Guide to the Papers of Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG


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Manuscript Name Papers of Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG
Manuscript Number MSS 82
Last Updated February 2008
Extent 10 cm (2 boxes, 1 oversize)
Location Academy Library, UNSW Canberra
Abstract Original and copies of correspondence, copies of diaries, postcards, photographs and miscellaneous material relating to Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG.

Scope and Content

This collection relates to Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG and includes items donated by his youngest son Major Anthony George Bridges, Rtd., together with items added to the collection from other donors.


Organization

This collection has been arranged in box then folder order.

Biographical Note

William Throsby Bridges was born on 18 February 1861 at Greenock, Scotland, son of William Wilson Somerset Bridges, naval officer and his wife Mary Hill, née Throsby. He was educated at Ryde, Isle of Wight, and from 1871 at the Royal Naval School, New Cross, London. On retiring from the Navy, his father emigrated with his family to Canada, settling at Shanty Bay, Ontario, and Bridges continued his schooling at Trinity College School, Port Hope. In April 1877 he entered the Royal Military College of Canada at Kingston, intending to train for a commission in the British Army. He obtained his Certificate of Military Qualifications in 1879. He left the College on 27 June 1879, at his parents request after only completing two years of his course. His discharge certificate records his character and conduct as "Very Good". His parents left Canada to settle at Moss Vale. He followed his parents and arrived in Sydney in August 1879 and that month joined the colony's civil service as assistant inspector of roads and bridges at Braidwood; he held similar appointments at Murrurundi and Narrabri until 1885.

In 1885 he returned to military life. Applying too late to join the Sudan contingent, he was commissioned instead in the temporary forces raised to cover the contingent's absence. He took a permanent commission in the artillery three months later. In October 1885 Bridges married Edith Francis and in 1886 began four years of service on the staff of the School of Gunnery in Sydney. In 1889 he became a founding member of the Royal United Service Institution of New South Wales. The following year he was promoted to captain and returned to England to attend gunnery courses.

Upon his return, Bridges held the posts of Chief Instructor at the School of Gunnery and the colony's Artillery Firemaster for nine years. He served with the British Army in South Africa and was evacuated to England in May 1900 with enteric fever. He resumed his post at the School of Gunnery upon returning to Australia.

Bridges was involved in the drawing up of a defence bill for the amalgamated colonial defence forces, by now under Commonwealth control. In July 1902 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and in 1905 became Chief Intelligence Officer on Australia's first military board of administration.

In October 1906 he was promoted to colonel and argued strongly for the establishment of a general staff to oversee and improve military efficiency. His success was marked by his appointment as the first chief of the Australian general staff in January 1909. Within a year, Bridges became the Australian representative on the Imperial General Staff in London but in 1910 was recalled to found Australia's first military college. William Bridges, the first commandant of the Military College Duntroon and the first commander of the AIF, was killed by a sniper early in the Gallipoli campaign. He was promoted to brigadier general and the college, Duntroon, opened in June 1911. Bridges retained this post until his appointment as Inspector General of the Australian Army in May 1914.

When the First World War began Bridges was given the task of raising an Australian contingent for service in Europe - he named it the Australian Imperial Force and was appointed its commander. Bridges' division was the first ashore at ANZAC Cove on 25 April; foreseeing disaster, he argued for immediate evacuation. The force stayed and Bridges began a routine of visits to the firing line, showing a complete disregard for his own safety. On 15 May a sniper's bullet severed his femoral artery and he died three days later on board the hospital ship HMT Gascon. He became the only Australian killed in the First World War to have his remains returned to Australia.

Bridges was awarded a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1909, and in 1915 a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB), and was twice posthumously mentioned in Despatches.

Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG died at the age of 54 on the 18 May 1915 at Gallipoli, Turkey. He is buried on the slopes of Mount Pleasant, overlooking the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

References:
Australian War Memorial 'Who's who in Australian Military History : Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG' https://www.awm.gov.au/people/P10676834/ retrieved 27 February 2008
Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition: Bridges, Sir William Throsby (1861 - 1915) http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A070415b.htm?hilite=bridges retrieved 27 February 2008
Correspondence to his son Major A.G. Bridges, Rtd. from T.F. Gelley, Registrar, Royal Military College of Canada, 4 March 1958.

