Remembering the Battle of Hamel: Lessons Learned

By Lt. General Angus Campbell, Chief of the Australian Defence Force

To mark the occasion of the centenary of the Battle of Hamel the inaugural Hamel Oration was delivered by Lieutenant General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC, incoming Chief of Defence Force.

Lieutenant General Campbell offered his reflections on the significance of the attack and its Commander, Lieutenant General John Monash.

Hamel reinforces the truism that an Army is made of its people.

A democratic nation’s Army is as good as the support its citizens, its government and its coalition partners. In this respect Australia was, and is,

the lucky country.

Monash as Corps Commander was the ‘right man at the right time’.

His intellect, drive and, dare I say it, ambition, combined with decades of professional development and four years’ wartime command experience, delivered a smart victory.

Yet Monash alone could achieve nothing.

He was reliant upon the other 150,000 Australians in the Australian Corps in order to achieve the goal. This is the story of otherwise ‘ordinary’ Australians, people such as Marks, Dalziel and Axford; doing extraordinary things in incredibly trying circumstances.

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