Who was Harry?

General Sir Henry George (Harry) Chauvel GCMG, KCB led five brigades of Light Horse and cavalry to success.

General Sir Henry George (Harry) Chauvel GCMG, KCB led five brigades of Light Horse and cavalry to success.

General Sir Henry George (Harry) Chauvel GCMG, KCB, was one of Australia’s most distinguished and decorated army generals. He was the first Australian to rise to the rank of Lieutenant General and later General.

By the end of World War 1, he led five brigades of Light Horse and cavalry to a successful sweep to break the Turkish cordon and defeat three Turkish armies to end the war in the Middle East.

Harry Chauvel was born on April 16, 1865 in Tabulam and educated at Sydney Grammar and Toowoomba Grammar schools. His father had served in the British army and began his own unit, the Upper Clarence Light Horse, which Harry joined.

He managed his father’s cattle properties and became an excellent horseman. In 1890 he was commissioned as a captain into the Queensland Mounted Infantry.

In 1906 he married Sibyl and produced four children, with both sons serving in the army. He retired in 1930, but never stopped his community involvement.

He died in Melbourne on March 4, 1945 and was given a State funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral. At Chauvel’s funeral procession a riderless horse –  with boots reversed in the stirrups – followed the gun carriage to Springvale Crematorium, signifying a warrior has fallen in battle and will ride no more.

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