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Sir Thomas Albert Blamey
24 January 1884 – 27 May 1951 (aged 67)
Blamey.jpg
Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Blamey c. 1939
Place of birth Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Place of death Heidelberg, Victoria
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1906–1945
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific
Australian Military Forces
I Corps
6th Division
3rd Division
10th Brigade
Battles/wars First World War

Second World War

Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Bachelor
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John
Mentioned in Despatches (8)
Efficiency Decoration
Croix de guerre (France)
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
War Cross (Greece)
Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
Other work Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police (1925–1936)

Field Marshal Sir Thomas Albert Blamey GBE, KCB, CMG, DSO, ED (24 January 1884 – 27 May 1951) was an Australian General of the Second World War and the first, and to date only, Australian to attain the rank of Field Marshal.

As a regular soldier in the First World War, Blamey served as a staff officer at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. The pinnacle of his career was during the Second World War, as Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces, serving simultaneously in international command as Commander-in-Chief Allied Land Forces in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) under American General Douglas MacArthur. On 2 September 1945, Blamey was with MacArthur on USS Missouri and signed the Japanese surrender document on behalf of Australia. He then flew to Morotai and personally accepted the surrender of the remaining Japanese in the South West Pacific.

Contents

Early career

The seventh of ten children, Blamey was born and grew up in Lake Albert near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.[1] After some earlier farming failures, his father ran a small farm and worked as a drover and shearing overseer. Blamey acquired the bush skills associated with his father’s enterprises and became a sound horseman. He was a keen and efficient member of the Army Cadets at his school. He also passed a test to become a police officer.

Blamey began his working life in 1899 as a trainee school teacher in the Wagga Wagga area before moving to Western Australia in 1903 to continue his teaching career. He was involved in school cadets as a teacher at Wagga Wagga and in Western Australia.

Blamey was also heavily involved in the Methodist Church and had been since childhood. By early 1906 he was being encouraged by the Church leaders in Western Australia to enter training as a minister, which he was disposed to do.

However, upon the creation of the Cadet Instructional Staff of the Australian Military Forces he saw a new opportunity. He sat the entrance exam and came third in Australia, but failed to secure an appointment as there were no vacancies in Western Australia. After persuasive correspondence with the military authorities he was appointed to a position in Victoria with the rank of lieutenant, commencing duty in November 1906 with responsibility for school cadets in Victoria.

Blamey married Minnie Millard on 8 September 1909. His first child, a boy named Dolf, was born on 29 June 1910. His second child, a boy named Thomas, was born four years later.

He was promoted to captain in 1910. In 1911, after previous candidates had failed it, he was the first Australian officer to pass the demanding entrance test for the British Staff College, which trained officers for higher command. He began his studies at the Staff College at Quetta in India in 1912, accompanied by his wife and first child. He performed very well, completing the course in 1913.

Blamey was sent to Britain for more training in May 1914, visiting Turkey (including the Dardanelles), Germany and Belgium en route. He spent a brief time on attachment to the 4th Dragoon Guards and then took up duties on the staff of the Wessex Division, at that time entering its annual camp. On 1 July 1914, he was promoted to major.

First World War

Blamey served in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in the First World War. In mid-1914 Blamey had been in Britain on the staff of the Wessex Division. In November he sailed for Egypt, along with Harry Chauvel, to join the Australian contingent and became intelligence officer on the staff of the Australian 1st Division for the Battle of Gallipoli. During the landing at Anzac Cove, Blamey was sent to evaluate the need for reinforcements by Colonel M'Cay's 2nd Brigade on 400 Plateau. He confirmed that they were in such need, and the reinforcements were sent.

On the night of 13 May 1915, Blamey, in his capacity as intelligence officer, led a patrol consisting of himself, Sergeant J.H. Will and Bombardier A.A. Orchard, behind the Turkish lines in an effort to locate the Olive Grove guns that had been harassing the beach. Near Pine Ridge, an enemy party of eight Turks approached and one of them went to bayonet Orchard, so Blamey shot him with his revolver. In the action that followed, six Turks were killed. Blamey withdrew his patrol back to the Australian lines without locating the guns. Later, examination of the fuse setting on a dud round revealed that the guns were much further to the south than had been realised.

Blamey was always interested in technical innovation. He was instrumental in the adoption of the periscope rifle at Gallipoli, an instrument which he saw during an inspection of the front line. He arranged for the inventor, Lance Corporal W.C.B. Beech, to be seconded to division headquarters to develop the idea. Within a few days, the design was perfected and periscope rifles began to be used throughout the Australian trenches.

In July 1915 Blamey was given a staff appointment as a General Staff Officer, Grade 2 (GSO2),[2] and in September 1915 he was promoted to temporary lieutenant-colonel and joined the staff of the newly forming Australian 2nd Division in Egypt as its Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General (AA&QMG) - the senior administrative officer of the division.[3] Its commander, Major General James Gordon Legge preferred to have an Australian colonel in this post as he felt that a British officer might not take such care of the troops. However, after the Australian forces moved to France in 1916, a conflict between GSO1 of the Australian 2nd Division and his British commander saw Blamey return to the 1st Division as GSO1,[4] in which capacity he was involved in the Battle of Pozières, gaining credit for the attack which captured the town.

Blamey briefly held battalion and brigade command posts in late 1916 and early 1917, but British Expeditionary Force orders forbade the use of staff college graduates in command positions. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in the 1917 New Year Honours.[5] He was promoted to brigadier-general on 1 June 1918 and became chief of corps staff of Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash's Australian Corps. He played a significant role in the success of Monash's corps in the final months of the war; Monash rated him as one of the key factors in his Corps' success in the Battle of Amiens in August and the attack on the Hindenburg Line in September. On 1 January 1918 he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).[6]

Blamey remained interested in technological innovation. He was impressed by the capabilities of the new models of tanks and pressed for their use at Battle of Hamel, where they played an important part in the success of the battle. He noted the wide use that the Germans had made of their mustard gas and took extraordinary steps to arrange for a supply of mustard gas shells for the assault on the Hindenburg Line in September. For his services as Corps Chief of Staff, Blamey was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).[7] In all, he was Mentioned in Despatches seven times and was also awarded the French Croix de guerre.[8]

Inter-war years

Blamey returned to Australia in late 1919 and became director of Military Operations at Army Headquarters. In May 1920 he was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff. His first major task was the creation of the Royal Australian Air Force. In August he was sent to London to be Australia's representative on the Imperial General Staff.

