Officers' mounted service breeches : General Sir Brudenell White, Chief of General Staff, Australian Military Forces

Accession Number RELAWM14038
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Brass, Cotton, Plastic, Suede, Wool 'Bedford Cord'
Maker H Huntsman & Sons
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made August 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Officers' custom made Bedford cord breeches, strapped at the knees with suede for mounted service. The breeches have a five-button concealed fly, with a larger button at the waist. There are six further buttons located around the outside of the waistband for the attachment of braces. Below the knee, the breeches are fastened by four small plastic buttons and a wrap-around strap with a brass button. A slash pocket is located on each side of the fly at the waist, and there is a single rear pocket with a button closure on the right hand side. All pockets are lined with white cotton fabric, that of the right hand waist pocket being marked on the underside in purple ink 'Genl. C.B.B.WHITE 2 16.8.18.' The breeches were manufactured by the same maker as REL29682 (Winter Service Dress tunic) and may have been part of a single uniform.

History / Summary

Worn by Major General Cyril Brudenell Bingham White during the First World War. White was born at St Arnaud, Victoria, in 1876, but spent his early life in Queensland. He joined the Militia in 1896 and in 1899 successfully sat an examination to join the permanent forces, becoming a Lieutenant in the Queensland Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery. He served with the 1st Commonwealth Horse during the Boer War, and after his return to Australia received his first staff appointment, as temporary captain and aide-de-camp to Major General Hutton, commander of the Australian Military Forces. Nominated by Hutton, he attended the British Army Staff College, Camberley, in 1906, and graduated with good results. After several years in England, attached to the British War Office, Brudenell White was recalled to Australia as a major, to become director of military operations at Army Headquarters. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was selected by Major General Bridges to be chief of staff for the new Australian Imperial Force, and took part in the landing at Gallipoli in April 1915. After the death of Bridges in May, he became chief of staff to the new commander, Lieutenant General Birdwood. Promoted brigadier general in October, White was largely responsible for planning the successful evacuation of Anzac in December. Serving on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, he exerted great influence in his role as staff officer to Birdwood. He was suggested as a suitable leader for the Australian Corps when it was formed in 1918, but remained with Birdwood, becoming senior staff officer to the 5th Army. Disappointed with cuts made to the Australian military after the war, he retired as Chief of the General Staff in 1923, to take up civil appointments. In March 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, Brudenell White was recalled as CGS, but was killed in an air crash near Canberra on 13 August.