Reg Pollard (general)

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Sir Reginald George Pollard
PollardRG1963.2.jpg
Major General Reg Pollard c.late 1950s
Born (1903-01-20)20 January 1903
Bathurst, New South Wales
Died 9 March 1978(1978-03-09) (aged 75)
Wyrallah, New South Wales
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1925–1963
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of the General Staff
2/31st Battalion
Battles/wars Second World War
Korean War
Awards Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Companion of the Order of the Bath
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches
Other work Australian Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II (1970 Royal Visit)

Lieutenant General Sir Reginald George Pollard KCVOKBECBDSO (20 January 1903 – 9 March 1978) was a senior officer in the Australian Army, who served as Chief of the General Staff from 1960 to 1963.

Early life[edit]

Pollard was born at Bathurst, New South Wales, third son of Albert Edgar Pollard, an accountant from England, and his Australian-born wife Thalia Rebecca, née McLean. He was educated at the local primary and high schools and entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, in 1921; he graduated in 1924 with the Sword of Honour for "exemplary conduct and performance of duties". His first posting was to the 51st Infantry Brigade in March 1925, and he was appointed Adjutant/Quartermaster of the 17th Battalion (CMF) in July.

He married Daisy Ethel Potter, typist, at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Strathfield, Sydney, on 31 October 1925. In September 1927 Lieutenant Pollard left for India on attachment and for training with the British Army. Returning to Sydney in November 1928, he was appointed Adjutant/Quartermaster of two more CMF units before receiving a staff posting in October 1936 to Army Headquarters, Melbourne. In November 1938 he was posted to England to attend the Staff College, Camberley, for what was expected to be a two-year course. Due to the outbreak of the Second World War he graduated early, in September 1939, and was posted as Assistant Military Liaison Officer at the Australian High Commission, London.

Second World War[edit]

Lt Col Reg Pollard,
Cairo, February 1942

Transferred to the Second Australian Imperial Force on 21 June 1940, Pollard was promoted to major. He was appointed Brigade Major, 25th Brigade, but in March 1941, on its arrival in the Middle East, he was detached to Headquarters, 7th Division, in Libya. In June/July 1941 he commanded the 2/31st Battalion during the Syrian campaign and was mentioned in despatches. Promoted to lieutenant colonel in August, he raised and commanded the AIF Junior Staff School.

Pollard was promoted to temporary colonel in March 1942 and posted to the AIF's Staff in Ceylon. Returning to Australia in August, he was posted to the 6th Division in Papua as General Staff Officer Grade One (September to November), then temporarily with the 7th Division. During operations at Gona and Sanananda, he set a standard of excellence in his work which his commander Major General G. A. Vasey declared, "... will long be remembered in the Division"; for his work Pollard was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.[1]

In January 1943 he flew to Queensland and trained with the 6th Division until December before being posted as Chief Instructor of the Senior Wing of the Staff School, Duntroon. He was appointed Deputy Director of Military Operations and Plans at Allied Land Forces Headquarters in February 1945.

Post-war[edit]

From February 1946, Pollard commanded the Recruit Training Centre at Greta, New South Wales, and in August was sent to England to study air support for land operations. He returned to Australia in February 1947 to instruct at the Royal Australian Air Force School of Air Support at Laverton, Victoria (redesignated in March 1948: School of Land/Air Warfare).

In January 1949 he was posted as Director of Personnel Administration at AHQ, responsible for instituting a new national scheme of compulsory military service. After attending the 1951 course at the Imperial Defence College in London, in January 1952 he became Director of Military Operations and Plans, and Chairman of the Joint Planning Committee. That same year he accompanied Minister for External Affairs Richard Casey to Honolulu for the inaugural meeting of the ANZUS Council. He also accompanied Prime Minister Robert Menzies to the 1952 Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in London, as the Australian Military Adviser. He was promoted to temporary brigadier in March 1953.

From July–November 1953 he commanded the Australian Army Component of the British Commonwealth Forces Korea, following which he was appointed Deputy Adjutant General at AHQ. He was promoted to major general in September 1954 and appointed Quartermaster General and Third Military Member of the Military Board. In 1955 he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire,[2] and in 1959 the Companion of the Order of the Bath.[3]

On 1 July 1960 he became Chief of the General Staff, and for his services to the Army was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1961.[4] His term in office coincided with the implementation of a major reorganization of the Army’s Field Force based on the ‘pentropic’ division, although he was personally ambivalent about this innovation.

Retirement[edit]

Sir Reginald retired on 20 January 1963 and devoted his time to gardening and raising cattle on a small farm he named "Aroona" at Wesburn, Victoria (until 1974), and then on a property at Wyrallah, New South Wales, which he named "Duntroon". In July 1965 he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Australian Regiment (redesignated Colonel Commandant, 1968–71), and several times visited troops in Vietnam. He was appointed Australian Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II for the Royal Visit in 1970. The Queen personally appointed him a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order for his services to Her Majesty during the Royal Tour.[5]

Sir Reginald, who was survived by his wife, Lady Daisy, and two sons, died on 9 March 1978 at Wyrallah, New South Wales and was cremated with full military honours.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36297. p. 5574. 21 December 1943. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 40498. p. 3298. 3 June 1955. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  3. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41728. p. 3735. 5 June 1959. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 42371. p. 4180. 2 June 1961. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 45110. p. 6040. 29 May 1970. Retrieved 25 July 2008.

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Lieutenant General Sir Ragnar Garrett
Chief of the General Staff
1960–1963
Succeeded by
Lieutenant General Sir John Wilton