Leslie Morshead - Between The Wars

Between The Wars

Morshead returned to Australia in November 1919 and his AIF appointment was terminated in March 1920. He considered applying for a regular army commission, but found that these were reserved for graduates of the Royal Military College, Duntroon. He tried farming — accepting a soldier settlement block of 23,000 acres (9,300 ha) near Quilpie, Queensland, but this venture was a failure, and he returned to Melbourne, where he married Myrtle at Scots Church, on 17 November 1921. They had a daughter, Elizabeth in 1923.

After working odd jobs he joined the Orient Line in Sydney on 24 October 1924. He was appointed passenger manager of the Sydney office in 1926. Many Orient Line appointments followed. He became publicity manager in January 1927, acting manager of the Melbourne office in May 1928, passenger and publicity superintendent, and then temporary business manager of the Brisbane office in April 1931. He returned to Sydney, and then to the Melbourne office, where he became temporary office manager, a position which became permanent in December 1933; and back to the Sydney office in 1937.

All this time, he remained active in the part-time Militia, commanding the 19th Infantry Battalion from 1921 to 1925. He became commander of the 36th Infantry Battalion on 1 August 1926. He was promoted to colonel in 1933, and was appointed to command the 14th Infantry Brigade on 1 January 1933. When he moved to Melbourne in 1934, he transferred to command of the 15th Infantry Brigade, then part of the 3rd Division under Major General Sir Thomas Blamey. On returning to Sydney in 1937, he assumed command of the 5th Infantry Brigade. During a visit to England in 1937 as part of his duties with the Orient Line, he had occasion to observe the British Army on manoeuvres in East Anglia, and was impressed by the pace of modern mechanised forces. He also realised that the Australian Army was lagging a long way behind in terms of both human and technical resources. He was promoted to brigadier in 1938. Known for his right-wing views even before the war, he was also a member of the clandestine far-right wing paramilitary organisation the New Guard.

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