Monday, August 04, 2014
Promoting General Lavarack to command the I Australian Corps was a reasonable thing to do. He was a Lieutenant-General, although to get a command in the war, he had accepted command of the 7th Australian Division as a Major-General. He had previously been the Chief of the Australian General Staff, so he had experience as very senior officer. General Lavarack had been commander of the force in the Western Desert, but had been replaced by General Beresford-Peirse, who was junior to him. General Lavarack had a more experienced staff than that of the 6th Australian Division. The brigade commanders in the 7th Division would be operating independently, off in separate directions, so their role was very important. Brigadier Stevens had been a signal corps officer, and had been in the militia pre-war. General Lavarack had been selected Stevens from the 6th Division in 1940 to form the 21st Brigade. He was very junior and had been a 22 year old subaltern in 1918. He was the youngest Australian brigadier. This is based on the account in Vol.II of the Australian Official History.