Biography

Birth date: 06 June 1876
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Tiaro
Death date: 04 July 1955
Death place: Australia: Queensland, Brisbane
Final rank: Major General
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
Units:
  • 1 Division
  • General List
  • Staff
  • Unattached List
  • General List 1st Division
  • 1st Australian Division
  • 4th Australian Division
  • 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry

William "Bill" Glasgow was one of the most renowned Australian soldiers of the First World War, a politician, and later a diplomat. He was born on 6 June 1876 near Maryborough in Queensland. After finishing school, Glasgow found clerical work and joined the Queensland Mounted Infantry with whom he fought as a lieutenant in the Boer War, winning the Distinguished Service Order.

He ran his father's grocery store after returning from South Africa and married Annie Stumm in April 1904. Glasgow also remained in the military and by 1912 had reached the rank of major in the Australian Military Forces. He enlisted as a major in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment at the beginning of the First World War and landed at Gallipoli on 12 May 1915.

In August he took command of his regiment and served as a lieutenant colonel until after the evacuation. Having been made temporary brigadier and given command of the 13th Infantry Brigade on the Western Front, Glasgow led his men through many famous battles: Pozières; Messines; Passchendaele, Mouquet Farm and Dernancourt. He was promoted to major general on 30 June 1918 and given command of the 1st Division, which he led through the final months of the war. A stern disciplinarian, Glasgow lobbied for the death penalty for a group of Australian deserters, but he was also said to have worked hard to ensure the welfare of his men, a labour that continued during the postwar years.

Glasgow was demobilised in August 1919 having been awarded several French decorations, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, and a knighthood but continued to serve as a reserve officer. At the 1919 election, Glasgow won a senate seat, becoming Minister for Home and Territories and later Minister for Defence. He was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate during the Scullin Government but lost his seat in 1931.

After his political career ended, Glasgow directed several companies, sat on the Queensland Board of Advice of the National Bank of Australasia, and was President of the Queensland Branch of the United Australia Party. In 1939 he became Australia's first High Commissioner to Canada, working on the Empire Air Training Scheme and regularly visiting Australian airmen during their training. Glasgow's tenure was marked by a close and productive relationship with Canada's prime minister; he was a strong advocate for closer liaison on Pacific strategy and attended the 1944 conferences between Churchill and Roosevelt, receiving briefings and representing Australia's interests.

He returned to Australia in 1945 and died in Brisbane ten years later, on 4 July 1955.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Unit: 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
  • Conflict: South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
  • Rank: Major
  • Date of embarkation: 24 September 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane
  • Unit: 1st Australian Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Order of St Michael and St George
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Brevet Colonel
  • Unit: Unattached List
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Brevet Colonel
  • Unit: Unattached List
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 4th Australian Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Brevet Colonel
  • Unit: Unattached List
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
  • Unit: General List 1st Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 1st Australian Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Order of the Bath
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Italian Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Order of St Michael and St George
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Distinguished Service Order
  • Unit: 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
  • Conflict: South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
  • Awarded: Order of the Bath
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry
  • Conflict: South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 2nd Australian Light Horse Regiment
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: Staff
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: General List
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: French Officer of the Legion of Honour, Fourth Class
  • Unit: 1st Australian Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: French Croix de Guerre
  • Unit: 13th Australian Infantry Brigade
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: French Croix de Guerre
  • Unit: 1st Australian Division
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

Timeline

Date of birth 1876-06-06 Tiaro, Maryborough, QLD.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1897 Volunteered for service in South Africa and served as a lieutenant in the 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry Contingent in the Boer War.
Date of honour or award 1901-04-16 Distinguished Service Order.
Date of honour or award 1901-04-16 Mention in Despatches.
Other 1903 Organised the 13th Light Horse Regiment at Gympie.
Date promoted 1906 Promoted to captain.
Date promoted 1912-05-06 Promoted to major.
Date and unit at appointment (Officers) 1914-08-19 Joined the AIF.
Other 1914-08-19 Appointed with the rank of major in the 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
Date of embarkation 1914-09-24 Embarked for Egypt.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1915
Other 1915-05-12 Landed at Anzac.
Date promoted 1915-08-08 Appointed to command his regiment with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Other units 1916-03 Appointed to command the 13th Infantry Brigade on the Western Front, with rank of temporary brigadier.
Date of honour or award 1916-06-03 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG).
Other 1916-09 Led 13th Infantry Brigade in the battle at Mouquet Farm.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-08
Other 1917-06 Led 13th Infantry Brigade in the battle at Messines.
Other 1917-09 Led 13th Infantry Brigade in the battle at Polygon Wood.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-09-20
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918
Date of honour or award 1918-01-01 Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-03-09
Other 1918-04 Led 13th Infantry Brigade in the battle at Dernancourt, where the brigade helped stem the German advance.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-05-10
Date promoted 1918-06-30 Appointed major general and given command of 1st Division.
Other 1918-08-08 1st Division arrived at the Somme front and participated in the Battle of Amiens.
Other 1918-08-09 1st Division participated in the Battle of Lihons.
Other 1918-08-23 1st Division participated in the Battle of Chuignes.
Other 1918-09-18 1st Division participated in the battle at the Hindenburg Line.
Other 1919 Elected to the Senate as a Nationalist.
Date of honour or award 1919-01-29 French Legion of Honour - 4th Class Officer.
Date of honour or award 1919-06-09 Created a Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB).
Date of honour or award 1919-08-21 French Croix de Guerre.
Other 1921 Commanded 4th Division.
Other 1926-06-28 Became Minister for Home and Territories.
Other 1927-04 - 1929-10 Minister for Defence.
Other 1931 Lost his seat in the general elections.
Other 1939-12-24 Appointed first Australian High Commissioner to Canada.
Date of death 1955-07-04 Died in Brisbane, QLD. He was given a state funeral and cremated.