Friday 22 June 2007 by Craig Tibbitts. No comments
To Flanders Fields, 1917, Generals

The AIF Generals

At the beginning of 1917 the general officers commanding the divisions and brigades of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) were a fairly experienced group, although quite a few were newly promoted or had been recently posted to command a different unit.

Of the five divisional commanders, only Walker (1st Division) had been in command of a division for more than one year. Monash had been in charge of 3rd Division for six months but had not yet led them in action, while the other three had only just taken command of their divisions. Nevertheless these men had gained a wealth of experience coming up over the last two years as battalion, then brigade commanders. Just two of the five (Holmes and Monash) were Australian born, the others being British, although Hobbs had migrated to Australia as a young man in 1887.

Of the fifteen brigade commanders, only three had been brigadiers for over 12 months, six had been for 6-12 months, while the remaining six had less than 3 months experience in the job. Again, even these newer brigade commanders possessed a wealth of experience as battalion commanders. Of these fifteen, twelve were Australian born and of the remaining three Britons, Evan Wisdom had migrated to Australia as a young man.

In early 1917 this group of men represented a mixture of experienced leaders and the newest wave of talent in the AIF to be promoted to the general rank. During the course of 1917 they would be tested harder than ever before. One would be killed in action during the year and the remainder would learn much about leadership and modern warfare, and much about themselves, their men and about loss.

Higher British Command during 1917

ANZAC formations during 1917