Sir Gilbert Joseph Cullen DYETT (DYATT)

DYETT (DYATT), Gilbert Joseph Cullen

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 March 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 7th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, 23 June 1891
Home Town: Bendigo, Greater Bendigo, Victoria
Schooling: Bendigo Marist Brothers College
Occupation: Auctioneer
Died: Natural causes, East Melbourne, Victoria, 19 December 1964, aged 73 years
Cemetery: Bendigo Civil Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

1 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Melbourne, Victoria
17 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 7th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
22 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 7th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
9 Aug 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 7th Infantry Battalion, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli, GSW (head)
7 Apr 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 7th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"Sir Gilbert Joseph Cullen Dyett (1891-1964), ex-servicemen's leader, was born on 23 June 1891 at Bendigo, Victoria, third child of Benjamin Dyett, blacksmith, and his wife Margaret Frances, née Cullen, both Victorian-born. He was educated by the Marist Brothers at Bendigo, leaving school at 14 to work for J. H. Curnow & Son, estate agents. He was engaged in several business ventures on his own account in Victoria and Western Australia, and at the outbreak of the war in 1914 was in South Africa. He rushed back to Australia to enlist in September, qualified for an officers' school and in March 1915 was commissioned as lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. He embarked in April and fought on Gallipoli, but in August was so badly wounded at Lone Pine that he was reverently covered and left for dead. Rescued and repatriated, he was told that he would not walk again, but in later years was able to list 'walking' among his recreations.

While convalescing at Bendigo, Dyett took charge of the local recruiting campaign with such success that in May 1917 he was appointed secretary of the Victorian State Recruiting Committee, with promotion to temporary captain. He brought enormous energy to this job, combining opposition to conscription with a strong belief in military service. He initiated schemes such as a recruiting train and returned-soldier bands, but his attempt to introduce recruiting speeches during theatrical performances drew complaints about his over-zealousness..." - READ MORE LINK (

"A brief synopsis on the life of Gilbert J.C. Dyett KCMG.

Born: June 23, 1891, at home in High Street, BENDIGO, cnr. Myrtle St. adjacent Londonderry Mine.            

Parents: Benjamin Patrick Dyett & Margaret Frances Dyett (Nee: Cullen) 

Siblings: Benjamin P. (Dec’d infant), Frederick A., Florence (Riordan), Ethel (Elwood), Margaret (Skidmore), Benjamin P.  

Education: St. Joseph's, Quarry Hill. Marist Bros. College, Bendigo.

Service: Enlisted 6 weeks after Australia, declared war on Germany in 1914 and served only 47 days on the battlefield. After being seriously wounded at Lone Pine, he was left for dead. He survived, returned home and became the country’s most successful recruiting officer for the duration of the war.

He became the initial secretary to the idea, design and construction of the world’s biggest (Still!) war memorial, Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. He then voluntarily gave twenty seven years of his life to fighting for the welfare of the returned soldier and their families and the families of those who did not return.  He replaced Sir John Monash on the Board of the Australian War Memorial from 1933 until his death.

Not in his position as RSL Fed. Pres. but as a distinguished citizen, with a proven interest in the armed services and Military History.  Gilbert Dyett and Charles Bean (noted war historian and journalist), were critical of the original design as “squat and prison like”, thus forcing an increase in the height of the Hall of Memory. He introduced the “Poppy of remembrance” to Australia.

Mufti: His return to “civvy street”,  in 1919, saw him elected Federal President of the Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Imperial League of Australia. A strong leader of the Dominion members of the British Empire Services League, he travelled the world, was knighted, became a personal friend of Kings, Prime Ministers, Field Marshalls, Generals and prominent Leaders throughout the world.

Employment:  As his role within Returned Organisations was voluntary, he needed a source of income. This was largely derived from his positions as the Secretary of the Victorian Trotting and Racing Association, the Australian Registrar of Thoroughbred Race Horses and overseer of propriety at John Wren’s racetracks. (In this position he once “warned” Squizzy Taylor off the Richmond racetrack.) A teetotaller, he never smoked and was never known to have a bet.  He also re-entered the world of commerce as an Estate Agent in the Brighton area and as such, was successful.            

Honours: Gilbert was the first Bendigo born person to be knighted, created CMG by King George V in 1927 and in 1934 elevated to Knight Commander in the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George. He Chaired a number of major British Empire Services League conferences and dinners (Royalty always Presiding) Held in places as diverse as London, Cape Town and Perth etc. He is invariably seen in photos’ seated beside the Royal Patron, with the great Winston Churchill some seats away. Variously known as the Architect and Father of the RSL, he was made a Life Member of the RSL. He was an invited guest at the Coronation of his friend George VI and later at that of his daughter Elizabeth II.                        

Charity: Gilbert Dyett, was a Life Governor of Saint Vincent’s Hospital, also of the Royal Institute for the Blind. He contributed to WWII bonds issues and gave scholarships to a number of Bendigo schools. He gave to many other charities and presented a grand piano to St. Aidans orphanage in Bendigo. ( Now in a music room  of Catholic College Bendigo.) Obit: GJC Dyett KCMG passed away Dec. 19, 1964. His funeral left the Sacred Heart Cathedral for the Bendigo Cemetery. A powerful yet humble man he is largely forgotten in his home city with not even a street named after him. He is however the only name twice in bronze on the front of the Memorial hall in Bendigo. His returned  mates did not forget him!" - Source: Mr Ian Dyett (