Commanding Officers: 6th Infantry Brigade

Colonel Richard LINTON

Photograph courtesy of the Linton family

Commander 6th Infantry Brigade, March 1915 – September 1915

Born 3rd November 1861, Dalton Dumfriesshire, Scotland; died with the torpedoing of the Southland, Aegean Sea, 2nd September 1915

Born in Scotland, Linton moved to Australia and lived in Middle Brighton, Victoria. Linton first took a commission on 13th June 1899 into Victorian Scottish Regiment, rising through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel in 1908. He then became Colonel and commander of 18th Infantry Brigade in July 1913.

His appointment to the AIF was on 16th March 1915 as Colonel 6th Infantry Brigade, and on 8th May embarked with the 6th Infantry Brigade Headquarters for the war. On 2nd September 1915 Linton was on board the transport ship Southland taking troops from Egypt to Gallipoli when she was torpedoed by a German submarine about 30 miles off Lemnos near the island of Agios Efstratios. Lifeboats were lowered into Linton grave.JPGthe water but the one that contained Linton capsized. According to eye-witness reports he refused to go into the rescue boat until all the other men had been rescued, but spending over two hours in the cold water took its toll, and he died soon after of shock and exposure.

Colonel Linton was later buried with full military honours in East Mudros Military Cemetery, Lemnos photograph above shows Colonel Linton’s cross in the foreground.

cwgcFor further commemorative information on Colonel Richard LINTON, including a commemorative certificate visit the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website 

Brigadier General Reginald Spencer BROWNE

Browne.jpgCommander Australian Details Egypt, August 1915 – September 1915; Commander 6th Infantry Brigade September 1915 – December 1915; Commander Training Depots, January 1916 – October 1917; Commander Molonglo Concentration Camp, Canberra, February 1918 to end of war

Born 13th July 1856, Appin, New South Wales; died 9th November 1943, Brisbane, Queensland

Browne joined the Queensland Mounted Infantry in 1887 and was commissioned a lieutenant, working his way up the ranks to major in 1896. Browne served with the 1st Queensland Contingent in South Africa during the Second Boer War, and sailed in November 1899. In 1903 Browne became commanding officer of the 13th Light Horse Regiment with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and in 1906 he became the commander of the 5th Light Horse Brigade and was promoted to full colonel. He was then transferred onto the list of Reserve of Officers in 1911.

Browne joined the First Australian Imperial Force on 16th March 1915 as commander of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. This brigade was sent to Egypt, but was dismounted and broke up on 26th August 1915. Browne’s new unit, the 13th Light Horse Regiment, was assigned to the newly formed 2nd Division, with which it served at Anzac Cove.

On 28th August 1915, Browne was appointed officer commanding Australian Details Egypt, responsible for training reinforcements. In September Major General Legge sent for him to replace Colonel Richard Linton, the commander of the 6th Infantry Brigade who had died following the torpedoing of the troop transport Southland. Browne took over the brigade on 8th September 1915 and served at Lone Pine and Quinn’s Post, but at the age of 59 the rigours of the campaign combined with his age began to take its toll. Nonetheless he stayed until he was evacuated on 10th December 1915.

On his return to Egypt, Browne was transferred to the Training and General Base Depot at Tel el Kebir. He was promoted to temporary brigadier general on 16th March 1916 and appointed to command the Depot on 20th March 1916. When the Base moved to England, Browne went with it taking command of the Training Depots in England on 14th June 1916. On 25th July 1916, his command was abolished and merged into AIF depots in the United Kingdom under Major General Newton James Moore. Browne took charge of the 2nd Command Depot at Weymouth, England; this unit was responsible for taking in men “unfit for service within six months” and therefore to be returned home.