Administrative Information


Access

The collection is available for research.


Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.


Preferred Citation

Papers of Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG, Academy Library, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


Provenance

The collection was donated by Major Anthony George Bridges, Rtd, son of W.T. Bridges.

Additional Information


Related Material

Further material relating to Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG is located in the papers of Chris Clark, at MS 2.


Separated Material

Further papers of Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG are held by the Royal Military College Museum, Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra, in the Bridges Collection.

This collection originally included a number of publications, listed below. These works have been catalogued separately, and added to the Library collection.

Birdwood, William Riddell Birdwood, Baron, 1865-1951. Khaki and gown : an autobiography . London: Ward Lock, 1941.

Fielding, Henry, 1707-1754. The history of Tom Jones : a foundling. London: George Routledge, 1884, 2 volumes.

Bridges, W.T. Royal Military College orders, No. 18. [Canberra: The College?], 1914.

Ashmead-Bartlett, Ellis, 1881-1931. Australians in action : the story of Gallipoli. Sydney: W. A. Gullick, government printer, 1915.

Royal Military College (Duntroon, A.C.T.). Notes on the Royal Military College of Australia, Duntroon, 1921. [Canberra: The College?], 1921.

Army rehabilitation : advice to Army personnel awaiting discharge. [Sydney]: NSW Press, 1946.

Access Terms


Personal Names

Bridges, William Throsby, Sir, 1861-1915 -- Archives


Topical Subjects

Generals -- Australia -- Archives


Corporate Names

Australia. Army -- Biography


Occupations

Army officers

Container List


Box 1

Folder 1
Material donated by Major A.G. Bridges, Rtd., 1882-1927

Including:
Letter to Lord Augustus (Loftus) from Alec Stuart, 7th March 1882, regarding Captain W.W.S. Bridges
Postcard to Master A.G. Bridges of unidentified ruin pillars
Christmas card, with photographs for R.M.C., Duntroon, Christmas 1914 from Major and Mrs McCarthy
Postcard dated Easter Sunday, 1912 from Fort Marion, Florida
Programme for the Naming the city (Canberra), 12th March 1913
Synopsis of programme of official opening of Parliament House, Canberra, by H.R.H. The Duke of York, K.G., 9th May 1927
Pamphlet entitled: 'Burial of the late Major-General William Throsby Bridges, K.C.B., C.M.G. at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Ceremony at Canberra, 3rd September 1915', 17 p.
Excerpt from the D.F. Advertiser, Kimberley, Friday, February 16, 1900. Main item entitled 'Relief of Kimberley by French's flying column'
Copy of Journal (Royal Military College (Duntroon, A.C.T.), Vol. 1, no. 1, December 1913 - General Bridges personal copy
Letter to Donald Bridges from General his father W.T. Bridges, 28th November [1910]
Letter to Donald Bridges from General his father W.T. Bridges, 17th January 1911
Envelope containing visiting card of Major-General Bridges, 1st Aust Div.; five pages from a small notebook, and photograph of Dorothy Stewart Bridges (housed in album)
Photocopy of an excerpt from the Daily mirror, Nov 2, 1956 entitled 'Story of the first lap to Gallipoli : German raider lay in wait for Australia's first army', 1 p. (original in Oversize 1, map cabinet 2, drawer 10)

Folder 2
File entitled Major-General William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG, 1861-1915, comprising background research collected by A.G. Bridges, 1928-1959

Including:
Letter to Lady Bridges from Lord F.M. Birdwood, 29th August 1917, 3 p.
Letter to A. Bridges from the Australian War Memorial, Melbourne, 12 March 1928 re his looking at his father's diary again
Correspondence with the T.F. Gelley, Registrar, RMC of Canada, Kingston, Ontario, 1958, regarding his father's record of service, together with a copy of an article entitled 'No. 25 Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, K.C.B., C.M.G.', by No. 23 the late Col. A.H. Van Straubenzee, published in R.M.C. review, 1946, p. 86-95, together with an incomplete photocopy and a copy of the book review for Two men I knew : William Bridges and Brundenell White : founders of the A.I.F., by C.E.W. Bean from the Australian quarterly, March 1959, p. 116-120

