Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson

Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson has been described as the least known distinguished soldier in Queensland.

Lachlan Chisholm Wilson, 1914

Studio portrait L.C. Wilson, 1914

Born in Brisbane in 1871, the son of a sugar planter in Logan, Wilson was educated at Brisbane Grammar and practiced law in Townsville. He had served with the Mounted Infantry during the Boer War before being appointed 2nd in command of the 5th Light Horse Regiment in September 1914.

His leadership of the unmounted Regiment on Gallipoli earned him the C.M.G. He was a commander who remained cool throughout the ill-fated campaign and led his men with authority and skill. The Evacuation of Gallipoli however, was not the end of this soldiers’ war.

Leaders of the Australian Light Horse in Palestine, 1918

Leaders of the Australian Light Horse in Palestine, 1918 AWM: ART09557

Four months later, under Wilson’s command the 5th Light Horse crossed the Suez Canal and marched to Kantara to relieve allied troops in the defense of Dueidar and Qatia.

TRIPOLI, SYRIA. 1918-12

Staff of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade 1918, left to right, back row: Lieutenants Hammond & Barker; front row: Brigadier General Lachlan Chisholm Wilson, Captain Lyall. AWM: P01541.004

His narrative held by the State Library details the quiet practicality of his command. As a detached Regiment in the Sinai the unit had to be resourceful to obtain not only comforts, but also extra equipment to ensure their safety and success. An independent canteen was established and earned a handsome profit selling items to other troops garrisoned in the area, with which they were able to purchase much needed equipment such as telephones and water pumps, as well as prizes for musketry and sporting competitions.

Lachlan Chisholm Wilson Tripoli Libya, 1918

Wilson led his valiant and loyal men through many operations in Romani, Gaza, Beersheba, Jordan, Damscus, and participated in quelling the Egypt rebellion in 1919.

Nellie Grant Wilson and children

Nellie Grant Wilson, with their children

He was much decorated for his work – CB, CMG, DSO, Croix de Guerr, and Mentioned in Despatches six times. He resumed his law practice in Brisbane after his return and maintained military and community associations. He died in 1947, remembered as a quiet and modest man, possibly the least know distinguished soldier in Queensland.

Further reading:

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland