Title: The Last Knight – A Biography of General Sir Phillip Bennett AC, KBE, DSO
Author: Lowry, Robert
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2001
Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 408 pages
Comments: The biography Of General Sir Phillip Bennett AC, KBE, DSO.
General Sir Phillip Bennett is a good example of what makes a great leader. With a good combination of innate personal qualities, education, broad experience and the hardening that comes with survival on the battlefield he prospered. As a young officer he survived the first and most perilous year of the Korean War, including the Battle of Kapyong. He also withstood the rigours of battalion command in South Vietnam in 1968-69, including the Battle of Coral, one of the most intense operations of the war in South Vietnam for the Australian forces.
Bennett’s story is not only one of great battles and heroic exploits, but also a story of the contest for ‘policy dominance’between the civil servants and the military leadership illustrating what was involved in forging the foundations of the Australian Defence Force we have today. He was also a marker of changing times as the first post-Second World War officer and the last Korean War veteran to reach the most senior ranks as well as the last Chief of the General Staff to be knighted. He was the last knight to command the Australian Defence Force.
Phillip Bennett retired at the age of fifty-eight and, five months later, accepted the post of Governor of Tasmania where he served the people of Tasmania for eight years.
Phillip Bennett’s story is characterised by dedication, tragedy, luck, and great achievement. His career spanned the evolution of the post-Second World War Army and the bureaucratic tensions that followed the demise of the separate departments of Navy, Army and Air Force, the centralisation of defence policymaking within the Department of Defence, and the formation of the Australian Defence Force. This is his life; the story of The Last Knight.