General Henry George (Harry) Chauvel

Ranks Held Brigadier General, Colonel, General, Lieutenant General, Major General, Temporary Brigadier General, Temporary Lieutenant General, Temporary Major General, Captain, Lieutenant-Colonel, Major
Birth Date 16 April 1865
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Tabulam
Death Date 04 March 1945
Death Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Final Rank General
Service Australian Imperial Force
Units
Places
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1916-07-13
Published in London Gazette in 1918-01-16
Published in London Gazette in 1901-04-19
Published in London Gazette in 1919-01-22
Published in London Gazette in 1916-12-01
Published in London Gazette in 1918-04-11
Published in London Gazette in 1919-08-11
Published in London Gazette in 1916-01-14
Published in London Gazette in 1916-01-28
Published in London Gazette in 1915-11-05
Published in London Gazette in 1917-07-06
Published in London Gazette in 1919-06-07
Published in London Gazette in 1901-04-16
Published in London Gazette in 1918-01-25
Published in London Gazette in 1916-09-25
Published in London Gazette in 1916-09-25
Published in London Gazette in 1917-03-09
Published in London Gazette in 1919-06-09
Published in London Gazette in 1918-11-09
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-12-14
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-12-14
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-08-21
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-01-27
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-08-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-11-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-04-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-04-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-10-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-10-06
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-10-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1920-11-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1920-11-11
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-03-14
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1917-04-19
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1918-05-23
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-05-23
Description

Harry Chauvel was born in Tabulam, New South Wales, on 16 April 1865. He began his education at Sydney Grammar School before moving to Toowoomba in Queensland and attending Toowoomba Grammar. Chauvel's father was a major in the militia and had raised his own unit, the Upper Clarence Light Horse, into which Harry was commissioned at the age of 21.

By the time of the Boer War, Chauvel was a captain in the Queensland permanent forces. He commanded A Squadron of the Queensland Mounted Infantry in South Africa and returned to Australia to take command of the 7th Commonwealth Light Horse; the war ended before they saw action. Chauvel then served as Chief of Staff with the Northern Rivers District until 1911. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1909 and in July 1914, as a full colonel, he became Australia's representative on the Imperial General Staff in London.

Chauvel served on Gallipoli as commander of the 1st Light Horse Brigade. Arriving on 12 May, he took command of a sector that included Quinn's Post, Courtney's Post, and Steele's Post, each the scene of heavy fighting. Illness forced his evacuation and he spent June and July in hospital, returning to take command of the New Zealand and Australian Division in September 1915. In November he was given command of the 1st Australian Division and was promoted to major general.

Given his choice of commands in Egypt after the evacuation, Chauvel took charge of the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division; in June 1916, he became the General Officer Commanding, AIF in Egypt. Chauvel won the first decisive British victory of the war when he defeated the Turks at Romani, stopping their second attempt to reach the Suez.

In August 1917 Chauvel became the first Australian to permanently command a corps: the Desert Mounted Corps, comprising British, Australian, and New Zealand units. His appointment followed two failed attempts to take Gaza. The third attempt involved a flanking manoeuvre necessitating the capture of Beersheba, duly achieved through the famous mounted charge by the 4th Light Horse Brigade. Success there opened the way for the eventual advance through Palestine that ended with the Turkish surrender in October 1918. Chauvel has been described as a commander that understood the capabilities of his mounted troops; used them wisely, taking calculated risks and withdrawing when necessary; and kept losses to a minimum.

Chauvel returned to Australia in late 1919 and was appointed Inspector General, the Army's most senior post; he retained that position until 1930. Meanwhile, he had been promoted to lieutenant general and appointed Chief of Staff. In November 1929 he was promoted to general, becoming the first Australian to reach that rank. He retired from the Army in April 1930.

During the Second World War, Chauvel took up the post of Inspector General of the Volunteer Defence Corps; he held this post until his death on 4 March 1945.

