Pair of officer's brown knee boots : Brigadier General C B B White

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number RELAWM14035.002
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Leather; Chamois; Rubber; Metal
Place made United Kingdom: England
Date made Unknown
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Pair of private purchase brown leather knee or field boots with leather soles. The top of each boot is fitted an external leather loop and two white internal cloth loops for pulling the boot on. The leather loop on the proper left boot has a 40 cm long leather strap and buckle fed through for securing around the wearer's leg. The right strap is missing. A leather button hole tab has also been sewn to the top of each boot for securing to the rear of the wearer's breeches. The bootmaker's stamp has been applied to the inner top front, and while mostly illegible and rubbed, features the words 'to the Prince of Wales' and 'King of Spain', suggesting Royal appointment bootmakers. There are nine pairs of metal lace eyelets while the tongue is made from chamois leather. The soles have been fitted with rubber cleats bearing the legend: 'Phillips Military Sole, Size A Special Quality Stout RD no 644802 and 646025' and 'Phillips Military Heel 3 Stout Special Quality Patent RD no 645522'. These have been nailed to the soles. Both boots have been equipped with string laces. The lack of wear compared to the boots featured as RELAWM14035.001 suggest this pair was saved by White for official and ceremonial purposes.

History / Summary

Knee boots worn by Brigadier General CBB 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.