On 12th October 1917, Browne was declared medically unfit and listed for return to Australia. He took a visit to France, and then left for Australia on 24th November 1917. On 10th February 1918, Browne was appointed to command the new Molonglo Concentration Camp near Canberra, where German internees were held. Browne was demobilized on 17th December 1918, and was formally retired on 20 October 1921 as an honorary major general.

australian-dictionary-of-biographyFor further reading on Brigadier General Reginald Spencer BROWNE visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography


Major General Sir Charles William GWYNN

Gwynn.jpgGSO1 (Chief of Staff) of Australian 2nd Division, July 1915 – December 1916; Commander 6th Infantry Brigade, 10th December 1915 – 28th February 1916;  GSO1 of II Anzac Corps 28th February 1916 to end of war

Born 4th November 1870, County Down, Ireland; died 12th November 1962, Dublin, Ireland

In 1893-94, Gwynn saw active service in West Africa in operations and in 1897 joined the geographical section of the Intelligence Branch of the War Office. Following the re-conquest of Sudan from the Mahdi, Gwynn undertook survey work there, remaining until 1904.

In June 1911, he was detailed to Australia as an instructor at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, where he served as the director of military art, instructing tactics, strategy, and military history. With the outbreak of World War I, he returned to England, where he unsuccessfully sought a posting to France. In July 1915, he was sent to the Middle East where he was assigned as the Chief of Staff to Major General Legge of the Australian 2nd Division temporarily commanding the 5th and 6th Brigades. He was eventually posted to serve as the Chief of Staff to Lieutenant General Godley of the II ANZAC Corps, a position he held until the end of the War.

After World War I, he served in a variety of staff assignments, culminating in May 1926 when he was made Commandant of the Staff College, Camberley.

australian-dictionary-of-biographyFor further reading on Major General Sir Charles William GWYNN visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Major General Sir John GELLIBRAND

Gellibrand.JPGQuartermaster for 1st Division, the 2nd Division 1914 – December 1915; Commander 12th Battalion December 1915 – February 1916; Commander 6th Infantry Brigade, 1st March 1916 – June 1917; General Staff AIF Depots UK, June 1917 – November 1917; Commander 13th Infantry Brigade, November 1917 – May 1918; Commander 3rd Division, June 1918 to end of war

Born 5th December 1872, Ouse, Tasmania; died 3rd June 1945, Yea, Victoria

Gellibrand entered Sandhurst Military College, Camberley graduating at the top of his class in 1893, and was awarded the General Proficiency Sword for gaining the highest aggregate marks in the final exams. When war broke out in South Africa, Gellibrand became adjutant of the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment. In August 1905, Gellibrand passed the staff college entrance exam and entered the Staff College at Camberley in January 1906. On graduation in 1908, he was posted to Ceylon as Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General (DAA & QMG).

When the first world war broke out Gellibrand was appointed to the AIF as a captain and given the post of Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General (DAQMG) on the staff of the 1st Division. As DAA & QMG, he was responsible for supply and at Gallipoli Gellibrand helped organise the beach parties, rounded up stragglers and organised the movement of supplies and ammunition forward.

On 1st May Gellibrand had been wounded in the ankle by shrapnel. Then on 11th May he received a severe wound in his right shoulder and was evacuated to the hospital ship Gascon. While it was still anchored off Anzac Cove, Bridges was also wounded and brought on board the same ship (and to the same bed, Gellibrand was moved out of the way), where Bridges died on 18th May 1915. Gellibrand returned to Anzac on 31st May 1915.

Gellibrand put in for a transfer to the 2nd Division, then forming in Egypt. He became DAA & QMG of the 2nd Division in Egypt on 25th August 1915, embarking for Anzac once again on the Southland. On 2nd September, the ship was torpedoed. Gellibrand eventually reached Anzac on 6th September. He was struck down by typhoid again on 11th October and evacuated a second time.

On 4th December 1915, Gellibrand received a promotion to lieutenant colonel and was given command of the 12th Battalion, the 1st Division’s Tasmanian battalion, then resting on Lemnos. It did not return to Anzac, instead, the battalion returned to Egypt on 6th January 1916.

