Salute Canberra's military heritage

Early Duntroon graduates

On 27 June 1911, the first intake of cadets comprised 32 Australians and 10 New Zealanders. Duntroon continues the tradition of welcoming cadets from New Zealand to this day, and over the years it has also accepted cadets from Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Tonga, and Singapore.

Cadets were to undertake a four-year officer’s training course, with half military and half academic subjects. With the outbreak war in August 1914, the first intake was rushed through for overseas service. Most of the subsequent three intakes also served with either the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or the New Zealand Army during the First World War. These graduates were among the best and brightest Australasia had to offer. Many went on to distinguished military careers spanning several decades, others fell in their first battles of Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Lieutenant Penistan Patterson

H15819 Lieutenant Penistan Patterson H15819

On 25 April 1915, the 12th Battalion landed on Gallipoli under the cover of darkness in the first tow of boats from the destroyer HMS Ribble. From a point north of ANZAC Cove, Lieutenant Penistan Patterson immediately led his men in the attempt to take vital ground at what would later be called Walker’s Ridge. The platoon was under constant rifle, machine-gun, and shrapnel fire. Patterson himself was killed later that day, and was mentioned in despatches for his conspicuous gallantry in leading his men under heavy fire.

Patterson was the first graduate of the Royal Military College to die on active service. He had entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, on 22 June 1911 as part of the first intake of cadets. Graduating on 14 August 1914, he joined the 12th Battalion, where he was made a platoon commander.

Patterson Hall on the Duntroon campus is named in his honour.

Lieutenant General Cyril Clowes and Major General Norman Clowes

P06234.002 Cyril (left) and Norman (right) Clowes as lieutenants on the Western Front P06234.002

Teenagers Cyril and Norman Clowes were the first brothers to enter Duntroon on 27 June 1911. After graduation both brothers were appointed lieutenants in the AIF and served with distinction on Gallipoli and the Western Front.

After serving in North Africa and Greece during the Second World War, Cyril led a force at Milne Bay, Papua, in August 1942 that resulted in the first Allied land victory over the Japanese during the war. For this he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Following the First World War Norman served on exchange with the Indian army until 1930 before transferring to the British army in 1931. During the Second World War he served with the British army in Egypt. From 1946 until his retirement in 1949 he served as Aide-de-Camp to King George VI.