Gallipoli
30John Gibson Paton CB CMG VD (1867-1943)Newcastle, New South WalesInfantry1924-1926MAJ GEN2nd Division-
31Godfrey George Irving (1867-1937)Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry1925-1925MAJ GENChief of the General Staff-
32Charles 'Digger' Brand CB CMG CVO DSO (1873-1961)Ipswich, QueenslandInfantry1926-1933MAJ GENChief of the General Staff; Quartermaster General-
33Walter Adams Coxen CB CMG DSO (1870-1949)Egham, Surrey, EnglandArtillery1927-1931MAJ GENQuartermaster General; Chief of the General Staff-
34Harold 'Pompey' Elliott CB CMG DSO DCM VD (1878-1931)Charlton, VictoriaInfantry1927-1931MAJ GEN3rd Division-
35Thomas Dodds CMG CVO DSO (1873-1943)Gateshead, Co. Durham, EnglandInfantry1930-1934MAJ GENAdjutant General; 2nd Military District; 1st DivisionFederal Treasurer RSL
36Gordon Bennett CB CMG DSO (1887-1962)Balwyn, VictoriaInfantry1930-1944LT GEN2nd Division; Volunteer Defence Corps; 8th Division; III Corpsinfamous for deserting his command as Singapore fell
37Sir Thomas Blamey GBE KCB CMG DSO (1884-1951)Lake Albert, New South WalesInfantry1931-1951Field Marshal3rd Division; 1 Corps; Commander-in-Chiefonly Australian to attain rank of Field Marshal (1951)
38Owen Forbes Phillips CMG DSO (1882-1966)Warwick, QueenslandArtillery1933-1942MAJ GEN1st Division; Inspector of Coastal and Anti-Aircraft Defences-
39Dr Rupert Major Downes CMG VD (1885-1945)Mitcham, South AustraliaMedical1934-1945MAJ GENDirector General Medical Servicesson of MAJ GEN Major Downes, commandant of SA & VIC Military Forces, Australia's first father-son generals
40Ernest Ker Squires CB DSO MC (1882-1940)Poona, IndiaEngineers1935-1940
LT GENDirector Staff Duties; Inspector General; Chief of the General Staff-
41Sir Carl Jess CB CMG CBE DSO (1884-1948)Sandhurst, VictoriaInfantry1935-1946LT GENAdjutant General; Director of Women's National Servicesrose through every rank from Private to Lieutenant General in a 44-year career
42Sir John Lavarack KCMG KCVO KBE CB DSO (1885-1957)Kangaroo Point, QueenslandArtillery1935-1946LT GENChief of the General Staff; Southern Command; 7th Divisionlater appointed Governor of Queensland
43John Leslie Hardie OBE DSO (1882-1956)Ballarat, VictoriaInfantry1937-1942MAJ GENInspector General; Inspector of Administration-
44George Rankin DSO & Bar (1887-1957)Bamawm, VictoriaInfantry1937-37MAJ GEN--


To some, in the military and in the federal parliament, from the early 1930s they could see another global war coming; not just in Europe and the Middle East – Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Communist Soviet Union (although they would later 'swap sides') – but also in the Pacific – Japan. And there were new generals who would command in a World War having gained experience in a previous World War.

Gordon Bennett DSO was promoted to Major General (having been Australia's youngest Brigadier General) in 1930 and appointed to command 2nd Division. He was often outspoken and created enemies, so when war was declared, instead of being given 6th Division as the most senior general, he was appointed to establish the Volunteer Defence Corps. He was given command of the newly-formed 8th Division in 1940 and took it to Malaya and Singapore. When Singapore fell, he left his post and returned to Australia. His final appointment was to command III Corps in Western Australia and retired in May 1944. Owen Phillips DSO was promoted to Major General in 1933, upon appointment to command the 1st Division. He then served as Inspector of Coastal and Anti-Aircraft Defences until retiring in 1942.

