Thomas Blamey served as an Australian general in both the First and Second World Wars. As Commander-in-Chief he was Australia’s senior general for almost all of the Second World War, commanding the Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East, and all of the Australian Army after Japan entered the war.
Guarding "the fate of the nation", Blamey saw Australia through its greatest military crisis when Japan attacked Australia in 1942. Further, he presided over the expansion of Australia's forces to nearly a million men and women.
Working to successive prime ministers Menzies, Curtin and Chifley, he successfully managed the relationships with our British and American allies and maintained the unity of Australian command. No other Australian general ever faced the combined social, political and military demands handled by Blamey.
He attracted controversy and may not have been loved, or even admired, but he was respected and feared. Blamey’s contribution to the Australian war effort is immeasurable.
In 1950 the Governor General, Sir William McKell, recognised his achievement by promoting him to the military’s highest rank - field marshal.
Sir Thomas Blamey remains the only Australian ever to have attained that rank.