When the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lieutenant General Sir Cyril Brudenell White, retired in 1923, Blamey was expected to succeed him as CGS as he had as chief of staff of the Australian Corps in France. However there were objections from more senior officers, so the Inspector General, Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel, was made CGS as well, and Blamey was given the new post of Second CGS, in which he performed most of the duties of CGS.

On 1 September 1925, Blamey transferred from the Permanent Military Forces to the Militia, and on 1 May 1926 he took command of the 10th Infantry Brigade, part of the 3rd Division. Blamey took command of the division on 23 March 1931 and was promoted to major-general, one of only four militia officers promoted to this rank between 1929 and 1939. In 1937 he was transferred to the unattached list.

He was appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, where scandal first found him. During a raid on a brothel, the police were about to take into custody a "rather short, stocky, moustachioed gentleman when he produced a police badge, told them he was a detective, and bally-hooed his way free". The badge (number 80) was found to belong to the new police commissioner - Thomas Blamey. A second scandal occurred in 1936 when Blamey attempted to cover up details of the shooting of a police officer. This ultimately led to his dismissal as Chief Commissioner.

As Police Commissioner he had directed the 'political police squad' to break up Unemployed Workers Movement meetings at Sydney Road in working class Brunswick. Blamey's treatment of the unionists was typical of his hardline anti-communist beliefs and as such his relations with left-wing governments were tense. Along with many senior army and ex-army officers, he was a leading member of the clandestine far-right wing organisation League of National Security. The LNS was reportedly a response to the rise of communism in Australia, its members ready to seize arms from military installations to stop a communist revolution.

From early 1938 Blamey supplemented his income by making radio broadcasts on international affairs. He was appalled at Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews. Later that year, Blamey was appointed chairman of the Commonwealth Government's Manpower Committee and controller-general of recruiting. As such, he laid the foundation for the expansion of the Army in the event of war with Germany or Japan, which he now regarded as inevitable.

Blamey was knighted in the 1935 New Year Honours.[9][10] His first wife died later that year. On 5 April 1939 Blamey married a 35-year-old fashion artist, Olga Ora Farnsworth, at St John's Anglican Church, Toorak. In 1936 he was appointed a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[11]

Second World War

Blamey with General MacArthur (centre) and Prime Minister Curtin (right) in March 1942

On 13 October 1939, Blamey was promoted lieutenant general and appointed to command the 6th Division, the first formation of the new Second Australian Imperial Force. Generals John Lavarack and Gordon Bennett also were considered for the post, and had their supporters, but Blamey was the preferred choice of Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Menzies limited Blamey's choice of commanders by insisting that they be selected from the Militia rather than the PMF.

Blamey travelled to the Middle-East with the 2nd AIF as its commander. He occasionally clashed with the British Commanders-in-Chief Middle East, General Archibald Wavell and his successor, General Claude Auchinleck, over the employment of Australian forces. He refused to allow his troops to perform police duties in Palestine, and insisted that they remain together as cohesive units, and no Australian forces were to be deployed or engaged without the prior consent of the Australian government. The government strengthened his hand by promoting him to full general, and Blamey was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief Middle East.[12][13]

However, Blamey was not inflexible and permitted Australian units to be detached when there was a genuine military need. Because the situation in the Middle East tended to lurch from crisis to crisis, this resulted in his troops becoming widely scattered at times. Blamey has been criticised for allowing Australian troops to be sent on a dangerous mission to Greece after he had been told that Menzies had approved and Menzies had been informed that Blamey had approved. Blamey was under no illusions about the odds of success and immediately prepared plans for an evacuation.[14][15][16] Blamey's foresight and determination saved many of his men but he lost credibility when he chose his son to fill the one remaining seat on the aircraft carrying him out of Greece. He was Mentioned in Despatches,[17] and awarded the Greek Military Cross, First Class.[18]

In the Syrian campaign (against the Vichy French), Blamey took decisive action to resolve the command difficulties caused by General Henry Maitland Wilson's attempt to direct the fighting from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by interposing Lieutenant-General John Lavarack's I Corps headquarters.

Later Blamey forced another showdown with Auchinleck over his insistence that the Australian 9th Division be withdrawn from Tobruk, allowing his command to be concentrated in Syria. Blamey was supported by Prime Minister John Curtin and Auchinleck was forced to back down.[19] For his campaigns in the Middle East, he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) on 1 January 1942.[20][21]

In 1942, Blamey was recalled to Australia to become the Commander-in-Chief Australian Military Forces (AMF), and then Commander of Allied Land Forces as well. Some of Blamey's most controversial actions concern the period after the Japanese declared war, and United States General Douglas MacArthur retreated to Australia.

MacArthur confided to the US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall in Washington, D.C. that he was "not yet convinced of the efficiency of the Australian units",[22] and was highly critical of their performance during the early battles in New Guinea. "The Australians," he reported to Marshall, "have proven themselves unable to match the enemy in jungle fighting".[23] Blamey appeared to be keen not to antagonise MacArthur or publicly hold a dissenting view. For example, during a speech to 21st Brigade, 2nd AIF, on 9 November 1942, he spoke of "rabbits who run" and "the brigade gave to what he said interpretation that 'they ran like rabbits', an accusation of cowardice against the men that was received by them with intense bitterness.[24] It was seen as contrasting with his own inability to stand up to MacArthur and the Prime Minister. Rowell felt that Blamey "had not shown the necessary 'moral courage' to fight the Cabinet on an issue of confidence in me."[25] However, when American troops were checked at Buna, Blamey turned the tables on MacArthur and "frankly said he would rather send in more Australians, as he knew they would fight", (despite his "rabbits who run" comment only weeks before).[26] Later, Blamey thwarted MacArthur's proposal to use the Australian Army primarily for logistic support and leave combat roles to American troops.[27]

General Blamey's opinion of Japanese men and women was not much better: According to official Australian Government sources, he described the Japanese as "a subhuman beast". At the beginning of the following year he informed soldiers that the Japanese was "a curious race - a cross between the human being and the ape".[28]

The relationship between MacArthur and Blamey was generally good, and they had great respect for each other's abilities. MacArthur's main problem was that as Commander-in-Chief AMF, Blamey was not wholly under his command. MacArthur accepted a number of changes that Blamey made to his strategy, the most notable of which was probably moving the landing on New Britain to before the attack on Madang. The only major dispute with MacArthur that Blamey lost was his attempt to prevent the Australian 7th Division from being sent to Balikpapan in 1945, an operation that Blamey thought was unnecessary. On this occasion, Blamey was not supported by the government, and the operation went ahead as planned.

