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RUSI of NSW

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    Army Museum of NSW - Medals of the Month


Medals of the Month - June 2020


Medals awarded to George Leonard Lee.
L-R: Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), Distinguished Service Order (DSO), Queen's South Africa Medal with six clasps - Belfast, Diamond Hill, Johannesburg, Driefontein, Paardeberg, Relief of Kimberley.

1860. Born at West Maitland, NSW on 25th June, the son of a draper and merchant. Educated at West Maitland, then later at Armidale Grammar School.

1889. Joins the Hunter River troop (Maitland Light Horse) of the NSW Lancers as a Trooper. Commissioned 4 October as a Second Lieutenant.


George Leonard Lee as a junior officer.

1890. Lee appointed Adjutant of the partially paid cavalry and mounted rifles who were enrolled in Sydney as NSW Special Police. This force was the first-time militia had been mobilized in NSW and Victoria. They were mobilized to help break the strike between the Mercantile Marine Officers' Association and the Steamship Owners' Association of Victoria.

1890. Lee sails for England for military training at the Cavalry School (horsemanship), the Army Service Corps School, and the School of Musketry. Followed by a short attachment with the 20th Hussars at Aldershot.

1892. Returns to Australia and joins the NSW Permanent Military Forces with the rank of Captain and posted as Adjutant of the NSW Lancers.

1892-1902. Staff Officer of the Mounted Brigade and Commandant of the Cavalry School.

1899. Boer War breaks out. Lee now a Major, given command of NSW Lancers squadron in South Africa, attached to Lieutenant General French’s column. For his service during the Boer War, Lee is awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Queen's South Africa Medal with six clasps. He was also mentioned in despatches. He kept a diary during his time in South Africa. It is held in the Lancers' Museum, Parramatta an online rendition can be accessed HERE.

1902. Lee returns to Australia and resumes duty with the Australian Military Forces (AMF) as Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief Staff Officer of Victoria, with the brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


George Leonard Lee as a Colonel.

1911. Appointed Commandant of Tasmania.

1912. Appointed Commandant of Queensland.

1915-1920. ADC to the Governor-General of Australia.

1917. Appointed CMG and returns to Sydney as temporary Commandant of NSW.

1918. Lee granted an extension of service and promoted honorary Major General.

1920. Retires as honorary Lieutenant General.

1920-1939. Works two oyster leases at Port Stephens, NSW.

1939. Passes away on 13 April at Burwood, NSW.

Members of the public are most welcome to visit the Australian Army Museum of New South Wales to see these medals and many other interesting objects. Please click here for visiting arrangements.


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