Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

William Throsby Bridges

Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges (February 18 1861-May 18 1915) served with Australian forces during World War I, and was the first Australian to reach the rank of General. He was also the first Australian General to be killed during the war, at Gallipoli on 18 May 1915.

Born in Greenock, Scotland, he was educated educated at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, at the Royal Navy School at New Cross, London and at Trinity College, Port Hope, Ontario, Canada.

In 1879 he joined his family who had settled in his mother's home town of Moss Vale, New South Wales.

He volunteered for service in the British Army in the South African Boer War of 1899-1902, from where he contracted typhoid. After being avacuated to England, he returned to Australia form where rapid promotions followed.

In May 1914, Bridges was appointed Inspector General, the Army's top post. He was in Queensland when the war crisis began, and arrived in Melbourne on August 5 1914. Bridges met with cabinet and was charged with the creation of an expeditionary force for overseas service of 20,000 men.

Bridges and his command sailed from Albany Western Australia, on October 26 1914. En route, the destination was changed from England to Egypt and Bridges arrived there on November 30 1914.

As commander of the 1st Australian Division, Bridges landed at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli at around 7:30am on April 25 1915.

While touring the lines on May 15 1915, Bridges was shot through the femoral artery by a Turkish sniper. Dragged to safety he was evacuated to the hospital ship Gascon. Infection set in but amputation was deemed impossible since he had lost so much blood.

Made aware of Bridge's imminent death, King George V knighted him on May 17, the first Australian General to receive a knighthood. He died the following day. His body was returned to Melbourne where he received a state funeral. He is one of only two Australian World War I soldiers killed in action or died of wounds who was buried in Australia. The other is The Unknown Soldier, disinterred from a French grave and buried at the Australian War Memorial in 1991.