Doctor Rupert Downes, son of British and Colonial Major General Major Downes, was Director General of Medical Services from 1934 until killed in an aeroplane crash in March 1945). He did much to prepare Australia medically for the Second World War and to cope with it. Sir Julius Bruche was Chief of the General Staff until 1935, when he was succeeded by Sir John Lavarack DSO. Lavarack tried to convince the 'powers that be' that the government's defence policy was flawed. By so doing, although he was correct, he made enemies, resulting in his appointment to a 'backwater', Southern Command, when the war actually came in 1939. With Sir Thomas Blamey DSO (promoted Major General in 1931) appointed to command 6th Division and the Second Australian Imperial Force. Sir Carl Jess DSO was responsible from 1935 for greatly increasing the size of the Militia as war in the Pacific loomed in his position of Adjutant General and Chairman of the Department of Defence's Manpower Committee, and organised the Australian Women's Land Army during the war. John Hardie DSO served as a Major General from 1937 as Inspector General and then Inspector of Administration until retiring in 1942.

Ernest Squires DSO MC (promoted Major General in 1935) was appointed Inspector General in 1938. His investigation of the Army's preparedness for war was welcomed by the government and the Military Board in December that year and he was subsequently appointed Chief of the General Staff. He was dead in March 1940. Sir Brudenell White DSO, despite being 63 years of age, was coaxed out of retirement to again serve as Chief of the General Staff, with promotion to General; just the third Australian to attain the rank (after Chauvel and Monash). In August 1940, he was killed in a plane crash, along with three federal ministers and some senior public servants. Sir Vernon Sturdee DSO was promoted to Major General and became Australia's third CGS in five months. Not a good way to begin a global war!

