Sword and Baton
Senior Australian Army Officers from Federation to 2001
Volume 1: Federation – 1939
By Justin Chadwick
Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $34.99 in hardcover • ISBN 9781925520309
Sword and Baton is the first comprehensive review of Australia’s senior army officers (senior being those who attained the rank of Major General) from federation until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Assembled in alphabetical order, the biographical collection numbers 86 and includes chaplains-general, surgeons-general and British army officers who served with the Australian army either with the AIF or the Permanent Forces.
With federation in 1901 came the transfer of responsibility for the military forces from the colonies to the Commonwealth. Englishman, Sir Edward Hutton was appointed to the position of General Officer Commanding, tasked with structuring a federal military force from the disparate pre-Federation militia.
Chadwick’s portrayal of these 86 officers covers a time of great change within the Australian Army. Following the establishment of the Australian Military Force, greater emphasis was given to the development of military skills which ensured that by the commencement of hostilities in 1914, Australia boasted a pool of well-trained, albeit inexperienced officers. And by the conclusion of the First World War, Chadwick believes that “the Australian army boasted some of the best officers in the Allied Forces”.
While this book does not seek to provide definitive biographies it is still an important addition to Australian Military history studies.