Folder 3
Material collected and added to the W.T. Bridges Collection, 1899-1969

Including:
Death notice: Copy of Military Forces of Australia. 1915 Royal Military College Special Order by Colonel J.W. Parnell, C.M.G., Commandant, Duntroon, Federal territory, 21st May, 1915 relating to the death of Major-General Bridges, from Tristram James, Captain, R.A.A., Adjutant, RMC x 2 copies
Death notice: Copy of a cable from Lieutenant-General W.R. Birdwood, C.B., etc. to the Military Forces of Australia. 1915 Royal Military College Orders, No. 19, by Colonel J.W. Parnell, C.M.G., Commandant, Duntroon, Federal territory, 28th May, 1915 relating to the death of Major-General Bridges, from Tristram James, Captain, R.A.A., Adjutant, RMC
Pamphlet: Funeral Service, The late Major-General Sir W.T. Bridges, K.C.B., C.M.G., General Officer Commanding 1st Australian Division, Australian Imperial Force, S. Paul's Cathedral, Thursday, 2nd September 1915, 1 p. (cover only)
Unveiling of Memorial Stone on the grave of the late Major-General Sir W.T. Bridges, K.C.B., C.M.G., Royal Military College, Duntroon, by General Sir W.R. Birdwood, Baronet, G.C.M.G., K.C.B., K.C.I., D.S.O., A.D.C. General to His Majesty's the King. Service by The Right Honourable Reverend Lord Bishop of Bathurst, Dr. G.M. Long, 15th April 1920, 10 p.
'In memoriam : memorial service at St. Paul's (June 15, 1915) : for Australians and New Zealanders who have fallen in the War, address by the Archbishop of Canterbury', reprinted from The British-Australasian, London, June 17, 1915, 7 p.
'What Anzac means', by Senator G.F. Pearce from All Australia memorial, March 1917
Carbon typescript copy 18 March 1959 of: Major W.T. Bridges, R.A.A. (N.S.W.) Record of service in South African War of 1899-1902. Extract from Major W.T. Bridges' report, 3 p.
Carbon typescript copy Mon 13 April 1959 of: Military Forces of Australia. 1915 Royal Military College Orders by Colonel J.W. Parnell, C.M.G., Commandant, Special Order, Duntroon, Federal Territory, Saturday 28th August 1915 for the interment at Duntroon of the remains of the late Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG, 3 p.
Carbon typescript and photocopy of: Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, KCB, CMG from the Journal (Royal Military College (Duntroon, A.C.T.), Vol. 3., no. 4, August 1915, 2 p.
Carbon typescript copy 20 July 1969 of a letter to General Fraser from Warren Perry
Photocopy of: 'The Bridges oration'. Delivered at Duntroon on Founders' Day, 29th June, 1969, by Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Daly, KBE, CB, DSO, Chief of the General Staff, 9 p.
Annotated Christmas card, with photographs for R.M.C., Duntroon, Christmas 1914 - signed by Boyce and Bridges, 17/7/15
Pamphlet entitled: 'Burial of the late Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, K.C.B., C.M.G. at the Royal Military College, Duntroon. Ceremony at Canberra, 3rd September 1915', 17 p.