No. Photo Name Birth-place Previous Corps Years as General Highest rank attained Commands Notes
45Sir Vernon Sturdee KBE CB DSO (1890-1966)Frankston, VictoriaEngineers1939-1950LT GENChief of the General Staff (1940-42; 1946-50); 1st Army-
46Edward Kenneth Smart DSO MC (1891-1961)Kew, VictoriaArtillery1939-1946LT GENQuartermaster General; Southern Command; Military Mission to US-
47Edmund Drake-Brockman CB CMG DSO (1884-1949)Busselton, Western AustraliaInfantry1939-1942MAJ GEN3rd Divisionserved in the Senate 1919-1926 and then as a federal judge
48Thomas Rhys Williams CMG DSO (1884-1950)Bundaberg, QueenslandEngineers1939-1944MAJ GEN--
49Herbert 'Bertie' Lloyd CB CMG CVO DSO ED (1883-1957)South Yarra, VictoriaArtillery1940-1946MAJ GEN2nd Division-
50Henry Douglas Wynter CB CMG DSO (1886-1945)Gin Gin, QueenslandArtillery1940-1945LT GEN9th Division; Lieutenant General Administration-
51Sir Roy Burston KBE CB DSO VD (1888-1960)Melbourne, VictoriaMedical1940-1948MAJ GENMedical Servicesfather-son generals duo with his father, MAJ GEN James Burston
52Victor Stantke CBE (1886-1967)Fitzroy, VictoriaInfantry1940-1946MAJ GENAdjutant General; Queensland Lines of Communication Area-
53Robert Edward Jackson CMG DSO (1886-1948)Crows Nest, QueenslandInfantry1940-1942MAJ GENNorthern Command; Western Command-
54Sir Iven Giffard Mackay KBE CMG (1882-1966)Grafton, New South WalesInfantry1940-46MAJ GEN6th Division; Home Forces; 2nd Army; New Guinea ForceHigh Commissioner to India 1944-48
55Jim Cannan CB CMG DSO VD (1882-1976)Townsville, QueenslandInfantry1940-1946MAJ GENInspector General Administration; Quartermaster General-
56Sir Edmund 'Ned' Herring KCMG KBE DSO MC KStJ (1892-1982)Maryborough, VictoriaArtillery1941-1949LT GEN6th Division; Northern Territory Force; II Corps; I Corps-
57Sir Leslie James Morshead KCB KBE (1889-1959)Ballarat East, VictoriaInfantry1941-1947LT GEN9th Division; II Corps-
58Edward 'Ted' Milford CB CBE DSO (1894-1972)Prahran, VictoriaArtillery1941-1948MAJ GEN5th Division; 7th Divisionwith grandson, Michael Milford, Aussie's first grandfather-grandson generals duo
59Basil Moorhouse Morris CBE DSO (1888-1975)East Melbourne, VictoriaArtillery1941-1946MAJ GENANGAU; New Guinea Force-
60John Lawrence Whitham CMG DSO (1881-1952)Jamālpur, West Bengal, IndiaInfantry1941-1946LT GENVolunteer Defence Corps, Victoria-
61Sir Horace 'Red Robbie' Robertson KBE DSO (1894-1960)Warrnambool, VictoriaLight Horse1941-1954LT GEN1st Armoured Division; 2nd Division; 5th Division; 6th Division-
62Sir Sydney Fairbairn (Syd) Rowell KBE CB (1894-1975)Lockleys, South AustraliaInfantry1941-1954LT GEN6th Division; I Corps; Chief of the General Staff-
63Arthur Samuel 'Tubby' Allen CB CBE DSO ED (1894-1959)Hurstville, New South WalesInfantry1941-1945MAJ GEN7th Division-
64David Valentine Jardine Blake DSM (1887-1965)Prospect, New South WalesAust. Flying Corps1941-1947MAJ GEN7th Military District (Northern Territory)responsible for the disposal of 'The Red Baron's' remains