Blamey's conduct of the New Guinea campaign of 1942 attracted scathing criticism at the time from armchair strategists, who felt that he was packing New Guinea with troops that would be forced to surrender like the troops in Singapore and Bataan if they were cut off by the Japanese Navy. However, after the Battle of Midway, the Japanese no longer had the strength to do this. At the Battle of Wau in 1943, Blamey won the battle by acting decisively on intelligence, shifting the 17th Infantry Brigade from Milne Bay in time to defeat the Japanese attack. For this campaign, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) on 28 May 1943.[29]

Blamey briefing journalists on operations around Lae in September 1943

In 1943, he captured Lae with a classic double envelopment, with the 7th Division attacking from the west by air and the 9th Division from the east by sea. There was criticism from Earle Page of the way that Blamey conducted operations in malarious areas. Administrative arrangements for the final campaigns were criticised by the government, although matters were not entirely in Blamey's hands, and the critical shortage of logistical troops was caused by the government's own actions.

Blamey remained a devotee of new technology, obtaining DUKWs and LVTs for the Lae operation. He attempted to acquire helicopters, but met resistance from the RAAF.

Blamey's treatment of senior officers was also controversial. Biographers of many of Blamey's Second World War contemporaries, including Generals John Lavarack and Gordon Bennett and Brigadier Potts, have claimed that their subjects were dealt with unfairly, and in some cases atrociously, by Blamey — in ways ranging from holding rivals back from promotion, through to their dismissal from command appointments in order to cover up Blamey's own shortcomings. At Finschhafen, Blamey responded to a request from Lieutenant-General Sir Iven Mackay to relieve Lieutenant-General Sir Edmund Herring by immediately sending Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead, even though Herring was a friend and Blamey retained confidence in him. Later in the war there was political criticism of the way that Blamey had "side tracked" various generals, something that was probably inevitable in an Army that was rapidly shrinking in size.

Blamey (at the table) about to sign the Japanese surrender document on behalf of Australia. Behind General Blamey are the other members of the Australian delegation and the other Allied delegations.

On 2 September 1945, Blamey was with MacArthur on USS Missouri and signed the Japanese surrender document on behalf of Australia. He then flew to Morotai and personally accepted the surrender of the remaining Japanese in the South West Pacific. He insisted that Australia should be represented in the Allied occupation of Japan.[30]

The "running rabbits" incident

On 22 October 1942, after the relief of the 21st Brigade by the 25th Infantry Brigade, Blamey visited the remnants of Maroubra Force at Koitaki camp, near Port Moresby. While Rowell had allowed Potts to return to his brigade, Herring, who was unfamiliar with Potts, preferred to have Brigadier Ivan Dougherty, an officer Herring was familiar with from his time in command of Northern Territory Force. Blamey relieved Potts of his command, citing Potts' failure to hold back the Japanese, despite commanding "superior forces" and, despite explicit orders to the contrary, Potts' failure to launch an offensive to re-take Kokoda. Blamey explained that Prime Minister John Curtin had told him to say that failures like Kokoda would not be tolerated. Blamey replaced Potts with Brigadier Ivan Dougherty, who was to command the 21st Infantry Brigade until the end of the war, while Potts went to the 23rd Infantry Brigade.

Later (9 November 1942), Blamey addressed the men of the 21st Infantry Brigade on a parade ground. Maroubra Force expected congratulations for their efforts in holding back the Japanese. However, instead of praising them, Blamey told the brigade that they had been "beaten" by inferior forces, and that "no soldier should be afraid to die". "Remember," Blamey was reported as saying, "it's the rabbit who runs who gets shot, not the man holding the gun." There was a wave of murmurs and restlessness among the soldiers. Officers and senior NCOs managed to quiet the soldiers and many later said that Blamey was lucky to escape with his life. Later that day, during a march-past parade, many disobeyed the "eyes right" order. In a later letter to his wife, an enraged Brigadier Potts swore to "fry his [Blamey's] soul in the afterlife" over this incident. According to witnesses, when Blamey subsequently visited Australian wounded in the camp hospital, inmates nibbled lettuce, while wrinkling their noses and whispering "run, rabbit, run" (the chorus of a popular song during the war).[31] Thereafter, "he was almost invariably" referred to as "That bastard Blamey".[32]

Post-war

Blamey was abruptly retired in 1946. He returned to Melbourne, where he devoted himself to business affairs, to writing, and to promoting the welfare of ex-service personnel. In the late 1940s he became involved in 'The Association', an organisation similar to the earlier 'White Army', which was established to counter a possible communist coup. Blamey was promoted to field marshal in the King's Birthday Honours of 8 June 1950,[33] after Menzies again became Prime Minister. Shortly afterwards, he became seriously ill and was forced to receive his field marshal's baton from the Governor-General in his hospital bed. He died of hypertensive cerebral haemorrhage on 27 May 1951 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, and was cremated. Crowds estimated at 250,000 lined the streets of Melbourne at his state funeral. Ten of his lieutenant-generals served as pallbearers: Frank Berryman, William Bridgeford, Edmund Herring, Iven Mackay, Leslie Morshead, John Northcott, Sydney Rowell, Stanley Savige, Vernon Sturdee, and Henry Wells.

Legacy

Memorial statue of Field Marshal Blamey in Kings Domain, Melbourne.

Blamey is honoured in Australia in various ways, including by the square named in his honour around which is situated the Russell Offices headquarters of the Australian Defence Force and Department of Defence in the national capital, Canberra. A larger statue is in Kings Domain, Melbourne. The Australian Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka, "Blamey Barracks", and some streets within many Australian Army Barracks establishments are named in his honour. Blamey Street and Blamey Park in North Ryde NSW are both named in his honour.

His papers are held in the Australian War Memorial, where his portrait hangs and his field marshal's baton is on display.

