Biography

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 number: 4/5 - Korea, 1950-1953
45 - Korea, 1950-1953
SP 15209 - Period 1940-1949
SX1436 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Units:
  • Army
  • 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade
  • 5 Australian Division
  • 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion

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.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Recommended for: Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Recommended for: United States Legion of Merit
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Recommended for: Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Recommended for: United States Legion of Merit
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Recommended for: Distinguished Service Order
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Recommended for: Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Recommended for: Mention in despatches
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Recommended for: Mention in despatches
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Distinguished Service Order
  • Unit: 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 2/10th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • Unit: 5 Australian Division
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
  • Awarded: Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • Unit: 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Awarded: United States Officer of the Legion of Merit
  • Unit: 28th British Commonwealth Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: Korea, 1950-1953
  • Awarded: Order of the Bath
  • Unit: Army
  • Conflict: Unlinked Conflict
  • Awarded: Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • Unit: Army
  • Conflict: Unlinked Conflict

Collection Items

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Film

Timeline

Date of birth 1913-03-19 Ballarat, VIC.
Date and unit at enlinstment (ORs) 1930-02-12 Inducted Corps of Staff Cadets, Royal Military College.
Other 1933-12-11 Graduated from Royal Military College.
Date commissioned 1933-12-12 Appointed lieutenant.
Other units 1934-02-01 Appointed to 4th Light Horse Regiment.
Other 1934-08-10 Appointed adjutant and quartermaster.
Other 1938-09-22 Trained in India.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1939-10 Joined 2nd AIF.
Other units 1939-10-13 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 1940-06-18 Arrived in Scotland.
Other units 1940-09-16 Seconded temporary major and brigade major 18th Brigade.
Other 1940-12-31 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 1941-10-01 Appointed general service officer grade 2 Headquarters 6th Division.
Date of honour or award 1941-12-30 Mention in Despatches.
Other 1942-01-25 - 1942-05-30 Attended a course at the Middle East Staff School.
Date promoted 1942-07-01 Appointed lieutenant colonel and general service officer grade 1, Headquarters 5th Division.
Date returned to Australia 1942-07-13 Returned to Melbourne.
Other 1943-02-03 Arrived in New Guinea.
Date returned to Australia 1943-05-25 Returned to Townsville.
Other 1943-06-02 - 1943-06-26 Attended a course at Royal Australian Air Force School of Army Co-operation.
Other 1943-07-18 Arrived in New Guinea.
Date returned to Australia 1943-12-05 Returned to Townsville.
Other 1943-12-10 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 1944-05-31 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 1945-05-31 Arrived in Morotai.
Other 1945-07-01 Arrived in Balikapan.
Date of honour or award 1945-07-18 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 1945-10-06 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 1945-10-15 Attached to Headquarters 18th Brigade.
Other 1945-12-11 Appointed assistant adjutant and quartermaster general, Headquarters 7th Division.
Other 1946-01-23 Returned to Melbourne.
Other 1946-02-16 Appointed general service officer grade 1 Training, General Staff Headquarters AMF, later appointed director of Military Training.
Other 1946-08-24 Appointed instructor Camberly Staff College.
Date promoted 1947-01-30 Appointed major, Australian Staff Corps.
Other 1948-10-15 Attended a course at Joint Services Staff College, United Kingdom.
Date promoted 1948-10-18 Appointed lieutenant colonel Australian Staff Corps.
Other 1949-07-15 Appointed director of Military Arts, Royal Military College.
Other 1951-07-01 Appointed director of Infantry.
Other 1951-07-01 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 1952-05-15 Appointed temporary colonel, Australian Staff Corps.
Other 1952-06-20 Appointed temporary brigadier.
Other units 1952-06-24 Appointed to command 28th Brigade.
Other 1953-04-01 Transferred to Unattached List, Southern Command.
Other 1953-04-24 Permenent General Staff, Branch Army Headquarters.
Other 1953-05-19 Appointed honourary brigadier.
Date of honour or award 1953-05-26 Gazetted Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of honour or award 1953-10-30 United States Legion of Merit - Officer.
Other 1954-05-10 Appointed temporary brigadier.
Other 1955-11-08 Attended a course at the Imperial Defence College, United Kingdom.
Date promoted 1957-03-12 Appointed BMO and permenent general staff Branch Army Headquarters.
Other 1957-08-18 Appointed general officer commanding Northern Command.
Other 1957-08-21 Appointed temporary major general.
Date promoted 1959-09-02 Appointed major general.
Other 1961-01-16 Appointed Adjutant General, second Military Member of Military Board.
Other 1963-11-01 Appointed general officer commanding Eastern Command.
Date of honour or award 1965-06-12 Gazetted Companion of the Bath. Awarded for 'a most notable contribution to the efficiency and development of the Australian Army.'
Other 1966-01-19 Chief of General Staff, 1st Military Member of Military Board.
Date promoted 1966-05-19 Appointed lieutenant general.
Date of honour or award 1967-06-10 Gazetted Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Date of discharge 1971-07-10 Tranferred to the Retired List.
Date of death 2004-01-05 Sydney, NSW.