65Francis Plumley Derham CB DSO (1885-1957)Eaglehawk, VictoriaArtillery1942-43MAJ GEN4th Division-
65Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd CBE (1899-1956)South Fremantle, Western AustraliaInfantry1942; 1943-46MAJ GENAdjutant Generalyoungest Aussie general, at 42yo
66Sir John Northcott KCMG KCVO (1890-1966)Creswick, VictoriaInfantry1941-1956General (Hon)1st Armoured Division; Chief of the General Stafffirst Australian-born Governor of New South Wales; Acting Governor General (1951 & 1956)
67John Joseph Murray DSO & Bar MC (1892-1951)Sydney, New South WalesInfantry1942-1944MAJ GEN10th Division; 4th Division; Northern Territory Force-
68Sir Clive Selwyn Steele KBE DSO MC (1892-1955)Canterbury, VictoriaEngineers1942-1945MAJ GEN3rd Armoured Division-
69Cyril Albert Clowes CBE DSO MC (1892-1968)Warwick, QueenslandArtillery1942-1946LT GEN1st Division; Milne Bay Force-
70Sir Stan Savige KBE CB DSO MC (1890-1954)Morwell, VictoriaInfantry1942-1946LT GEN3rd Division; I Corps-
71Eric Clive Pegus Plant CB DSO OBE (1890-1950)Charters Towers, QueenslandInfantry1942-1950MAJ GEN--
72Allan Joseph Boase CBE (1894-1964)Gympie, QueenslandInfantry1942-1957LT GENAIF Ceylon (Sri Lanka); 6th Division; 11th Division-
73Leslie Ellis Beavis CBE DSO (1895-1975)Bathurst, New South WalesArtillery1942-1952MAJ GENMaster Gunner Ordnance-
74John Stewart Whitelaw CB CBE (1894-1964)Hawthorn, VictoriaArtillery1942-1951MAJ GEN-with son, also John Whitelaw, an Aussie father-son generals duo
75George Alan Vasey CB CBE DSO & Bar (1895-1945)Malvern East, VictoriaInfantry1942-1945
MAJ GEN6th Division; 7th Division-
76John Chapman CB DSO & Bar OBE (1896-1963)Braidwood, New South WalesInfantry1942-1953MAJ GEN--
77Cecil Callaghan CB CMG DSO VD (1890-1967)Sydney, New South WalesArtillery1942-1947MAJ GEN8th Division-
78James Durrant CMG DSO (1885-1963)Glenelg, South AustraliaArtillery1942-1944MAJ GENQueensland Lines of Communication Area; 5th Division-
79Sir Frank Berryman KCVO CB CBE DSO (1894-1981)Geelong, VictoriaArtillery1942-1954LT GENII Corps-
80Colin Simpson CBE MC VD (1894-1964)Saint Kilda, VictoriaSignals1942-MAJ GEN-first Australian Corps of Signals officer to reach Major General
81Sir Jack Stevens KBE CB DSO MSM ED (1896-1969)Daylesford, VictoriaSignals1942-1950MAJ GEN4th Division; Northern Territory Force / 11th Division-
81William James MacAvoy Locke MC (1894-1962)St Kilda, VictoriaInfantry1942-1947MAJ GEN3rd Armoured Division-yet to be connected
82Sir George Frederick Wootten KBE CB DSO (1893-1970)Marrickville, New South WalesInfantry1943-1950MAJ GEN9th Division; 3rd Division-
83Sir William Bridgeford KBE CB DSO MC (1894-1971)Smeaton, VictoriaInfantry1943-1954LT GEN5th Division; 3rd Armoured Division-
84Sir Alan Ramsay CB CBE DSO (1895-1973)Windsor, VictoriaArtillery1944-1945MAJ GEN5th Division-
85Kenneth Eather CB CBE DSO (1901-1993)Balmain, New South WalesInfantry1945-1946MAJ GEN11th Division-


