Sir John GELLIBRAND KCB, DSO+Bar

GELLIBRAND, John

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 20 August 1914, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Major General
Last Unit: 3rd Division Headquarters
Born: Ouse, Tasmania, 5 December 1872
Home Town: Risdon, Clarence, Tasmania
Schooling: King's School, Canterbury and Sandhurst Royal Military College
Occupation: Farmer/Soldier
Died: Natural causes, Murrindindi, Victoria, 3 June 1945, aged 72 years
Cemetery: Yea Public Cemetery
Memorials: Lindisfarne Officers of the 12th Battalion Pictorial Honour Roll, Major General Sir John Gellibrand Memorial Plaque
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Boer War Service

1 May 1900: Involvement Captain, SN Officer, 3rd Battalion Manchester Regiment

World War 1 Service

20 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, Melbourne, Victoria
23 Sep 1914: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, Headquarters Staff
22 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, Headquarters Staff, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
22 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Major, Headquarters Staff, HMAT Orvieto, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, Headquarters Staff, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
5 Dec 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, Headquarters Staff
1 Mar 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Colonel, 6th Infantry Brigade Headquarters
21 May 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Colonel
3 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Brigadier General, Bullecourt (Second)
30 Jun 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Major General, 3rd Division Headquarters

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

“Sir John Gellibrand (1872-1945), soldier and farmer, was born on 5 December 1872 at Lleintwardeine, Ouse, Tasmania, son of Thomas Lloyd Gellibrand, grazier, landowner and parliamentarian, and his wife Isabella, née Brown, and grandson of Joseph Tice Gellibrand.

Soon after her husband's death in 1874 Mrs Gellibrand took her seven children to England. John was educated at Crespigny House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, at Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, where the family lived for a time, and at the King's School, Canterbury, England, in 1888-89. At 17 he passed the Royal Indian Engineering College entrance examination but bank failures in Australia prevented his taking the course. He decided on a military career and, after entering the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, in September 1892, gained the highest marks in the aggregate at the final examinations a year later. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the South Lancashire Regiment on 21 October 1893 and posted to its 1st Battalion, he was promoted lieutenant in 1895, having the previous year qualified as an interpreter in German and French. On 27 July 1894, at the parish church, Ilkley, Yorkshire, he had married Elizabeth Helena Breul with Anglican rites.

In the South African War Gellibrand commanded a company in the operations of February 1900 leading to the relief of Ladysmith, and in March served in Natal. Transferred next May as a captain to the 3rd Battalion, Manchester Regiment (then being raised at Aldershot), he was in 1902-03 stationed at St Helena as adjutant of the garrison responsible for Boer prisoners of war. Then, with the two companies which had been left with him on the island, he rejoined the rest of the battalion in South Africa.

In December 1906, soon after its return to England, the 3rd Battalion was disbanded. Gellibrand was selected to attend the staff college at Camberley; he graduated in 1907 and was posted next year to Ceylon as deputy assistant adjutant and quartermaster general. Before his four-year term ended, he was placed on half-pay. Greatly disappointed, he resigned his commission and was gazetted out of the army on retired pay—after World War I, Charles Bean, in the official history of the Australian Imperial Force, was to comment that it was 'a constant wonder … how a man with his qualities and with staff college training could have been allowed—much less almost compelled—to slip out of the British Army'.

He returned to Tasmania in June 1912 with slender means and few prospects, but grimly determined to succeed. He bought an orchard at Risdon and settled there with his wife and young family in February 1913, working assiduously. He also had a tenth share in Cleveland, the property his father had owned. On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he met with difficulty in obtaining a military appointment in Tasmania. Within a fortnight, however, as the War Office had intimated that it did not then require his services, Army Headquarters, Melbourne, offered him employment 'without conditions'. He was appointed on 20 August by General (Sir) William Bridges to the administrative staff of the 1st Australian Division as deputy adjutant and quartermaster general and was promoted major on 23 September.

At the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915, Gellibrand organized the work of the beach parties and the sending of ammunition and other supplies to the hard-pressed troops on the spurs and ridges, and was constantly seen in the forward areas, rounding up stragglers, supervising the burial of the dead and the landing of reinforcements. A tremendous worker, with a keen sense of humour and a quick understanding of men, he was, according to Bean, 'one of those officers whose bravery was conspicuous even according to the standards by which gallantry was judged in the early days at Anzac'. Twice in three weeks he was wounded by shrapnel and was evacuated to Egypt on the second occasion. Before the end of May he was back on the peninsula...” - READ MORE LINK

 

 

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