Thomas Blamey

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(1884-1951) Field Marshal Sir Thomas A. Blamey, GBE KCB CMG DSO ED, was the only Australian Army soldier ever to rise to the rank of Field Marshal.[1] He was a 1904 cadet volunteer, and achieved a distinguished World War I record. He had expected to become Army Chief of Staff when the position became vacant in 1923, but resigned, staying in the militia, and became Chief Commissioner of Police in Victoria, a time ridden with scandal.

While in the inactive reserve in September 1938, he was named to a war planning committee, and when the European war broke out in 1939, returned to active service and rose rapidly. He fought in North Africa, and returned to become commander-in-chief of Australian forces in March 1942. Douglas MacArthur had more authority over the forces and was the Prime Minister's strategic advisor, although Blamey had access to the head of government.