As was the case following the First World War most of the General staff retired in the post-war period of about five years. Only John Whitelaw (1951), Leslie Beavis (1952), Sir Horace Robertson (1954), Sir Sydney Rowell (1954), Sir Frank Berryman (1954), Sir William Bridgeford (1954), Sir John Northcott (1956), Allan Boase (1957) and John Chapman (1963) continued to serve beyond 1950, providing continuity. It was also different from before strategically. Whereas the reaction to WWI was 'that was the war to end all wars' or 'she'll be right, Britain has our back', now we needed a different ally. And that was in the form of the USA. And the focus would be on regional conflicts and peacekeeping, especially in the face of colony after colony seeking, and in several cases fighting for, their independence from the global British Empire. A Cold War developed between the two new 'super-powers'; the USA and the USSR (the UK was virtually bankrupt, Germany and Japan crushed). De-colonisation in South East Asia. And conflicts came, and came close to Australia. There soon came the Malayan Emergency 1948-60, Korean War (1950-53), Indonesian Confrontation 1963-66 and Vietnam War, for Australia, 1962-73.

If 'leadership heroes' are sought for the period, we need look no further than LT GEN Sir Harry Wells, LT GEN Sir Reg Pollard, General Sir John Wilton and General Sir Frank Hassett.

No. Photo Name Birth-place Previous Corps Years as General Highest rank attained Commands Notes
88Sir Henry Wells KBE CB DSO (1898-1973)Kyneton, VictoriaInfantry1946-1959LT GENChief of the Defence Force-
89Robert Harold Nimmo CBE (1893-1966)Brisbane, QueenslandLight Horse1946-1954LT GEN--
90Sir Robert Risson CB CBE DSO (1901-92)Ma Ma Creek, QueenslandEngineers1946-MAJ GEN--
91Victor Clarence Secombe CB CBE (1898-1968)Glen Wills, VictoriaEngineers1946-LT GENMaster Gunner Ordnance-
92Warren Anderson CBE DSO (1894-1973)Singleton, New South WalesLight Horse; Armoured1947-51MAJ GENAdjutant-General; Second Member of the Military Board-
93Sir Frederick 'Black Jack' Galleghan DSO OBE ISO (1897-1971)Jesmond, New South WalesInfantry1948-51MAJ GENAustralian Military Mission to GermanyPOW at Changi
94Sir Kingsley Norris KBE CB DSO (1893-1984)Lillydale, VictoriaMedical1948-MAJ GENMedical Services-
95Selwyn Porter CBE DSO (1905-63)Tintaldra, VictoriaInfantry1948-1955MAJ GEN3rd Division-
96Ronald Nicholas Lamond Hopkins CBE (1897-1990)Stawell, VictoriaArmoured1948-MAJ GEN2nd Division-
97Sir Victor Windeyer KBE CB DSO & Bar (1900-87)Hunters Hill, New South WalesInfantry1950-1957MAJ GENRMC Duntroon-
98Rudolph Bierwirth CBE (1899-1993)Kent Town, South AustraliaInfantry1950-1957LT GENBritish Commonwealth Forces Korea-
99Sir Eric Woodward KCMG KCVO CB CBE DSO (1899-1967)Hay, New South WalesInfantry1951-1957LT GEN-later Governor of New South Wales
100Sir Ragnar Garrett KBE CB (1900-77)Northam, Western AustraliaLight Horse1951-1960LT GENSouthern Command; Chief of the General Staff-
101Sir Ivan Dougherty CBE DSO & Bar (1907-98)Leadville, New South WalesInfantry1952-1957MAJ GEN2nd Division; CMF member of the Military Board-
102Heathcote 'Tack' Hammer CBE DSO & Bar (1905-77)Southern Cross, Western AustraliaInfantry1953-1956MAJ GEN2nd Armoured Division; 3rd Division-
103Ian Ross Campbell CBE DSO (1900-97)Moss Vale, New South WalesInfantry1953-1957MAJ GENRMC Duntroon-
