Major General Sir Granville Ryrie


Major General Sir Granville de Laune (“Bull”) Ryrie


Granville Ryrie was born in Michelago, New South Wales on 1st July, 1865. His was a grazing family, although his father was an M.L.A. The young Ryrie, an expert shot, horseman and boxer, was managing the family property, “Micalago” when the Boer War broke out. He had joined the volunteer movement as a trooper but was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 1st Australian Horse. During the Boer War he was Captain, 6th Imperial Bushmen, New South Wales, seeing action in Rhodesia, Transvaal, Cape Colony and Orange River Colony. He was badly wounded in September 1900 and became Honorary Major in November.

He entered politics in 1906 and at the outbreak of WWI was appointed Brigadier General of the 2nd Light Horse. His famous horse was known as ‘Plain Bill’, while he himself was known by his men as ‘The Old Brig’ or ‘Bull’. Ryrie and his brigade landed at Gallipoli in May 1915. He was twice wounded during this campaign before being sent on to Egypt under Major General Harry Chauvel. Ryrie’s brigade served at Romani and Gaza, Beersheba and Es Salt, Amman and Ziza. Whenever Ryrie captured Turkish soldiers, he protected them from the Arab tribesmen who were always certain to seek revenge.

major general sir granville ryrieAfter Chauvel’s departure in 1919, Ryrie temporarily held the office of Major General. During his tenure he investigated the disappearance of one of his Ghurkha sentries, enlisting the help of two Australian Aborigines to find the body. Once Ryrie learned that the murderers were from a nearby village, he approached the head man, hoping for the culprits to be handed over. When arbitration failed, the village was taken and burned.

On his return to Australia, he again became politically active as Minister of Defence from February 1920 to December 1921. He had also returned to the Australian Military Forces in June 1920 as a Major General, a position he held for seven years until his retirement.

He represented Australia at the League of Nations in Geneva, famously saying: “cut the cackle and let’s get down to business.

He passed away in Sydney on 2nd October, 1937 and is buried at Michelago.

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