Folder 4
Material collected and added to the W.T. Bridges Collection, 1985-1949

Including:
Photocopy of the W.T. Bridges Birth Certificate extracted, West Parish, Greenock, 21 December 1949
Photocopy of the Bridges-Francis marriage notice from the Sydney morning herald, 20th October 1885
Brief typescript of the Bridges family tree, together with a photocopy of the Bridges family crest
Photocopies of W.T. Bridges' military certificates
Photocopy of Military Forces of Australia 'Royal Military College orders, No. 18', by Brigadier-General W.T. Bridges, C.M.G., Commandant, 1914, 2 p.
Photocopies of an excerpt from The herald, peace special, No. 13, 535, Melbourne, Tuesday evening, June 24, 1919 entitled 'Germany has signed the peace terms', 4 p. (original in Oversize 1, map cabinet 2, drawer 10)
Photocopy of three articles on the Royal Military College, Duntroon in the issues of Army, v.2, no. 6, Oct., 1943; v.3, no.1. Nov., 1943; v.3, no. 2, Dec., 1943 entitled 'House of men', 9 p.

Folder 5
Material collected and added to the W.T. Bridges Collection, 1976-1986

Including:
Research material on the Campbell family and Duntroon House
Envelope - first day issue 75th anniversary of the Royal military College of Australia 1986


Box 2 Album Cool room

Folder 6
Photographs and negatives, c. 1879-1915

Including:
Black and white photographs donated by A.G. Bridges:
Early photograph of fibrous cement (fibro) buildings, R.M.C., Duntroon
'The start at Warrandyte', 7/8/04
Pasha, the bay horse, taken at Mena, March, 1915
View of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra looking across the Molonglo River plain with buildings in the foreground
Colonel MacLagan's house, Duntroon (Commandant's house)
Duntroon House
The Bay Cob (horse), taken at Mena, Egypt, January, 1915
Group of gentlemen in civilian dress includes General Bridges on the extreme right (possibly taken at Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra)
Lady Munro Ferguson (?)
Lady E.L. Bridges, wife of Maj-Gen Sir Wm Bridges, died 13 October 1926 aged 64, c. 1900
Dorothy Stuart Bridges

Black and white photograph donated by Brigadier J.H. Thyer:
First Div. H.Qs ANZAC (Maj-Gen Sir William Throsby Bridges, CMG, KCB, killed in action 15 May, 1915)

Black and white photographs donated by Chris Clark:
Photograph of oil painting by G.D. Giles entitled Cronje's Laager (National Army Museum, London)
Photograph of oil painting by G.D. Giles entitled 'Advance of the Cavalry to Kimberley '(National Army Museum, London)
Commencement of Canberra ceremony, 20 February, 1913. Driving of survey peg by the Hon. King O'Malley. Bridges and his wife in photograph. National Library of Australia
The Hon. King O'Malley, Minister of State for Home Affairs, driving in the first survey peg at Canberra Hill, in connection with the lay-out of the Federal City on 20 February, 1913. Bridges and his wife in photograph. National Library of Australia
The Hon. Charles McDonald at the driving in of the survey peg, 20 February, 1913, Canberra. Bridges in the background. National Library of Australia
Mrs Mary Hill Bridges (née Throsby), mother of General Bridges, with one of his (Bridges) brothers
Mrs Bridges with son, Donald
Lt. Bridges, NSW Artillery (taken between 1885 and 1990). Original held by mother of David S. Bridges + 2 negatives
Postcard of Duntrune Castle, Argyllshire, Scotland
Postcard of St. Thomas' Church, Shanty Bay. Erected 1838
Postcard of Funeral service for General Bridges
Cadets on parade at Royal Military College, Duntroon
Funeral of General Bridges - coffin at Chancel Steps, St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, Vic.
Funeral of General Bridges - procession, Melbourne, September, 1915 x 2

Black and white photographs collected and added to the W.T. Bridges Collection without attributions:
Mary Hill Bridges (née Throsby) - miniature card
W.T. Bridges, Esq., Cadet, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ontario - miniature card
Untitled family group photograph - miniature card
Negatives of portrait of Bridges in uniform x 4
Negative and slide of the Bridges family crest
View of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Canberra taken from Mount Pleasant looking across the Molonglo River plain with buildings in the foreground [1912-1913?]
Class of mounted cadets outside the stables
Group portrait of members of the Second Class at Royal Military College, Duntroon, with their Officers, Sergeant Majors and academics, December 1913
Colour portrait of Major-General Sir William Throsby Bridges, CMG, KCB, by Florence Rodway, c. 1925 + three negatives