107Sir Reginald Pollard KCVO KBE CB DSO (1903-78)Bathurst, New South WalesInfantry1953-1963LT GENBritish Commonwealth Forces Korea; Chief of the General Staff-
104Hector Edgar CBE DSO (1903-78)Mt Korong, VictoriaInfantry1954-1963LT GENDeputy Chief of the General Staff; Southern Command; Eastern Command-
105Arthur Wilson CBE DSO (1897-1982)Sydney, New South WalesArtillery1954-1957MAJ GENCentral Command-
106Derek Deighton AO MBE (1930-91)Kandy, Ceylon (Sri Lanka)Infantry; Transport-1957MAJ GENLogistics Command-
108Stanley Legge CBE (1900-77)Turramurra, New South WalesInfantry1950s-1957MAJ GEN-father-son generals duo with James Legge
109Sir Denzil Macarthur-Onslow CBE DSO (1904-84)Whataupoko, Poverty Bay, New ZealandArmoured1955-1961MAJ GEN2nd Division; CMF member on the Military Boardwith uncle, James Macarthur-Onslow, Australia's only uncle-nephew generals duo
110Ronald McNicoll CBE AM (1906-96)Melbourne, VictoriaEngineers1956-1964MAJ GEN--
111Sir John Wilton KBE CB DSO (1910-81)Strawberry Hills, New South WalesInfantry1957-1970GeneralRMC Duntroon; Chief of the General Staff; Chief of the Defence Forcefirst Gen. since Blamey; achieved an integrated defence organisation
112John Stevenson CBE (1925-2008)Bondi, New South WalesInfantry1957-1959MAJ GEN2nd Division-
113Noel Simpson CB CBE DSO (1907-71)Temora, New South WalesInfantry1959-1964MAJ GEN3rd Division-yet to be connected
114Sir Tom Daly KBE CB DSO (1913-2004)Ballarat, VictoriaInfantry1959-1971LT GENChief of the General Staff-yet to be connected
115Sir Mervyn Brogan KBE CB (1915-94)Crows Nest, New South WalesInfantry1962-1973LT GENChief of the General Staff-
116Paul Cullen AC DSO (1909-2007)Newcastle, New South WalesInfantry1962-1966MAJ GENMilitary Board as CMF memberfirst Australian general of Jewish descent since Monash
117Robert William Knights CB CBE (1912-75)Canberra, Australian Capital TerritoryInfantry1963-1969MAJ GENRMC Duntroon-
118Sir Francis "Frank" Hassett AC KBE CB DSO LVO (1918-2008)Marrickville, New South WalesInfantry1963-1977GeneralChief of the General Staff; Chief of the Defence Force-
119Charles Edward Long CBE (1913-80)Moonah, TasmaniaInfantry1965-1970MAJ GEN--
120Kenneth Mackay CB MBE (1917-2004)Waverley, New South WalesInfantry1966-1974MAJ GENAustralian Military Forces, Vietnam; 1st Division-
121John Broadbent CBE DSO (1914-2006)Manly, New South WalesInfantry1966-1967MAJ GEN2nd Division-
122Douglas Timothy Vincent CB AM OBE (1916-95)Corinda, QueenslandInfantry1967-1973MAJ GENAustralian Military Forces, Vietnam-
123Sir Arthur MacDonald KBE CB (1919-95)Rockhampton, QueenslandInfantry1968-1976GeneralChief of the General Staff; Chief of the Defence Force Staff-
124Colin Fraser CB CBE (1918-2001)Nairobi, KenyaInfantry1969-1978MAJ GENRMC Duntroon-
125Robert Arthur Hay CB MBE (1920-98)Bendigo, VictoriaInfantry1969-1977MAJ GENAustralian Military Forces, Vietnam; RMC Duntroon-
126Stuart Clarence Graham AO DSO OBE MC (1920-96)Ulmarra, New South WalesInfantry1969-1977MAJ GEN1st Division-
127Norman Vickery CBE MC (1917-98)Canterbury, New South WalesArtillery1969-1974MAJ GEN--
128Sir Donald Dunstan AC KBE CB (1923-2011)Murray Bridge, South AustraliaInfantry1970-1982LT GENAustralian Military Forces, Vietnam; Chief of the General Staff30th and longest-serving Governor of South Australia
129Cedric 'Sandy' Pearson AO DSO OBE MC (1918-2012)Kurri Kurri, New South WalesInfantry1970-1975MAJ GENRMC Duntroon-
130William Henderson AO DSO OBE (1919-95)Clifton Hill, VictoriaInfantry1970s-1976MAJ GEN--