Dates and age of rank

Awards and decorations

Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Galó de l'Orde del Bany (UK).png

Knight Bachelor UK ribbon.png Ord.St.Michele-Giorgio.png Dso-ribbon.png Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png

1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg BWM ribbon.jpg Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png 1939-45 Star.gif

Africa Star.gif Pacific Star.gif Defence Medal BAR.svg War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png

Australian Service Medal 1939-45 ribbon.png King George V Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png King George VI Coronation Medal ribbon.png Efficiency Decoration (NZ) ribbon.png

Ruban de la Croix de guerre 1914-1918.PNG Ribbon Imperial Service Order.jpg Distinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg Neth odrorangenassau rib.png

Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire Military division (1943)[29]
Galó de l'Orde del Bany (UK).png Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath Military division (1942)[20][21] (Companion Military division 1919)[7]
Knight Bachelor UK ribbon.png Knight Bachelor (1935)[9][10]
Ord.St.Michele-Giorgio.png Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (1918)[6]
Dso-ribbon.png Distinguished Service Order (1917)[5]
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John[11]
1914-15Star Ribbon.png 1914-15 Star[citation needed]
BWMRibbon.png British War Medal[citation needed]
Victory medal (UK) ribbon.png Victory Medal[citation needed] (Oakleaf for Mention in Despatches)[citation needed]
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939-1945 Star[citation needed]
Africa Star BAR.svg Africa Star[citation needed]
PacificStarRibbon.png Pacific Star[citation needed]
Defence Medal BAR.svg Defence Medal[citation needed]
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg War Medal 1939-45[citation needed] (Oakleaf for Mention in Despatches)[citation needed]
Australian Service Medal 1939-45 ribbon.png Australia Service Medal 1939-45[citation needed]
King George V Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png King George V Silver Jubilee Medal[citation needed]
King George VI Coronation Medal ribbon.png King George VI Coronation Medal[citation needed]
Efficiency Decoration (NZ) ribbon.png Efficiency Decoration[citation needed]
Ruban de la Croix de guerre 1914-1918.PNG Croix de Guerre (France) (1919)[citation needed]
Ribbon Imperial Service Order.jpg Greek War Cross[citation needed]
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Cross (United States)[citation needed]
Neth odrorangenassau rib.png Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands) (1947)[citation needed]
  • Mentioned in Despatches; seven times in WWI; 1915, 1917 (2), 1918 (2), 1919 (2), and once in WWII; 1941[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ "Blamey film to be made". Fairfax Media (The Daily Advertiser). 2008-09-08. http://dailyadvertiser.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/blamey-film-to-be-made/1266082.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 29287, p. 8873, 7 September 1915. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. Appointed General Staff Officer—2nd Grade.
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29331, p. 10243, 15 October 1915. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Promotion to temporary Lieutenant-Colonel.
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 29703, p. 7917, 11 August 1916. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Appointed GSO1.
  5. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29886, pp. 19–28, 29 December 1916. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. New Year's Honours 1917. DSO.
  6. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30450, p. 6, 28 December 1917. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).
  7. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31245, p. 3835, 21 March 1919. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
  8. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31109, p. 312, 3 January 1919. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Croix de Guerre.
  9. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119, pp. 1–2, 28 December 1934. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Knight Bachelor.
    Citation: "Major-General Thomas Albert Blamey, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. Chief Commissioner of Police, State of Victoria. For services in connection with the Centenary Celebrations."
  10. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 34135, p. 1269, 22 February 1935. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Noted that Blamey has received his knighthood by Letters Patent.
  11. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 34356, pp. 2–3, 1 January 1937. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Commander of the The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.
  12. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35144, p. 2348, 22 April 1941. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Middle East.
  13. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, p. 3444, 2 July 1946. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. Extract from official despatch by Sir Archibald Wavell.
  14. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, pp. 3425–3431, 2 July 1946. Retrieved on 2008-08-17. Extract from official despatch by Sir Archibald Wavell.
  15. ^ London Gazette: no. 38293, p. 3046, 18 May 1948. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. 2008-08-16: Unable to retrieve.
  16. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38296, pp. 3117–3118, 21 May 1948. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Despatch to the Admiralty, 4 August 1941 by Adm Cunningham C-in-C Mediterranean regarding events of the evacuation of Crete, 31 May 1941.
  17. ^ London Gazette: no. 35396, pp. 7339–7357, 26 December 1941. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Mentioned in Despatches.
  18. ^ London Gazette: no. 35519, p. 1595, 7 April 1942. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. 2008-08-16: Unable to retrieve.
  19. ^ London Gazette: no. 37695, p. 4222, 20 August 1946. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Despatch to Secretary of State for War, 8 March 1942, by Gen Auchinleck regarding Siege of Tobruk.
  20. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35399, p. 3, 1941-12-30. Retrieved on 2009-06-18.
  21. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 35414, p. 193, 9 January 1942. Retrieved on 2008-08-16. Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
  22. ^ McCarthy, South West Pacific Area - First Year, p. 176
  23. ^ McCarthy, South-West Pacific Area - First Year, p. 225
  24. ^ McCarthy, South-West Pacific Area: First Year, pp. 334-335
  25. ^ Horner, Blamey: The Commander in Chief, p. 328
  26. ^ Kenney, George C. (1949). General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War. New York City: Duell, Sloan and Pearce. p. 151. ISBN 0-91279-944-7. 
  27. ^ Letter, MacArthur to Prime Minister, 24 August 1943; Letter, Blamey to Prime Minister, 5 October 1943, NAA (ACT): A2653/1 M37/1943
  28. ^ Blamey's opinion of the Japanese men and women
  29. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36031, p. 2373, 25 May 1943. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.
  30. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39202, pp. 2153–2154, 13 April 1951. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
  31. ^ Brune (2003). Pages 257–258.
  32. ^ Review by Carl Bridge of "David Horner, Blamey: the Commander-in-Chief, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1998", Australian War Memorial site. Accessed 2008-09-13.
  33. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38930, p. 2811, 2 June 1950. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. Field Marshal.

