Brigadier-General Lachlan Wilson was once described as ‘the least known distinguished man in Queensland’. This fascinating biography of one of Queensland’s leading legal figures during the period between the two World Wars, also focuses upon his long and exciting career as a citizen soldier. In 1900 Wilson sailed to South Africa with the 2nd Queensland Mounted Infantry to fight in the Boer War, and his diary entries bring to life the thrills and perils of action in the veldt. In 1914, he sailed to Egypt with Queensland’s 5th Light Horse Regiment, and during the Gallipoli campaign he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and given command of that unit.
In 1916 the fighting moved to the Sinai and Palestine, and in 1917, Wilson was made a brigadier-general and given the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. He led this brigade into Damascus, thus liberating it from the Turks, some hours before ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ arrived. The controversy of Lawrence’s entry into Damascus is resolved by the author, who was able to draw upon Wilson’s papers, in writing this book. Other aspects of Wilson’s legal career, such as when he chaired the 1929 inquiry into the accidents involving Kingsford-Smith’s ‘Southern Cross’ and the ‘Kookaburra’ aeroplanes, are dealt with in detail.
Short in stature, but big in heart, Wilson showed himself to be one of Australia’s leading generals during the desert fighting of the Great War. The book is well illustrated with maps and photos, and in addition contains a full biographical roll of all the members who served in the 5th Light Horse Regiment during the 1914-18 War.
Bibliography: p. 302.