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Remembering Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB CMG

By johnboy - 25 April 2009 8

There’s a myth that the Anzacs were salt of the earth middle Australians lead to disaster at Gallipoli by effete English officers who sat in boats offshore quaffing champagne.

It fits later ideas we’ve decided to have about ourselves but there are two major problems with it.

The first, and apparently a not very important one, is that it isn’t true.

The second is that it traduces the memory of a Canberran. So we’re going to rectify it, as far as we can, here.

The first commander of the Australian Imperial Force was one Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB CMG who landed at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 at 7.30am.

He had previously founded the Royal Military College here in Canberra, and worshipped at St John’s Church in Reid.

He was wounded by a Turkish sniper on 15 May 1915 and died of his wounds on 18 May 1915.

Items to consider as to his importance at the time:

    — King George V rushed to ensure Throsby Bridges knighthood took place before death.
    — His horse Sandy was the only Australian horse brought home from the war.
    — Throsby Bridges was, until the repatriation of the Unknown Soldier in the 1990’s, the only dead soldier from the First World War to be returned to Australia.
    — His grave at Duntroon is the only structure in Canberra designed by Walter Burley Griffin (There’s also a magnificent plaque to his memory at the front of the Northern wall of St John’s Church in Reid).

If you’re interested there’s a solid biography at Digger History.

What’s Your opinion?


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8 Responses to
Remembering Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges KCB CMG
Granny 3:21 am 27 Apr 09

Well, that was definitely fascinating. I’m not sure I totally understand it all, though. Does this mean that the ANZACs were led to disaster by an Australian? You would kind of think that being known as ‘the man behind Gallipoli’ would traduce his character far more somehow.

I-filed 10:09 pm 26 Apr 09

deye said :

which one are you talking about ?

Anzac’s

Nosey 6:13 pm 26 Apr 09

Sorry I ever mentioned the donations.

The comments following mine initially are not even close to the original comments one would have expected from such a post.

Though shall forget.

deye 5:10 pm 26 Apr 09

which one are you talking about ?

I-filed 12:00 pm 26 Apr 09

Can you take out the greengrocer’s apostrophe in your post JB? It will confuse people trying to get their head around apostrophization and looking to you as a journalistically trained role model! 🙂

sepi 8:02 pm 25 Apr 09

The efficiency dividend was murder on small organisations – witness the ABS laying off staff right now.

You will find most of the national institutions accept donations, and these are tax deductible as they are non-profit organisations. The National Gallery gets lots of donations and bequests.

NickD 3:40 pm 25 Apr 09

The AWM is fairly generously funded by the Government and has another major capital works program coming up on top of the ANZAC Hall and post-World War Two galleries which have been added over the last few years. The efficiency dividend has aparantly hit it hard, but it’s not about to go broke!

Nosey 10:58 am 25 Apr 09

Thanks JB.

I recommend following the links for an interesting read.

Unfortunately on my journey of links I found a section of the Australian War Memorial where you can support it by donating.

While I appreciate those who have and do donate, surely something as important and special as the AWM should be fully backed by the federal government.

Maybe I am wrong but if donations ceased what would happen?

Would the gov let it close down?

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