Bibliography

  • Brune, Peter (1991). Those Ragged Bloody Heroes: From the Kokoda Trail to Gona Beach 1942. Allen & Unwin. 
  • Brune, Peter (2003). A Bastard of a Place : The Australians in Papua. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-403-5. 
  • Carlyon, Norman (1980). I Remember Blamey. Macmillan. ISBN 0333299272. 
    • Paperback: Sun Papermac, 1981, ISBN 0725103833;
    • Reprinted: Australian Army, 1997, ISBN 0646323725
  • Hetherington, John (1973). Blamey, Controversial Soldier : a biography of Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey. Canberra. ISBN 095920430X. 
    • Reprinted 1983
  • Horner, David (1998). Blamey : The Commander-in-Chief. Allen & Unwin, Sydney. ISBN 1864487348. 
  • McCarthy, Dudley (1959). "South-West Pacific Area - First Year". Official History of Australia in the Second World War. http://www.awm.gov.au/histories/chapter.asp?volume=21. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Newly created appointment
GOC-in-C Australian Military Forces
1942 – 1945
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee
Preceded by
Newly activated organisation
GOC I Corps
1940 – 1941
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General John Lavarack

Sir Thomas Albert Blamey
Not recognized as a date. Years must have 4 digits (use leading zeros for years < 1000). – Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged Expression error: Unexpected < operator)
Place of birth Wagga Wagga, New South Wales
Place of death Heidelberg, Victoria
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1906–1946
Rank Field Marshal
Commands held Allied Land Forces, South West Pacific
Australian Military Forces
I Corps
6th Division
3rd Division
10th Brigade
Battles/wars First World War

Second World War

Awards Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Bachelor
Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John
Mentioned in Despatches (8)
Efficiency Decoration
Croix de guerre (France)
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
War Cross (Greece)
Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands)
Other work Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police (1925–1936)

Field Marshal Sir Thomas Albert Blamey GBE, KCB, CMG, DSO, ED (24 January 1884 – 27 May 1951) was an Australian General of the Second World War and the first, and to date only, Australian to attain the rank of Field Marshal.

As a regular soldier in the First World War, Blamey served as a staff officer at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. The pinnacle of his career was during the Second World War, as Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces, serving simultaneously in international command as Commander-in-Chief Allied Land Forces in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) under American General Douglas MacArthur. On 2 September 1945, Blamey was with MacArthur on USS Missouri and signed the Japanese surrender document on behalf of Australia. He then flew to Morotai and personally accepted the surrender of the remaining Japanese in the South West Pacific.

Contents

Early career

The seventh of ten children, Blamey was born and grew up in Lake Albert near Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.[1] After some earlier farming failures, his father ran a small farm and worked as a drover and shearing overseer. Blamey acquired the bush skills associated with his father’s enterprises and became a sound horseman. He was a keen and efficient member of the Army Cadets at his school. He also passed a test to become a police officer.

Blamey began his working life in 1899 as a trainee school teacher in the Wagga Wagga area before moving to Western Australia in 1903 to continue his teaching career. He was involved in school cadets as a teacher at Wagga Wagga and in Western Australia.

Blamey was also heavily involved in the Methodist Church and had been since childhood. By early 1906 he was being encouraged by the Church leaders in Western Australia to enter training as a minister, which he was disposed to do.

However, upon the creation of the Cadet Instructional Staff of the Australian Military Forces he saw a new opportunity. He sat the entrance exam and came third in Australia, but failed to secure an appointment as there were no vacancies in Western Australia. After persuasive correspondence with the military authorities he was appointed to a position in Victoria with the rank of lieutenant, commencing duty in November 1906 with responsibility for school cadets in Victoria.

Blamey married Minnie Millard on 8 September 1909. His first child, a boy named Dolf, was born on 29 June 1910. His second child, a boy named Thomas, was born four years later.

He was promoted to captain in 1910. In 1911, after previous candidates had failed it, he was the first Australian officer to pass the demanding entrance test for the British Staff College, which trained officers for higher command. He began his studies at the Staff College at Quetta in India in 1912, accompanied by his wife and first child. He performed very well, completing the course in 1913.

Blamey was sent to Britain for more training in May 1914, visiting Turkey (including the Dardanelles), Germany and Belgium en route. He spent a brief time on attachment to the 4th Dragoon Guards and then took up duties on the staff of the Wessex Division, at that time entering its annual camp. On 1 July 1914, he was promoted to major.

First World War

Blamey served in the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in the First World War. In mid-1914 Blamey had been in Britain on the staff of the Wessex Division. In November he sailed for Egypt, along with Harry Chauvel, to join the Australian contingent and became intelligence officer on the staff of the Australian 1st Division for the Battle of Gallipoli. During the landing at Anzac Cove, Blamey was sent to evaluate the need for reinforcements by Colonel M'Cay's 2nd Brigade on 400 Plateau. He confirmed that they were in such need, and the reinforcements were sent.

On the night of 13 May 1915, Blamey, in his capacity as intelligence officer, led a patrol consisting of himself, Sergeant J.H. Will and Bombardier A.A. Orchard, behind the Turkish lines in an effort to locate the Olive Grove guns that had been harassing the beach. Near Pine Ridge, an enemy party of eight Turks approached and one of them went to bayonet Orchard, so Blamey shot him with his revolver. In the action that followed, six Turks were killed. Blamey withdrew his patrol back to the Australian lines without locating the guns. Later, examination of the fuse setting on a dud round revealed that the guns were much further to the south than had been realised.

Blamey was always interested in technical innovation. He was instrumental in the adoption of the periscope rifle at Gallipoli, an instrument which he saw during an inspection of the front line. He arranged for the inventor, Lance Corporal W.C.B. Beech, to be seconded to division headquarters to develop the idea. Within a few days, the design was perfected and periscope rifles began to be used throughout the Australian trenches.

In July 1915 Blamey was given a staff appointment as a General Staff Officer, Grade 2 (GSO2),[2] and in September 1915 he was promoted to temporary lieutenant-colonel and joined the staff of the newly forming Australian 2nd Division in Egypt as its Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General (AA&QMG) - the senior administrative officer of the division.[3] Its commander, Major General James Gordon Legge preferred to have an Australian colonel in this post as he felt that a British officer might not take such care of the troops. However, after the Australian forces moved to France in 1916, a conflict between GSO1 of the Australian 2nd Division and his British commander saw Blamey return to the 1st Division as GSO1,[4] in which capacity he was involved in the Battle of Pozières, gaining credit for the attack which captured the town.

