Lieutenant General Thomas Joseph Daly

Service number 45, 4/5, SP 15209, SX1436
Ranks Held Brigadier, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel
Birth Date 19 March 1913
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Ballarat
Death Date 05 January 2004
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Final Rank Lieutenant General
Service Australian Army
Conflict/Operation Korea, 1950-1953
Gazettes Biographical information The Oxford companion to Australian military history in 1995
Published in London Gazette in 1945-10-11
Published in London Gazette in 1953-05-26
Published in London Gazette in 1944-04-27
Published in London Gazette in 1945-07-19
Published in London Gazette in 1967-06-10
Published in London Gazette in 1965-06-12
Published in London Gazette in 1941-12-30
Published in London Gazette in 1953-10-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1945-10-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1953-06-04
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1944-04-27
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1967-06-29
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1953-11-05
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1945-07-19
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1965-06-24

Sir Thomas Daly was one of Australia's most renowned soldiers and his career culminated with his appointment as Chief of Australia's General Staff. He was born in Ballarat on 19 March 1913 and originally planned to become a doctor. Having failed, however, to gain entry into the university course of his choice, Daly became interested in attending the Royal Military College, Duntroon; he entered in 1930.

Three years later he graduated as top cadet and in 1934 was commissioned into the 4th Light Horse Regiment. Daly went on to serve with the British Army on India's North-West Frontier in 1938. He returned to Australia the following year and was appointed Adjutant of the 2/10th Battalion after enlisting in the AIF. He served in North Africa where he became the Brigade Major of the 18th Brigade, serving at Tobruk and in the Western Desert. His commander, Major General George Wootten, considered Daly one of his outstanding subordinates.

Daly then went on to attend staff school in Haifa before being appointed Senior Staff Officer to the Militia's 5th Division, with which he served in New Guinea. By 1945 Daly was in command of the 2/10th Battalion, leading them in the invasion of Balikpapan in Borneo and being awarded the Distinguished Service Order. After the war, Daly's military service continued with staff appointments and a period as an instructor at the Staff College, Camberley. He married Heather Fitzgerald in 1946 and in 1948 went to England to attend the Joint Services Staff College. A posting to Duntroon followed and in June 1952 Daly took command of the 28th Commonwealth Brigade - a formation comprising two British and two Australian battalions - then fighting in Korea. Daly was the first Australian to hold this command and his superiors were impressed with his ability.

Further senior command posts followed upon Daly's return to Australia. He was promoted to major general in 1959, became Chief of the General Staff in 1966, and was knighted the following year. His appointment to the Army's senior position coincided with Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War and Daly sought to ensure that Australia's small army was the equal of other, larger national forces. He was a keen supporter of national service, believing that exposing civilians to the military was beneficial to the services and to society.

During his tenure Daly came into conflict with some senior politicians, including the future prime minister, Malcolm Fraser. Daly retired in 1971, held several company directorships, and served as Chair of the Australian War Memorial's Council between 1974 and 1982. He also held honorary rank in the Royal Australian and Pacific Islands Regiments. Remembered as a staunch defender of the military, Daly died in Sydney on 5 January 2004, aged 90.