Rolls

  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    New Zealand and Australian Division
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
    Conflict
    South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
    Rank
    Major
    London Gazette
    16 April 1901 on page 2607 at position 42
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Staff
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Brigadier General
    London Gazette
    05 November 1915 on page 11001 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    27 January 1916 on page 155 at position 1
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    Australian Imperial Force
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Major General
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Desert Mounted Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Lieutenant General
    London Gazette
    09 November 1918 on page 13273 at position 2
    Commonwealth Gazette
    14 March 1919 on page 421 at position 2
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Desert Mounted Corps
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Lieutenant General
    London Gazette
    11 April 1918 on page 4409 at position 1
    Commonwealth Gazette
    30 August 1918 on page 1781 at position 31
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

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

    Unit
    1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards (Recommendation):

    Unit
    1st Australian Light Horse Brigade
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Brigadier General
  • Honours and Awards:

    Unit
    Staff
    Conflict
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Rank
    Temporary Major General
    London Gazette
    25 September 1916 on page 9340 at position 3
    Commonwealth Gazette
    14 December 1916 on page 3385 at position 19

Timeline

Date of birth 16 April 1865 Tabulam, NSW.
Date commissioned 1886 Commissioned into the Upper Clarence Light Horse.
Other 1888 Resigned from the Upper Clarence Light Horse when he moved to Queensland.
Date commissioned 1890 Commissioned into the Queensland Mounted Infantry.
Date promoted 1896 Made captain in the Queensland Mounted Infantry, and adjutant of the Moreton Regiment.
Other 1897 Went to England with the Queensland Jubilee Contingent.
Other 1899 Major in the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry in the war in South Africa, and was in action at the relief of Kimberley, the advance to Pretoria, the battle of Diamond Hill, and operations in eastern Transvaal.
Date returned to Australia 1901 Took command of the 7th Australian Commonwealth Horse, with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Date of honour or award 16 April 1901 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 19 April 1901 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).
Date promoted 1909 Promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Other 1911 Became adjutant general and second member of the Military Board.
Other 1914-07 Promoted to colonel and appointed Australian representative on the Imperial General Staff in London.
Date of embarkation 27 October 1914
Other 1914-12 Commander of the 1st Light Horse Brigade. Posted to Egypt.
Date of enlistment 11 December 1914
Other 12 May 1915 Arrived at Gallipoli and commanded the sector around Pope's, Quinn's and Courtney's posts.
Other 1915-06 Was evacuated from gallipoli and spent two months in hospital due to illness.
Other units 1915-07 Returned to Gallipoli to take command of the New Zealand and Australian Division.
Date of honour or award 05 November 1915 Mention in Despatches.
Other units 06 November 1915 Given command of the 1st Division.
Date promoted 1915-12 Major general. Later he was made commander of the Australian & New Zealand Mounted Division.
Date of recommendation honour or award 09 December 1915
Date of honour or award 14 January 1916 Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
Date of recommendation honour or award 17 January 1916
Date of honour or award 28 January 1916 Mention in Despatches.
Other units 1916-06 Appointed general officer commanding the Australian Imperial Forces in Egypt.
Date of honour or award 13 July 1916 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 25 October 1916 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 25 November 1916 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 01 December 1916 Mention in Despatches.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917
Date of honour or award 1917-01 Appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) after the battle of Maghdaba.
Date of honour or award 09 March 1917 Egyptian Order of the Nile - 3rd Class.
Date of honour or award 06 July 1917 Mention in Despatches.
Other 1917-08 Placed in command of the Desert Corps.
Date of honour or award 25 January 1918 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 11 April 1918 Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB).
Date of recommendation honour or award 15 April 1918
Date of honour or award 23 May 1918 Mention in Despatches.
Date returned to Australia 1919 Returned to Australia.
Other 1919 - 1930 Appointed Inspector General, the Army's most senior post.
Date of honour or award 22 January 1919 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 07 June 1919 French Croix de Guerre.
Date of honour or award 09 June 1919 Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG).
Date returned to Australia 26 July 1919
Date of honour or award 11 August 1919 Mention in Despatches.
Date of honour or award 09 November 1919 Egyptian Order of the Nile - 2nd Class.
Date promoted 1929-11 Promoted to general.
Other 1930-04 Retired from the Army.
Date of death 04 March 1945 Melbourne, VIC.