LIEUTENANT GENERAL SIR JOHN MONASH, GCMG, KCB, VD, KCMG, CB, CROIX de GUERRE (FRANCE), CROIX de GUERRE(BELGIUM), DSM(US)
John Monash was a Melbourne boy, born there on 27th June, 1865 to Prussian- Jewish parents. While at university in 1884, from where he graduated with an engineering qualification, he joined the 4th Battalion, Victorian Rifles. He was promoted to Major in the North Melbourne Battery in 1897, where he served for eleven years. After a stint in the Australian Intelligence Corps where he studied military tactics, he took command, as their Colonel, of the 13th Infantry Brigade.
He was sent to Gallipoli with the 4th Infantry Brigade, arriving on 26th April 1915. Shortly after that he became Brigadier. On 21st August, Monash’s men attacked Hill 60. In April 1916, they were in Egypt at Tel-el-Kebir where they commemorated the first Anzac Day. He distributed red ribbons to the men who had fought on the 25th April 1915, and blue ribbons to the troops who had fought after that day.
Monash was sent to France in June 1916, and in July he received his commission as Major General of the 3rd Division in July. He saw a successful battle at Messines and was promoted to Lieutenant General of the Australian Corps. He was involved in numerous battles, some of which were Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele, Villiers-Bretonneux and Hamel, on the way to the Hindenburg Line. A few of these included Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele, Villiers-Bretonneux and Hamel.
After the war, Monash spent eight months in London overseeing the repatriation of the A.I.F. before a public welcome home on Boxing Day 1919. He remained a consultant with the army and managed Victoria’s State Electricity Commission in a civilian capacity. He also maintained an active role in the Jewish community. In 1929 he was promoted to full General in recognition of his wartime service.
‘Bootstrap’ Monash, as he was affectionately known, passed away in Melbourne on the 8th October 1931.