Title: Morshead – Hero of Tobruk and El Alamein

Author: Coombes, David

Condition: Near Mint

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 2001

ISBN: 0195513983

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 308 pages

Comments: The comprehensive and arguably the best written biography of Lieutenant-General Leslie Morshead.

Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead was arguably Australia’s greatest soldier after Blamey. In World War II, Morshead’s finest achievements were against the distinguished German general Erwin Rommel at Tobruk and El Alamein. These two victories – in a key theatre, against a seemingly invincible enemy – considerably shortened the war and shaped its future conduct. Later, in the South-West Pacific, Morshead became a successful corps commander, leading Australian troops in New Guinea and in Borneo.

In World War I, Morshead took part in the first day’s landing at Gallipoli and, subsequently, was the only officer from his battalion not to become a casualty in the fighting for Lone Pine. On the Western Front, Morshead won a reputation for being a martinet: he was not liked or admired by the other officers or the men he commanded. Yet as commanding officer of the 33rd Battalion he achieved remarkable success.

During the interwar years he divided his time between his love for his family, the army, and his career with the Orient Steamship Company. Morshead could have gone on to greater heights, but chose not to. David Coombes explores reasons why he refused Prime Minister Curtin’s offer to become Commander-in-Chief and his antipathy towards politicians. Drawing on previously inaccessible private records and recent scholarship, Dr Coombes gives a candid account of the Australian Army’s greatest ever field commander and offers reasons why Morshead’s career embodied qualities quintessential to the Australian military tradition: the tradition of the ‘civilian in uniform’ or citizen soldier.