General Cyril Brudenell Bingham White

Ranks Held Brigadier General, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major General, Temporary Brigadier General, General, Lieutenant
Birth Date 23 September 1876
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, St Arnaud
Death Date 13 August 1940
Death Place Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra
Final Rank General
Service Australian Army
Units
Places
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Biographical information The Oxford companion to Australian military history in 1995
Published in London Gazette in 1918-01-01
Published in London Gazette in 1917-06-01
Published in London Gazette in 1918-07-12
Published in London Gazette in 1916-07-13
Published in London Gazette in 1915-06-03
Published in London Gazette in 1921-01-21
Published in London Gazette in 1919-08-21
Published in London Gazette in 1915-07-03
Published in London Gazette in 1919-01-01
Published in London Gazette in 1916-04-10
Published in London Gazette in 1919-07-11
Published in London Gazette in 1916-03-14
Published in London Gazette in 1918-05-28
Published in London Gazette in 1918-12-31
Published in London Gazette in 1917-01-04
Published in London Gazette in 1920-11-05
Published in London Gazette in 1917-03-09
Published in London Gazette in 1915-08-05
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1915-09-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1915-09-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-12-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-08-21
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-10-24
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1915-10-28
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-06-29
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1921-02-03
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-10-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-11-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-07-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1921-04-07
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1921-07-07
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-04-18
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-11-27
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-10-04
Description

White was one of the founders of the AIF and rose to become Chief of the General Staff. He was born on 23 September 1876 at St Arnaud, Victoria. He became a bank clerk at the age of 16 and in 1896, aged 20, he joined the 2nd Queensland Regiment.

White transferred to the permanent forces and was commissioned into the Queensland Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery in June 1899. In February 1902 he sailed for South Africa with the Australian Commonwealth Horse, arriving late in the war he saw little action and returned to Australia in July.

In 1904 White was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the General Officer Commanding the Australian Military Forces (AMF) and the following year, in November, he married Ethel Davidson. In 1906 he became the first AMF officer to attend the British Staff College. Returning to Australia in 1908, he was promoted to captain, joined Colonel William Bridges' staff but soon returned to England on exchange to the War Office.

Having been promoted to major in 1911, White returned to Australia in 1912 to take up the post of Director of Military Operations at Army Headquarters, Melbourne where he formulated plans for raising, equipping, training and despatching the Australian component of a combined Australian/New Zealand division should war arise. White was made acting Chief of the General Staff in July 1914 and upon the outbreak of war August, having prepared, was able to meet the Government's offer to Britain of a force of 20,000 men for overseas service.

He became Chief of Staff of the 1st Australian Division, AIF, had the first contingent in Egypt by December 1914 and planned the landing at Gallipoli. He was promoted to brigadier general in October 1915, and planned and supervised the evacuation of Anzac. Back in Egypt he was largely responsible for overseeing the AIF's expansion and he went to France as Brigadier General, General Staff, AIF.

Although the AIF was commanded by the British general William Birdwood, White has been credited as being the driving force behind its operation on the Western Front. In January 1917 he was promoted to temporary major general. That July he rejected an offer to command the Australian Corps and remained a member of Birdwood's staff. The following June, White followed Birdwood, now appointed to command the British 5th Army, and became Major General, General Staff, 5th Army.

In November 1918 White was promoted to temporary lieutenant general and made Chief of Staff, having briefly presided over the Demobilisation and Repatriation Branch. He returned to Australia in June 1919 and worked on the future organisation of the AMF. He retired in 1923 and was appointed Chairman of the Commonwealth Public Service Board, becoming responsible for overseeing the transfer of departments from Melbourne to Canberra. Upon retiring in 1928, he continued to serve on a number of business and charitable boards, including the Board of the Australian War Memorial.

In 1940 he was recalled to become Chief of the General Staff, but his tenure was short-lived. On 13 August 1940, White was killed in an aircraft crash near Canberra airport.