Blamey briefly held battalion and brigade command posts in late 1916 and early 1917, but British Expeditionary Force orders forbade the use of staff college graduates in command positions. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in the 1917 New Year Honours.[5] He was promoted to brigadier-general on 1 June 1918 and became chief of corps staff of Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash's Australian Corps. He played a significant role in the success of Monash's corps in the final months of the war; Monash rated him as one of the key factors in his Corps' success in the Battle of Amiens in August and the attack on the Hindenburg Line in September. On 1 January 1918 he was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).[6]

Blamey remained interested in technological innovation. He was impressed by the capabilities of the new models of tanks and pressed for their use at Battle of Hamel, where they played an important part in the success of the battle. He noted the wide use that the Germans had made of their mustard gas and took extraordinary steps to arrange for a supply of mustard gas shells for the assault on the Hindenburg Line in September. For his services as Corps Chief of Staff, Blamey was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).[7] In all, he was Mentioned in Despatches seven times and was also awarded the French Croix de guerre.[8]

Inter-war years

Blamey returned to Australia in late 1919 and became director of Military Operations at Army Headquarters. In May 1920 he was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff. His first major task was the creation of the Royal Australian Air Force. In August he was sent to London to be Australia's representative on the Imperial General Staff.

When the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lieutenant General Sir Cyril Brudenell White, retired in 1923, Blamey was expected to succeed him as CGS as he had as chief of staff of the Australian Corps in France. However there were objections from more senior officers, so the Inspector General, Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel, was made CGS as well, and Blamey was given the new post of Second CGS, in which he performed most of the duties of CGS.

On 1 September 1925, Blamey transferred from the Permanent Military Forces to the Militia, and on 1 May 1926 he took command of the 10th Infantry Brigade, part of the 3rd Division. Blamey took command of the division on 23 March 1931 and was promoted to major-general, one of only four militia officers promoted to this rank between 1929 and 1939. In 1937 he was transferred to the unattached list.

He was appointed as Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, where scandal first found him. During a raid on a brothel, the police were about to take into custody a "rather short, stocky, moustachioed gentleman when he produced a police badge, told them he was a detective, and bally-hooed his way free". The badge (number 80) was found to belong to the new police commissioner - Thomas Blamey. A second scandal occurred in 1936 when Blamey attempted to cover up details of the shooting of a police officer. This ultimately led to his dismissal as Chief Commissioner.

As Police Commissioner he had directed the 'political police squad' to break up Unemployed Workers Movement meetings at Sydney Road in working class Brunswick. Blamey's treatment of the unionists was typical of his hardline anti-communist beliefs and as such his relations with left-wing governments were tense. Along with many senior army and ex-army officers, he was a leading member of the clandestine far-right wing organisation League of National Security. The LNS was reportedly a response to the rise of communism in Australia, its members ready to seize arms from military installations to stop a communist revolution.

From early 1938 Blamey supplemented his income by making radio broadcasts on international affairs. He was appalled at Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews. Later that year, Blamey was appointed chairman of the Commonwealth Government's Manpower Committee and controller-general of recruiting. As such, he laid the foundation for the expansion of the Army in the event of war with Germany or Japan, which he now regarded as inevitable.

Blamey was knighted in the 1935 New Year Honours.[9][10] His first wife died later that year. On 5 April 1939 Blamey married a 35-year-old fashion artist, Olga Ora Farnsworth, at St John's Anglican Church, Toorak. In 1936 he was appointed a Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[11]

Second World War

On 13 October 1939, Blamey was promoted lieutenant general and appointed to command the 6th Division, the first formation of the new Second Australian Imperial Force. Generals John Lavarack and Gordon Bennett also were considered for the post, and had their supporters, but Blamey was the preferred choice of Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Menzies limited Blamey's choice of commanders by insisting that they be selected from the Militia rather than the PMF.

Blamey travelled to the Middle-East with the 2nd AIF as its commander. He occasionally clashed with the British Commanders-in-Chief Middle East, General Archibald Wavell and his successor, General Claude Auchinleck, over the employment of Australian forces. He refused to allow his troops to perform police duties in Palestine, and insisted that they remain together as cohesive units, and no Australian forces were to be deployed or engaged without the prior consent of the Australian government. The government strengthened his hand by promoting him to full general, and Blamey was appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief Middle East.[12][13]

However, Blamey was not inflexible and permitted Australian units to be detached when there was a genuine military need. Because the situation in the Middle East tended to lurch from crisis to crisis, this resulted in his troops becoming widely scattered at times. Blamey has been criticised for allowing Australian troops to be sent on a dangerous mission to Greece after he had been told that Menzies had approved and Menzies had been informed that Blamey had approved. Blamey was under no illusions about the odds of success and immediately prepared plans for an evacuation.[14][15][16] Blamey's foresight and determination saved many of his men but he lost credibility when he chose his son to fill the one remaining seat on the aircraft carrying him out of Greece. He was Mentioned in Despatches,[17] and awarded the Greek Military Cross, First Class.[18]

In the Syrian campaign (against the Vichy French), Blamey took decisive action to resolve the command difficulties caused by General Henry Maitland Wilson's attempt to direct the fighting from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by interposing Lieutenant-General John Lavarack's I Corps headquarters.

Later Blamey forced another showdown with Auchinleck over his insistence that the Australian 9th Division be withdrawn from Tobruk, allowing his command to be concentrated in Syria. Blamey was supported by Prime Minister John Curtin and Auchinleck was forced to back down.[19] For his campaigns in the Middle East, he was created a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) on 1 January 1942.[20][21]

In 1942, Blamey was recalled to Australia to become the Commander-in-Chief Australian Military Forces (AMF), and then Commander of Allied Land Forces as well. Some of Blamey's most controversial actions concern the period after the Japanese declared war, and United States General Douglas MacArthur retreated to Australia.