Post-Vietnam era

No. Photo Name Birth-place Previous Corps Years as General Highest rank attained Commands Notes
131Gordon Maitland AO OBE (1926-2018)Rockdale, New South WalesInfantry1974-1982MAJ GEN2nd Division; Chief of the Army Reserve-yet to be connected
132Donald Begg OBE (1924-2021)Sydney, New South WalesArtillery1974-1976MAJ GENLogistics Command-
137Ronald Hughes CBE DSO (1920-2003)Kensington, South AustraliaInfantry1974-1977MAJ GEN1st Division; Chief of the Reservebrother of MAJ GEN Jim Hughes
133Bruce McDonald AO DSO OBE MC (1925-93)Geelong, VictoriaInfantry1975-1977MAJ GEN1st Division; Training Command-
134John Whitelaw AO CBE (1921-2010)Hawthorn, VictoriaArtillery1970s-1977MAJ GENChief of Operations; Chief of Personnel; Deputy Chief of the General Staffwith father, also John Whitelaw, an Aussie father-son generals duo
135Alan Stretton AO CBE (1922-2012)Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry1970s-1979MAJ GEN-later director-general of the Natural Disasters Organisation
136Alan 'Alby' Morrison AO MBE DSO (1927-2008)Haberfield, New South WalesInfantry1970s-1981MAJ GENRMC Duntroon; Chief of Personnelhis son, LT GEN John Morrison, later made them a father-son Australian generals duoyet to be connected
138John Stevenson AO CBE (1925-2008)AustraliaArtillery1976-1982MAJ GENLogistic Command-
139Sir Philip Bennett AC KBE DSO (1928-)Perth, Western AustraliaInfantry1977-1987General1st Division; Chief of the General Staff; Chief of the Defence Forcelater Governor of Tasmania
140Peter Gration AC OBE (1932-)Richmond, VictoriaEngineers1980s-1993GeneralChief of the General Staff; Chief of the Defence Forcebrother of AIRMSHL Barry Gration, Chief of the Air Staff
141William 'Digger' James AC MBE MC (1930-2015)Shepparton, VictoriaMedical1981-1984MAJ GENDirector-General Army Health Servicescredited with reshaping and modernising the Army Health Servicesyet to be connected
142Kevin Latchford AO (1927-2013)AustraliaArmoured1981-1984MAJ GENNational Disaster Organisation-
143David Matheson Butler AO DSO (1928-2020)Guildford, Western AustraliaInfantry1982-84MAJ GENOCS Portsea; Training Command-yet to be connected
144Lawrence O'Donnell AC (1933-)Quairading, Western AustraliaInfantry1984-1990LT GENField Force Command; Land Command; Chief of the General Staff-
145Michael Jeffery AC CVO MC (1937-2020)Wiluna, Western AustraliaInfantry1985-93MAJ GEN1st Division; Deputy Chief of the General StaffGovernor of Western Australia; Governor General of Australiayet to be connected
146James Barry AM MBE (1932-)Melbourne, VictoriaCMF1985-1987MAJ GEN3rd DivisionAustralian Gymnastic Federation; International Federation of Gymnastics
147James 'Jim' Hughes DSO MC (1929-2016)Norwood, South AustraliaInfantry1980s-1986MAJ GEN1st Division; Chief of the Reservebrother of MAJ GEN Ronald Hughes
148John Coates AC MBE (1932-2018)Adelaide, South AustraliaInfantry1987-1992LT GENAssistant Chief of the Defence Force (Policy); Chief of the General Staff-
149John Baker AC DSM (1936-2007)Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry1987-1998GeneralChief of the Defence Forceoversaw biggest services structural shake-up since the Second World War
150John Grey AC (1939-)Sydney, New South WalesArmoured1989-1995LT GENChief of the General Staff-
151John Sanderson AC (1940-)Geraldton, Western AustraliaEngineers1989-1998LT GENChief of the ArmyGovernor of Western Australia
152Francis 'Frank' Hickling AO CSC (1941-)Gosford, New South WalesEngineers1990-2000LT GENNorthern Command; Training Command; ADFA; Land Command; Chief of the Army-
153Duncan Francis AO OBE (1937-2004)Perth, Western AustraliaInfantry-1994MAJ GEN--
154Peter Arnison AC CVO (1940-)-Infantry1994-1996MAJ GENLand CommandGovernor of Queensland
155Steve Gower AO (1940-)Adelaide, South AustraliaArtillery1995-96MAJ GENTraining CommandDirector Australian War Memorial-
156Clifton Hoeben AM (1947-)New South WalesLegal-2000MAJ GEN2nd Division-
157Sir Peter Cosgrove AK CVO MC (1947-)Sydney, New South WalesInfantry1998-2005General1st Division; INTERFET; Chief of the Army; Chief of the Defence ForceGovernor-General of Australia
158Senator Jim Molan AO DSC (1950-2023)AustraliaInfantry2000-2008MAJ GEN1st Division; Australian Defence CollegeSenator for NSW
159Peter Leahy AC (1952-)Melbourne, VictoriaInfantry2000-2008LT GENChief of the Army-
160David Hurley AC DSC (1953-)Wollongong, New South WalesInfantry2001-2014GeneralCapability Systems Division; Land Command; Chief of Joint Operations; Chief of the Defence ForceGovernor of New South Wales; Governor-General of Australia
161Leonard Roberts-Smith (1946-)Adelaide, South AustraliaLegal2002-2007MAJ GENJudge Advocate GeneralChair, Defence Abuse Response Taskforce
162Mark Evans AO DSC (1953-)Kluang, MalayaInfantry2002-11LT GEN1st Division; Deputy Chief of Joint Operations at Headquarters Joint Operations Command; Chief of Joint Operations-
163Ken Gillespie AC DSC CSM (1952-)Brisbane, QueenslandEngineers2004-2011LT GENLand Command; Chief of the Army-
164David Morrison AO (1956-)Cairns, QueenslandInfantry2005-2015LT GENAustralian Defence College; Forces Command; Chief of the Armyfather-son Aussie generals duo with MAJ GEN Alby Morrison
165Elizabeth Cosson AM CSC (1958-living)--2007-10MAJ GEN-Australia's first female general; Secretary of the Department of Veterans' Affairs
166Angus Campbell AO DSCNew South WalesInfantry2011-currentGeneralJoint Task Force 633; Operation Sovereign Borders; Chief of the Army; Chief of the Defence Force-
167Richard 'Rick' Burr DSC AO MVO (1964-)Renmark, South AustraliaInfantry2011-currentLT GEN1st Division; Chief of the Army-
168Michael Clifford AM CSC (1956-2017)AustraliaSignals-2013MAJ GEN--yet to be connected
169Brian Dawson AM CSC (1956-)Traralgon, VictoriaInfantry-2013MAJ GENAustralian Defence Force AcademyAssistant Director, Australian War Memorial
170Peter Dunn AO (1947-)Ballarat, VictoriaInfantry-2013MAJ GEN-Commissioner for the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services Authority
171Simone Wilkie nee Burt AO (1964-)Ballarat, VictoriaSignals2013-18MAJ GENAustralian Defence College-
172Stephen Day DSC AM---MAJ GENChief of Plans for ISAF Joint Command, Afghanistanco-ordinator general for Drought; president RSL Queensland