Rolls

  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    BGGS Anzac
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Brigadier General
    London Gazette
    10 April 1916 on page 3785 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    07 July 1921 on page 1946 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Staff
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major General
    London Gazette
    01 June 1917 on page 5420 at position 29
    Commonwealth Gazette
    04 October 1917 on page 2622 at position 71
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    II Anzac Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major General
    London Gazette
    12 July 1918 on page 8189 at position 26
    Commonwealth Gazette
    27 November 1918 on page 2262 at position 148
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    RAust Garr Art
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major General
    Commonwealth Gazette
    03 February 1921 on page 164 at position 3
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    1st Australian Division
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant Colonel
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Staff
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major General
    London Gazette
    01 January 1919 on page 3 at position 6
    Commonwealth Gazette
    23 May 1919 on page 887 at position 8
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC)
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    Headquarters Staff
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    1st Australian Division
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Lieutenant Colonel

Timeline

Date of birth 23 September 1876 St Arnaud
Date commissioned 1897 Commissioned into the 2nd Queensland Regiment.
Other 1898 Passed an exam for a commission in the Permanent Military Forces, in the Queensland Artillery.
Date commissioned 1899-06 Was commissioned into the Queensland Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery.
Other units 1902-02 Served in the Boer War as a junior officer with the Commonwealth Light Horse.
Date returned to Australia 1902-07
Other 1904 Appointed Aide de Camp to Major General Hutton, the general officer commanding the AMF.
Other units 1906 - 1907 Attended the British Staff College at Camberley, England. Was the first AMF officer to attend the college.
Date promoted 1908 Promoted to captain after he returned to Australia, and posted to the staff of the Chief of Intelligence.
Other units 1908 - 1911 Returned to England on an exchange posting to the War Office.
Other 1911 Recalled to become the Director of Military Operations, with the rank of major.
Other 1914-07 Acting Chief of General Staff, AIF.
Other 1914-08 Chief of staff of the 1st Australian Division, AIF, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Date of embarkation 21 October 1914
Date of honour or award 03 June 1915 Created a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in recognition of his service assisting with the plans for the landing at Gallipoli.
Date promoted 1915-10 Promoted to brigadier general.
Date of honour or award 14 March 1916 Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-10
Date promoted 01 January 1917 Promoted to temporary major general.
Date of honour or award 09 March 1917 Montenegrin Medal for Merit - Gold.
Date of recommendation honour or award 21 March 1917
Other 1917-07 Rejected an offer to command the Australian corps
Date of honour or award 01 January 1918 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St John (CMG).
Other units 31 May 1918 Appointed major general General Staff of 5th British Army.
Date of honour or award 12 July 1918 Belgian Croix de Guerre.
Date promoted 30 November 1918 Promoted to temporary lieutenant general.
Date of honour or award 01 January 1919 Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG).
Date returned to Australia 1919-07
Date of honour or award 21 August 1919 Portuguese Military Order of the Avis - Grand Officer.
Other 1920-01 Appointed to the committee to examine the future structure of the Army.
Date promoted 1920-02 Promoted to the substantive rank of major general, back dated to 1 January 1919.
Other 1920-06-01 - 1923-06-01 Appointed Chief of General Staff, AIF.
Date of honour or award 15 October 1920 Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).
Date of honour or award 21 January 1921 Japanese Order of the Rising Sun - 2nd Class.
Date of honour or award 03 February 1921 French Croix de Guerre.
Other 1923 Resigned from the Army to become the first Chairman of the Public Service Board.
Date of discharge 01 June 1923 White resigned from the Army to become the first Chairman of the Public Service Board.
Date of honour or award 08 July 1927 Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB).
Other 1928 Retired from position as first Chairman of the Public Service Board.
Other 15 March 1940 Recalled to active duty and enlisted in the 2nd AIF. White was promoted to full general and reappointed as Chief of the General Staff.
Date of death 13 August 1940 Killed in a plane crash near Canberra airport.