On 1st March 1916 he was again promoted, this time to full colonel and temporary brigadier general, and given command of the 6th brigade, on the specific request of the division commander, Major General James Gordon Legge. The 6th Brigade sailed for the Western Front just a few days later, on 18th March 1916, and entered the line there on 10th April. On 31st May, Gellibrand was wounded by a German shell that landed close to his headquarters, and evacuated to England, returning on 28th June. The brigade fought at Pozieres, where it performed well in the attack on 4th August 1916. However Gellibrand was criticised for having his headquarters in Sausage Valley, some 3 km behind the front.

Gellibrand was evacuated to England on 13th December 1916 with influenza, returning on 30th January 1917. In the meantime he was promoted to brevet major in the British Army’s Reserve of Officer’s List. Gellibrand was acting commander of the 2nd Division until 4th March 1917, directing it in probing attacks against Malt Trench when it was suspected that the Germans were withdrawing. Gellibrand’s advance began well but ended with a disastrous, ill-planned and ill-executed “unauthorised” attack on Noreuil. This caused Birdwood to lose confidence in Gellibrand, although General Hubert Gough accepted it as part of the risk that had been accepted.

The 6th Brigade next attack was on the Hindenburg Line near Bullecourt. In this attack, Gellibrand had his headquarters well forward and his planning was meticulous and detailed. Nonetheless, the attack was very nearly a disaster and only decisive and forceful leadership from Gellibrand retrieved the situation. For this battle he was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Service Order (DSO).

After a brief spell as acting commander of the 2nd Division from 25th May to 5th June 1917 Gellibrand was sent to the AIF Depots in the United Kingdom as Brigadier General, General Staff (BGGS) to Major General James Whiteside McCay. Gellibrand helped McCay overhaul the organisation and the training syllabus.

Gellibrand returned to the Western Front taking over command of the 12th Infantry Brigade on 13th November 1917. In April 1918 and the German Spring Offensive, the brigade was committed to battle in the path of the advancing German Army at Dernancourt. The brigade held and defeated the German advance.

On 30th May 1918, as a consequence of the Australian government’s directive that all senior commands be held by Australians, Major General J. Monash was appointed to command the Australian Corps and General Sir William Birdwood selected Gellibrand to take Monash’s place in command of the 3rd Division. Gellibrand was promoted to Major General on 1st June 1918.

After the war Gellibrand took a deep interest in public affairs, and particularly in Australia’s defence. One of his finest achievements was his untiring work for the Legacy movement, the formation of which he inspired when he founded the Remembrance Club in Hobart in 1922. From its original aims, mainly to guard the interests of ex-soldiers, the Legacy clubs extended their activities to caring for widows and children of deceased ex-servicemen.

australian-dictionary-of-biographyFor further reading on Major General Sir John GELLIBRAND visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Major General John PATON

Paton.JPGCommander 25th Battalion, March 1915 – October 1915; Commander 7th Infantry Brigade, October 1915 – November 1916; Commander 17th Infantry Brigade, May 1917 – July 1917; Commander 6th Infantry Brigade July 1917 – 24th August 1918

Born 18th November 1867, Newcastle, New South Wales; died 21st November 1943, Newcastle New South Wales

Paton joined the New South Wales Military Forces in December 1887 as a second lieutenant in the 4th Infantry. Paton steadily rose through the ranks and at the outbreak of World War I was appointed to command the Newcastle Defended Port. His first action was as second in command of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force under William Holmes. During the operation, Paton captured the German motor launch Komet which later became HMAS Una.

Paton joined the AIF on 16th March 1915 as a lieutenant colonel commanding the 25th Battalion, part of the 7th Infantry Brigade, which embarked for Egypt on 2nd June 1915 where it trained until it embarked for Gallipoli on 28th August 1915. Paton took over the 7th Brigade on 15th October 1915 on direct orders from Major General Brandon Leon Pass. During the evacuation of Anzac, Paton was placed in command of the Rear Party, and at 0410 20th December 1915 Paton embarked on the last boat to leave Anzac.