MacArthur confided to the US Army Chief of Staff George Marshall in Washington, D.C. that he was "not yet convinced of the efficiency of the Australian units",[22] and was highly critical of their performance during the early battles in New Guinea. "The Australians," he reported to Marshall, "have proven themselves unable to match the enemy in jungle fighting".[23] Blamey appeared to be keen not to antagonise MacArthur or publicly hold a dissenting view. For example, during a speech to 21st Brigade, 2nd AIF, on 9 November 1942, he spoke of "rabbits who run" and "the brigade gave to what he said interpretation that 'they ran like rabbits', an accusation of cowardice against the men that was received by them with intense bitterness.[24] It was seen as contrasting with his own inability to stand up to MacArthur and the Prime Minister. Rowell felt that Blamey "had not shown the necessary 'moral courage' to fight the Cabinet on an issue of confidence in me."[25] However, when American troops were checked at Buna, Blamey turned the tables on MacArthur and "frankly said he would rather send in more Australians, as he knew they would fight", (despite his "rabbits who run" comment only weeks before).[26] Later, Blamey thwarted MacArthur's proposal to use the Australian Army primarily for logistic support and leave combat roles to American troops.[27]

General Blamey's opinion of Japanese men and women was not much better: According to official Australian Government sources, he described the Japanese as "a subhuman beast". At the beginning of the following year he informed soldiers that the Japanese was "a curious race - a cross between the human being and the ape".[28]

The relationship between MacArthur and Blamey was generally good, and they had great respect for each other's abilities. MacArthur's main problem was that as Commander-in-Chief AMF, Blamey was not wholly under his command. MacArthur accepted a number of changes that Blamey made to his strategy, the most notable of which was probably moving the landing on New Britain to before the attack on Madang. The only major dispute with MacArthur that Blamey lost was his attempt to prevent the Australian 7th Division from being sent to Balikpapan in 1945, an operation that Blamey thought was unnecessary. On this occasion, Blamey was not supported by the government, and the operation went ahead as planned.

Blamey's conduct of the New Guinea campaign of 1942 attracted scathing criticism at the time from armchair strategists, who felt that he was packing New Guinea with troops that would be forced to surrender like the troops in Singapore and Bataan if they were cut off by the Japanese Navy. However, after the Battle of Midway, the Japanese no longer had the strength to do this. At the Battle of Wau in 1943, Blamey won the battle by acting decisively on intelligence, shifting the 17th Infantry Brigade from Milne Bay in time to defeat the Japanese attack. For this campaign, he was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) on 28 May 1943.[29]


In 1943, he captured Lae with a classic double envelopment, with the 7th Division attacking from the west by air and the 9th Division from the east by sea. There was criticism from Earle Page of the way that Blamey conducted operations in malarious areas. Administrative arrangements for the final campaigns were criticised by the government, although matters were not entirely in Blamey's hands, and the critical shortage of logistical troops was caused by the government's own actions.

Blamey remained a devotee of new technology, obtaining DUKWs and LVTs for the Lae operation. He attempted to acquire helicopters, but met resistance from the RAAF.

Blamey's treatment of senior officers was also controversial. Biographers of many of Blamey's Second World War contemporaries, including Generals John Lavarack and Gordon Bennett and Brigadier Potts, have claimed that their subjects were dealt with unfairly, and in some cases atrociously, by Blamey — in ways ranging from holding rivals back from promotion, through to their dismissal from command appointments in order to cover up Blamey's own shortcomings. At Finschhafen, Blamey responded to a request from Lieutenant-General Sir Iven Mackay to relieve Lieutenant-General Sir Edmund Herring by immediately sending Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead, even though Herring was a friend and Blamey retained confidence in him. Later in the war there was political criticism of the way that Blamey had "side tracked" various generals, something that was probably inevitable in an Army that was rapidly shrinking in size.


On 2 September 1945, Blamey was with MacArthur on USS Missouri and signed the Japanese surrender document on behalf of Australia. He then flew to Morotai and personally accepted the surrender of the remaining Japanese in the South West Pacific. He insisted that Australia should be represented in the Allied occupation of Japan.[30]

The "running rabbits" incident

On 22 October 1942, after the relief of the 21st Brigade by the 25th Infantry Brigade, Blamey visited the remnants of Maroubra Force at Koitaki camp, near Port Moresby. While Rowell had allowed Potts to return to his brigade, Herring, who was unfamiliar with Potts, preferred to have Brigadier Ivan Dougherty, an officer Herring was familiar with from his time in command of Northern Territory Force. Blamey relieved Potts of his command, citing Potts' failure to hold back the Japanese, despite commanding "superior forces" and, despite explicit orders to the contrary, Potts' failure to launch an offensive to re-take Kokoda. Blamey explained that Prime Minister John Curtin had told him to say that failures like Kokoda would not be tolerated. Blamey replaced Potts with Brigadier Ivan Dougherty, who was to command the 21st Infantry Brigade until the end of the war, while Potts went to the 23rd Infantry Brigade.

Later (9 November 1942), Blamey addressed the men of the 21st Infantry Brigade on a parade ground. Maroubra Force expected congratulations for their efforts in holding back the Japanese. However, instead of praising them, Blamey told the brigade that they had been "beaten" by inferior forces, and that "no soldier should be afraid to die". "Remember," Blamey was reported as saying, "it's the rabbit who runs who gets shot, not the man holding the gun." There was a wave of murmurs and restlessness among the soldiers. Officers and senior NCOs managed to quiet the soldiers and many later said that Blamey was lucky to escape with his life. Later that day, during a march-past parade, many disobeyed the "eyes right" order. In a later letter to his wife, an enraged Brigadier Potts swore to "fry his [Blamey's] soul in the afterlife" over this incident. According to witnesses, when Blamey subsequently visited Australian wounded in the camp hospital, inmates nibbled lettuce, while wrinkling their noses and whispering "run, rabbit, run" (the chorus of a popular song during the war).[31] Thereafter, "he was almost invariably" referred to as "That bastard Blamey".[32]

Post-war

Blamey was abruptly retired in 1946. He returned to Melbourne, where he devoted himself to business affairs, to writing, and to promoting the welfare of ex-service personnel. In the late 1940s he became involved in 'The Association', an organisation similar to the earlier 'White Army', which was established to counter a possible communist coup. Blamey was promoted to field marshal in the King's Birthday Honours of 8 June 1950,[33] after Menzies again became Prime Minister. Shortly afterwards, he became seriously ill and was forced to receive his field marshal's baton from the Governor-General in his hospital bed. He died of hypertensive cerebral haemorrhage on 27 May 1951 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, Victoria, and was cremated. Crowds estimated at 250,000 lined the streets of Melbourne at his state funeral. Ten of his lieutenant-generals served as pallbearers: Frank Berryman, William Bridgeford, Edmund Herring, Iven Mackay, Leslie Morshead, John Northcott, Sydney Rowell, Stanley Savige, Vernon Sturdee, and Henry Wells.

