General Sir Henry George Chauvel, GCMG, KCB was a senior officer of the Australian Imperial Force. He fought at Gallipoli and during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in the First World War. He was the first Australian to attain the rank of lieutenant general and later general, and the first to lead a corps.
About Harry Chauvel in brief
General Sir Henry George Chauvel, GCMG, KCB was a senior officer of the Australian Imperial Force. He fought at Gallipoli and during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign in the Middle Eastern theatre of the First World War. He was the first Australian to attain the rank of lieutenant general and later general, and the first to lead a corps. As commander of the Desert Mounted Corps, he was responsible for one of the most decisive victories and fastest pursuits in military history. The son of a grazier, Chauvel was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Upper Clarence Light Horse, a unit organised by his father, in 1886. He became a regular officer in 1896, and went to the United Kingdom as part of the Queensland contingent for the 1897 Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. In 1899 he commanded one of two companies of Queensland Mounted Infantry that were Queensland’s initial contribution to the Boer War. During the Second World War he was recalled to duty as Inspector in Chief of the Volunteer Defence Corps. In 1919 he was appointed Inspector General, the Army’s most senior post. In November 1929, he became the first Australians to be promoted to the rank to general. He died in Sydney in 1936, at the age of 69, and was buried in the Sydney suburb of Tenterfield. He is survived by his wife Fanny Ada Mary, née James, and two sons Arthur and Harry, who became second lieutenants, while his two younger sons became troopers. The family moved to Queensland in 1886, when Charles Henry Edward Chauvel became Governor of New South Wales.
He sold his property at Tabulam in 1888 for £50,000, but bought a much smaller 12,000-acre property at Canning Downs on the Canning downs on the Queensland Downs in January 1890. In 1889, Harry embarked on a tour of Europe, visiting Venice, Florence, Paris and London. While he watched military manoeuvres near Aldershot in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, he watched the military manoeuvre near Aldreshotershot. He escorted Lord Carrington, when he formally opened the railway at Tenter field in 1886 in a series of severe droughts. In 1886, Charles Henry was given permission to raise two troops of cavalry. On 14 March 1886, Harry served as a captain in the Lower Clarence Lighthorse, with his sons Arthur. and Harry becoming a captain. After the war, Harry became the Australian representative on the Imperial General Staff. In 1913 he was promoted to colonel. In 1916, he took charge of the Anzac Mounted Division, gaining victories in the Battle of Romani in August and theBattle of Magdhaba in December, and nearly winning the First Battle of Gaza in March 1917. At Beersheba in October 1917, his light horse captured the town and its vital water supply in one of history’s last great cavalry charges. By September 1918, he launched a secret redeployment of three of his mounted divisions and launch a surprise attack on the enemy that won the battle of Megiddo.