Date of birth 19 March 1913 Ballarat, VIC.
Date and unit at enlinstment (ORs) 12 February 1930 Inducted Corps of Staff Cadets, Royal Military College.
Other 11 December 1933 Graduated from Royal Military College.
Date commissioned 12 December 1933 Appointed lieutenant.
Other units 01 February 1934 Appointed to 4th Light Horse Regiment.
Other 10 August 1934 Appointed adjutant and quartermaster.
Other 22 September 1938 Trained in India.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1939-10 Joined 2nd AIF.
Other units 13 October 1939 Seconded captain and adjutant 2/10th Battalion.
Other 1940-01-08 - 1940-01-27 Attended company commander course at Command and Staff School Sydney.
Other 18 June 1940 Arrived in Scotland.
Other units 16 September 1940 Seconded temporary major and brigade major 18th Brigade.
Other 31 December 1940 Arrived in the Middle East from the United Kingdom.
Other 1941-09-22 - 1941-10-11 Attended a course at the Middle East Combined Training Centre.
Other units 01 October 1941 Appointed general service officer grade 2 Headquarters 6th Division.
Date of honour or award 30 December 1941 Mention in Despatches.
Other 1942-01-25 - 1942-05-30 Attended a course at the Middle East Staff School.
Date promoted 01 July 1942 Appointed lieutenant colonel and general service officer grade 1, Headquarters 5th Division.
Date returned to Australia 13 July 1942 Returned to Melbourne.
Other 03 February 1943 Arrived in New Guinea.
Date returned to Australia 25 May 1943 Returned to Townsville.
Other 1943-06-02 - 1943-06-26 Attended a course at Royal Australian Air Force School of Army Co-operation.
Other 18 July 1943 Arrived in New Guinea.
Date returned to Australia 05 December 1943 Returned to Townsville.
Other 10 December 1943 Appointed instructor of senior wing, Royal Military College and Staff School.
Other 1944-05-26 - 1944-05-29 Special Duty, Land Headquarters.
Date of honour or award 31 May 1944 Mention in Despatches.
Other 1944-06-16 - 1944-06-19 Special Duty, Land Headquarters .
Other units 1944-10-14 - 1945-12-11 Appointed commanding officer of 2/10th Battalion with rank of lieutenant colonel.
Other 31 May 1945 Arrived in Morotai.
Other 01 July 1945 Arrived in Balikapan.
Date of honour or award 18 July 1945 Officer of the Order of the British Empire. 'For distinguished service and marked devotion to duty, during operations in New Guinea. As GSO.I 5 Aust Div, this officer has constantly carried out his duties with vigour and exceptional ability. By his energy and tact he has imbued his staff with a team spirit and has obtained the best from all who have worked with him. His sound judgement, attention to detail, and lively foresight have proved invaluable to his commander. He is an active, versatile and outstanding officer.'
Date of honour or award 06 October 1945 Companion of the Distinguished Service Order. '1/3 July 45 : BALIKPAPAN (BORNEO) Lt-Col T.J. DALY commanded 2/10 Australian Infantry Battalion during the assault landing at BALIKPAPAN on 1 July 45, and during subsequent operations. This battalion was an assaulting battalion and had been given the vital role of capturing as quickly as possible a ridge which completely dominated the landing beaches and was the key to the capture of the main town and dock area. This feature was known to contain extensive and well prepared defences including a number of heavy coast AA guns. Prior to embarkation Lt-Col DALY had skilfully prepared from aerial photographs and other information an outline plan of attack which he initiated on landing. The attack succeeded after several hours of hard fighting during which Lt-Col DALY's vigorous and capable direction was most apparent. Subsequent exploitation by 2/10 Aust Inf Bn, including the capture of another ridge directly overlooking the town, was also vigorously and efficiently carried out. The successes of this battalion on the day of the landing were decisive and were due in no small measure to the courage, initiative and brilliant leadership of the Commanding Officer.' Recommended for award by Brigadier F O Chilton.
Other units 15 October 1945 Attached to Headquarters 18th Brigade.
Other 11 December 1945 Appointed assistant adjutant and quartermaster general, Headquarters 7th Division.
Other 23 January 1946 Returned to Melbourne.
Other 16 February 1946 Appointed general service officer grade 1 Training, General Staff Headquarters AMF, later appointed director of Military Training.
Other 24 August 1946 Appointed instructor Camberly Staff College.
Date promoted 30 January 1947 Appointed major, Australian Staff Corps.
Other 15 October 1948 Attended a course at Joint Services Staff College, United Kingdom.
Date promoted 18 October 1948 Appointed lieutenant colonel Australian Staff Corps.
Other 15 July 1949 Appointed director of Military Arts, Royal Military College.
Other 01 July 1951 Appointed director of Infantry.
Other 01 July 1951 Appointed temporary colonel.
Other 1952-02-04 - 1952-02-21 Attached to Australian Military Force component of the British Commonwelth Occupation Force, which included a visit to Korea.
Other 15 May 1952 Appointed temporary colonel, Australian Staff Corps.
Other 20 June 1952 Appointed temporary brigadier.
Other units 24 June 1952 Appointed to command 28th Brigade.
Other 01 April 1953 Transferred to Unattached List, Southern Command.
Other 24 April 1953 Permenent General Staff, Branch Army Headquarters.
Other 19 May 1953 Appointed honourary brigadier.
Date of honour or award 26 May 1953 Gazetted Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of honour or award 30 October 1953 United States Legion of Merit - Officer.
Other 10 May 1954 Appointed temporary brigadier.
Other 08 November 1955 Attended a course at the Imperial Defence College, United Kingdom.
Date promoted 12 March 1957 Appointed BMO and permenent general staff Branch Army Headquarters.
Other 18 August 1957 Appointed general officer commanding Northern Command.
Other 21 August 1957 Appointed temporary major general.
Date promoted 02 September 1959 Appointed major general.
Other 16 January 1961 Appointed Adjutant General, second Military Member of Military Board.
Other 01 November 1963 Appointed general officer commanding Eastern Command.
Date of honour or award 12 June 1965 Gazetted Companion of the Bath. Awarded for 'a most notable contribution to the efficiency and development of the Australian Army.'
Other 19 January 1966 Chief of General Staff, 1st Military Member of Military Board.
Date promoted 19 May 1966 Appointed lieutenant general.
Date of honour or award 10 June 1967 Gazetted Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of discharge 10 July 1971 Tranferred to the Retired List.
Date of death 05 January 2004 Sydney, NSW.