Leslie James Morshead

  • Birth of Leslie James Morshead

    Birth of Leslie James Morshead
    Leslie James Morshead was born 18 September 1889 in Ballarat, Victoria.
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    The Great Life of Leslie James Morshead

  • Life After School

    Life After School
    He became a teacher before joining the Australian Imperial Force in September 1914 as a lieutenant, Morshead was posted to the 2nd Battalion.
  • Gallipoli

    By the time he landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 he was a captain.
  • The Famous Battle of Lone Pine

    The Famous Battle of Lone Pine
    By August, when he fought at the famous battle of Lone Pine, he had been promoted to major.
  • Promotion

    After Gallipoli he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of the 33rd Battalion due to his reputation for calmness and organization (April 1916).
    Pictured is the 33rd Battalions colour patch.
  • France

    Leslie James Morshead made the 33rd Battalion ‘one of the very best’ and took it to France in late November 1916. They moved into the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on 27 November 1916.
  • The Battle of Messines

    The Battle of Messines
    Morshead led the 33rd battalion successfully through the battle of Messines.
  • The Battle of Passchendaele

    The Battle of Passchendaele
    Leslie James Morshead led the 33rd battalion successfully through the battle of Passchendaele in Belgium, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1917.
  • The Battle Villers-Bretonneux

    The Battle Villers-Bretonneux
    Leslie James Morshead continued to command through the battle Villers-Bretonneux.
  • The Battle of Amiens

    The Battle of Amiens
    Morshead continued to command through the battle Amiens.
  • Returned to Sydney

    Returned to Sydney
    Morshead joined General Monash's staff for the demobilisation of the Australian Imperial Force and returned to Sydney in December 1919.
  • Life after World War 1

    Life after World War 1
    At Scots Church, Melbourne, on 17 November 1921, Leslie James Morshead married Myrtle Catherine Hay Woodside. Having failed to make a success of a soldier-settlers' block in Queensland, Morshead returned to Sydney to work in shipping, gaining promotions and posts in several Australian cities and in England.
  • The 18th Brigade

    The 18th Brigade
    Morshead remained active in the militia, commanding the 19th and 36th battalions and reaching the rank of temporary brigadier. On 13 October 1939 Morshead was given command of the 18th Brigade.
  • Sailing to Britain

    Sailing to Britain
    Morshead along with the 18th Brigade sailed for Britain in May 1940.
    Pictured: Unit Colour Patch
  • Promotion and a new command

    Promotion and a new command
    In February 1941 Morshead was promoted to major general in command of the 9th Division, then in the Middle East. Reputed to be a tough commander who could be blunt with senior officers.
  • The Siege of Tobruk

    The Siege of Tobruk
    Morshead led his division through the siege of Tobruk where his aggressive defence denied the Germans a breakthrough.
  • The Success of Tobruk

    The Success of Tobruk
    He won fame as the defender of Tobruk during the Second World War and is among the most renowned Australian divisional commanders of that war. His success at Tobruk was followed by promotion to lieutenant general and command of the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East during march 1942.
  • The Battle of El Alamein

    The Battle of El Alamein
    Morshead, at the risk of alienating his British superiors, argued to keep the 9th Division together in the face of British demands to detach individual brigades. He led the division through the battle of El Alamein, where the 9th Division's contribution was considered vital to the victory. During the battle, he regularly visited both the front and the wounded behind the lines.
  • Returned to Australia

    Returned to Australia
    The 9th Division and Morshead return to Australia
    Returning to Australia in 1943, Morshead took command of II Corps in October.
  • New Guinea Force

    New Guinea Force
    In November 1943 Morshead was elevated to command both New Guinea Force and the Second Australian Army.
  • The War in Borneo

    The War in Borneo
    In May 1944 he was given command of I Corps, leading them through the final battles of the war in Borneo.
  • The Orient Line

    The Orient Line
    Morshead refused offers of military and diplomatic posts, as well as the governorship of Queensland, returning instead to the shipping industry as manager of the New South Wales branch of the Orient Line.
  • Recognition of World War II

    Recognition of World War II
    In the year 1948 Morshead was thrice mentioned in dispatches for his service in World War II and awarded the American Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm. He also became general manager in Australia for the Orient Line that year. Morshead held a number of other directorships and civil appointments and was involved in right-wing politics before becoming ill with cancer in the mid-1950s.
    The Palm pictured on the Medal of Freedom is gold, however Morshead recieved the second grade Silver Palm.
  • The death of a Great Man

    The death of a Great Man
    Newspaper Article
    Sir Leslie James Morshead died of cancer on 26 September 1959 at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, Sydney.