Copies of black and white photographs collected and added to the W.T. Bridges Collection from the Australian War Memorial collection:
A scene on the Atlantic transport liner Minnewaska which left Alexandria on 18 April, 1915 having on board the Headquarters of the 1 Australian Division and the Australian and New Zealand Corps beside the personnel of the 1 Aust. Battalion. This view shows General Cunliffe Owen and General Bridges on the boat deck - the latter looking through field glasses
Portrait of Gen. Bridges
General Bridges leaving to go aboard the "Hampshire" at sea. He and Parker, Naval Secretary, can be seen in the stern of the boat - the General standing up and Parker making way for him
Mena Camp. Sir George Reid delivering his address to the troops. Shows General Sir John Maxwell, General Bridges, Colonel White and Major Glasfurd. Schuler and myself taking down Sir George Reid's speech
Staff of 1 Australian Division (back Row, L to R) Lieut W. Smith, A.D., Remounts; Captain J.T. Fitzgerald, Field Cashier; Major J. Gellibrand, DAQMG; Major T. Matson, ADVS: Captain W.J. Foster, ADC and Camp Commandant; Captain T. Griffiths, Military Secretary; Lieut E.C.P. Plant, ADC; Captain The Marquis de Bucy, APM; Lieut R.G. Casey, Automobile Corps; Lieut R. Ramsay, Automobile Corps; (Front Row, L to R)Lt-Col J.G. Austin, DADOS; Major C.H. Foott, DAA and QMG; Lt-Col W.G. Patterson, AA and QMG; Lt-Col N.R. Howse, ADMS; Maj-Gen W.T. Bridges, CMG, GOC; Lt-Col C.B.B. White, GSO 1; Major D.J. Glasfurd, GSO 2; Lieut R.G. Murphy, Automobile Corps; Lt-Col Marshall, DADMS
1 Australian Division. Manoeuvres in the Desert. General Bridges, Colonel White and Col. McCay watching the manoeuvres
1 Australian Division. Manoeuvres in Sahara Desert. Getting out the Operation Order. Second stage - the Artillery Order already being drawn up (on right) by O.C. Artillery (Colonel J.J.T. Hobbs and Major S.M. Anderson). General Bridges and Colonel White drawing up general operation order
1 Australian Division manoeuvres. Colonel White, Colonel McCay and General Bridges at 2 Brigade HQ
Conference of officers after manoeuvres. General Bridges in centre with Colonel McCay facing him
General Bridges watching troops on Divisional manoeuvres
General Bridges and party looking from top of Karnak Pylon towards Nile
General Sir Ian Hamilton and Maj-Gen W.T. Bridges returning to 1 Australian HQ at Mena House after inspection of Division and camp prior to leaving for embarkation
General Bridges, Commander of the 1st AIF, 1914-15
General Bridges and Staff at Kantara x 2

Black and white photographs without attributions:
Farewell Parade for General Bridges, 1 June, 1914 at R.M.C., Duntroon
General Bridges funeral - at the graveside, the Bishop of Sydney officiates, Lady Bridges is heavily veiled and is holding a bunch of flowers
General Bridges funeral, 3 September, 1915 x 3
General Bridges funeral on 3 September, 1915 - Guard of Honour (Third Class) outside St John's Church, Reid, Canberra (Reid)
General Bridges funeral - Escort take post around the Grave, 3 September, 1915
General Bridges funeral leaving St John's Church
General Bridges funeral, 3 September, 1915, the Escort has just turned the corner and is heading towards the Ainslie Post Office


Othertype Map Cabinet 2, Drawer 10

Oversize 1
Excerpt from the Daily mirror, Nov 2, 1956 entitled 'Story of the first lap to Gallipoli : German raider lay in wait for Australia's first army', 1 p.
Excerpt from The herald, peace special, No. 13, 535, Melbourne, Tuesday evening, June 24, 1919 entitled 'Germany has signed the peace terms', 4 p.