Legacy

.]] Blamey is honoured in Australia in various ways, including by the square named in his honour around which is situated the Russell Offices headquarters of the Australian Defence Force and Department of Defence in the national capital, Canberra. A larger statue is in Kings Domain, Melbourne. The Australian Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka, "Blamey Barracks", and some streets within many Australian Army Barracks establishments are named in his honour. Blamey Street and Blamey Park in North Ryde NSW are both named in his honour.

His papers are held in the Australian War Memorial, where his portrait hangs and his field marshal's baton is on display.

Dates and age of rank

Awards and decorations

File:Order of the British Empire (Military) File:Galó de l'Orde del Bany (UK).png

File:Knight-Bachelor. File:Ord.St. File:Order of St John (UK)

File:1914-15 Star File:BWM File:Victory medal (UK)

File:Defence Medal File:War Medal 1939–1945 (UK)

File:Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire Military division (1943)[29]
File:Galó de l'Orde del Bany (UK).png Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath Military division (1942)[20][21]
Companion of the Order of the Bath Military division (1919)[7]
Knight Bachelor (1935)[9][10]
File:Ord.St. Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (1918)[6]
Distinguished Service Order (1917)[5]
Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John[11]
File:1914-15 Star 1914-15 Star[citation needed]
British War Medal[citation needed]
Victory Medal[citation needed] (Oakleaf for Mention in Despatches)[citation needed]
1939-1945 Star[citation needed]
Africa Star[citation needed]
Pacific Star[citation needed]
Defence Medal[citation needed]
War Medal 1939-45[citation needed] (Oakleaf for Mention in Despatches)[citation needed]
Australia Service Medal 1939-45[citation needed]
King George V Silver Jubilee Medal[citation needed]
King George VI Coronation Medal[citation needed]
Efficiency Decoration[citation needed]
Croix de Guerre (France) (1919)[citation needed]
Greek War Cross[citation needed]
Distinguished Service Cross (United States)[citation needed]
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands) (1947)[citation needed]
  • Mentioned in Despatches; seven times in WWI; 1915, 1917 (2), 1918 (2), 1919 (2), and once in WWII; 1941[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ "Blamey film to be made". Fairfax Media (The Daily Advertiser). 2008-09-08. http://dailyadvertiser.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/blamey-film-to-be-made/1266082.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  2. ^ London Gazette: no. 29287, p. 8873, 7 September 1915. Retrieved 2008-08-17. Appointed General Staff Officer—2nd Grade.
  3. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29331, p. 10243, 15 October 1915. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Promotion to temporary Lieutenant-Colonel.
  4. ^ London Gazette: no. 29703, p. 7917, 11 August 1916. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Appointed GSO1.
  5. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29886, pp. 19–28, 29 December 1916. Retrieved 2008-08-17. New Year's Honours 1917. DSO.
  6. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30450, p. 6, 28 December 1917. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).
  7. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31245, p. 3835, 21 March 1919. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
  8. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31109, p. 312, 3 January 1919. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Croix de Guerre.
  9. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119, pp. 1–2, 28 December 1934. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Knight Bachelor.
    Citation: "Major-General Thomas Albert Blamey, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. Chief Commissioner of Police, State of Victoria. For services in connection with the Centenary Celebrations."
  10. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 34135, p. 1269, 22 February 1935. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Noted that Blamey has received his knighthood by Letters Patent.
  11. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 34356, pp. 2–3, 1 January 1937. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Commander of The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.
  12. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35144, p. 2348, 22 April 1941. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Appointed Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Middle East.
  13. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, p. 3444, 2 July 1946. Retrieved 2008-08-17. Extract from official despatch by Sir Archibald Wavell.
  14. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37638, pp. 3425–3431, 2 July 1946. Retrieved 2008-08-17. Extract from official despatch by Sir Archibald Wavell.
  15. ^ London Gazette: no. 38293, p. 3046, 18 May 1948. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 2008-08-16: Unable to retrieve.
  16. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38296, pp. 3117–3118, 21 May 1948. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Despatch to the Admiralty, 4 August 1941 by Adm Cunningham C-in-C Mediterranean regarding events of the evacuation of Crete, 31 May 1941.
  17. ^ London Gazette: no. 35396, pp. 7339–7357, 26 December 1941. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Mentioned in Despatches.
  18. ^ London Gazette: no. 35519, p. 1595, 7 April 1942. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 2008-08-16: Unable to retrieve.
  19. ^ London Gazette: no. 37695, p. 4222, 20 August 1946. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Despatch to Secretary of State for War, 8 March 1942, by Gen Auchinleck regarding Siege of Tobruk.
  20. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35399, p. 3, 1941-12-30. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  21. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 35414, p. 193, 9 January 1942. Retrieved 2008-08-16. Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
  22. ^ McCarthy, South West Pacific Area - First Year, p. 176
  23. ^ McCarthy, South-West Pacific Area - First Year, p. 225
  24. ^ McCarthy, South-West Pacific Area: First Year, pp. 334-335
  25. ^ Horner, Blamey: The Commander in Chief, p. 328
  26. ^ Kenney, George C. (1949). General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War. New York City: Duell, Sloan and Pearce. p. 151. ISBN 0-91279-944-7. 
  27. ^ Letter, MacArthur to Prime Minister, 24 August 1943; Letter, Blamey to Prime Minister, 5 October 1943, NAA (ACT): A2653/1 M37/1943
  28. ^ Blamey's opinion of the Japanese men and women
  29. ^ a b London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36031, p. 2373, 25 May 1943. Retrieved 2008-01-31. Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.
  30. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 39202, pp. 2153–2154, 13 April 1951. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  31. ^ Brune (2003). Pages 257–258.
  32. ^ Review by Carl Bridge of "David Horner, Blamey: the Commander-in-Chief, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1998", Australian War Memorial site. Accessed 2008-09-13.
  33. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 38930, p. 2811, 2 June 1950. Retrieved 2008-01-31. Field Marshal.

Bibliography

External links

Commander-In-Chief Productions pre-production of a feature film on the life of Sir Thomas Blamey

Military offices
Preceded by
Newly created appointment
GOC-in-C Australian Military Forces
1942 – 1945
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee
Preceded by
Newly activated organisation
GOC I Corps
1940 – 1941
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General John Lavarack







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