General Sir John Winthrop Hackett GCB CBE DSO & Bar MC MA BLitt (1910-97) was a Western Australian-born British general and nephew of Australia's Major General Senator Edmund Drake-Brockman. Hackett's ashes are interred at Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth.


The Australian Army has, as at 2020, three Lieutenant Generals and 22 Major Generals. At a generals to servicepeople ratio of 1 : 2,200, this number is regarded as one of the most bloated 'general's clubs' in the western world.

Commonwealth Headquarters Staff 1904

Commonwealth Headquarters Staff 1904

Back row, left to right: Captain Percy Neville Buckley; Commander (later Sir) Samuel Augustus Pethebridge (Secretary for Defence); Surgeon General Sir William Daniel Williams (Director General Medical Services); F Savage Esq.
Front row: Colonel Haviland Le Mesurier (Chief of Ordnance); Colonel (later Major General) John C Hoad (Deputy Adjutant General); Lieutenant Colonel (later Lieutenant General) James W McCay (Minister for Defence; Chairman); Colonel (later Major General) William Throsby Bridges (Chief of Intelligence), J A Thompson Esq. (Civil and Finance Member). [1]

Chiefs of the General Staff / Chiefs of Army

A chronological list of these Australian Generals who have served appointments as the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), since 1997 known as Chief of Army (CA), appears on The Australian Army free space page. The Chief of Army is the most senior appointment in the Australian Army, Australia's top soldier, responsible to both the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary, Department of Defence (SECDEF). Today, the rank associated with the position is Lieutenant General. Whilst still the top soldier, the CA is subordinate to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), which rotates between the three services.


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[Category: Australian Army Generals, World War I|Australian Army Generals, World War I]
[Category: Australian Army Generals, World War II|Australian Army Generals, World War II]
[Category: Australian Army Generals, Korean War|Australian Army Generals, Korean War]
[Category: Australian Army Generals, Vietnam War|Australian Army Generals, Vietnam War]

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Sources

  1. Stockings, Craig. The Making And Breaking Of The Post-federation Australian Army, 1901–09. Land Warfare Studies Centre, Canberra, July 2007; accessed 17 Oct 2019




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