Paton arrived in France on 19th March 1916 and on the 5th November 1916, while directing an attack on a trench known as “The Maze” near Flers on the Somme, Paton was wounded by a German sniper and evacuated to England. Once recovered, Paton commanded the 17th Brigade from May to July 1917 before taking over the 6th Brigade in Belgium and France, leading it in the attacks on Broodseinde, Passchendaele and Ville-sur-Ancre. He was twice temporarily in command of the 2nd Division. On 24th August 1918 following frustration at being passed over for divisional command multiple times, Paton elected to retire and returned to Australia.

Following the war Paton returned to business and was vice president of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce from 1919 to 1920, president from 1920 to 1923, and vice president again from 1929 to 1931. Paton returned to service after the war and commanded the 5th and 1st Brigades, and then the 2nd Division, retiring in 1926 with the rank of Major General.

australian-dictionary-of-biographyFor further reading on Major General John PATON visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography


Brigadier General James Campbell ROBERTSON

Robertson.jpgCommander 9th Battalion, June 1915 – November 1916; Commander 12th Infantry Brigade, November 1916 – November 1917; Director of Training AIF Depots UK, May 1918 – July 1918; Commander 6th Infantry Brigade, August 1918 to end of war

Born 24th October 1878, Toowoomba, Queensland; died 22nd January 1951, Toowoomba, Queensland

Robertson was commissioned in 1903 as lieutenant in the 14th Light Horse Regiment and by 1913 was major commanding the 11th Infantry, Darling Downs Regiment, Australian Military Forces (militia). In August 1914 and the outbreak of the first world war Robertson was appointed major and second-in-command of the 9th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. The unit disembarked at Alexandria, Egypt, on 4th December and helped to lead the assault at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, on 25th April 1915. Robertson was wounded during the landing and evacuated to Egypt. On resuming duty on 3rd June he was appointed lieutenant-colonel commanding the 9th Battalion. He was again evacuated on 9th September with enteric fever and re-joined the battalion on Lemnos on 24th November. After the evacuation of Gallipoli in December the battalion returned to Egypt for re-equipping and training and Robertson held temporary command of the 3rd Brigade while there.

He resumed command of the 9th Battalion before its movement to France and early in July the 9th Battalion moved to the Somme and for the next six months took part in some of the heaviest fighting of the war, especially at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm. Robertson was in command until 18th November when he was appointed to command the 12th Brigade as a colonel and temporary brigadier general. In the attack on Pozieres on 23rd July he ordered no fewer than eight advances against stiff German opposition, most of them led by Major A. S. Blackburn, V.C. After a spell at Gueudecourt the brigade resumed offensive operations in April 1917, fighting at Bullecourt, Messines, and eventually at Passchendaele; for a short time Robertson had temporary command of the 4th Division.

He embarked on leave for Australia in November and returned to AIF Headquarters, London, in May 1918 as director of training, AIF Depots in the United Kingdom. In July he returned to France to command the 6th Infantry Brigade during the offensive from August on the Somme until the final operations by the Australians in the war at Montbrehain in October. From October to December 1918 Robertson was in temporary command of the 2nd Division and held the same appointment in March-April 1919. After disembarking in Australia in November, his AIF appointment was terminated on 2nd March 1920. Robertson continued his military connections, commanding the 3rd and then the 7th Infantry Brigades, until 1926; he was placed on the retired list as honorary brigadier general in 1944.

australian-dictionary-of-biographyFor more info For further reading on Brigadier General James Campbell ROBERTSON visit the Australian Dictionary of Biography


Published as ‘news’ 100 years on to the day, follow the 22nd Battalion on the project website and via Facebook and Twitter

poppy-2       FIRST WORLD WAR TIMELINE       poppy-2

1914          1915          1916          1917          1918          1919

%d bloggers like this: