Cyril Albert Clowes

#57657, b. 1892, d. 1968

Individual's Timeline

Birth1892Cyril Albert Clowes
Death of Mother13 August 1898Beatrice Hall Odling
Death of Father1962Albert Clowes1
Death1968Cyril Albert Clowes

Primary events

Some aspects of Cyril Albert Clowes's life. Please read - the Australian War memorial magazine Wartime had the following article. data: Compiled from publicly available sources.

Some aspects of Cyril Albert Clowes's life. Phillip Bradley (Historian)

The battle of Milne Bay

Phillip Bradley

Milne Bay, at the eastern end of the New Guinea mainland, was strategically important for both the Allies and the Japanese in the Second World War. On the night of 25 August 1942 the Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces went ashore well to the east of the airfields which were at the head of the bay. Locally based RAAF Kittyhawks ruled the skies by day but at night the landing force pressed on towards the airfields. The Australian commander, Major General Clowes, faced with unchallenged enemy naval control of Milne Bay, had to guard against further landings, which limited his options and irritated his impatient superiors, Generals Blamey and MacArthur. The battle climaxed with the costly attacks across the well defended No. 3 airfield site on the night of 31 August. From then on it was a fight to push the Japanese back to their landing place, from where the remnants were evacuated on the night of 6 September, leaving behind up to 36 Australian and 59 native victims of massacres. The battle for Milne Bay was one of the pivotal battles of the Pacific war, and the first complete Japanese defeat on land in that conflict. As Field Marshal Sir William Slim later wrote, “It was the Australian soldiers who first broke the spell of the invincibility of the Japanese Army.”

Phillip Bradley, a scientist by profession, has had a lifetime interest in military history. Two years working in Papua New Guinea led to his first book, On Shaggy Ridge (2004), about where his father had fought. This was followed by books on other long-forgotten New Guinea battles, The battle for Wau (2008) and To Salamaua (2010). All his books are characterised by extensive battlefield research. He also writes for After the battle and Wartime magazines and leads treks for Kokoda Treks and Tours. His fifth book, Hell’s battlefield: the Australians in New Guinea in World War II, will be published in August 2012.
His life was recorded thus ~~ Lieutenant General Cyril Albert Clowes CBE, DSO, MC (11 March 1892 – 19 May 1968) was an Australian soldier. He won the first land victory against the Japanese in the Second World War, at the Battle of Milne Bay, New Guinea. Like many other senior officers involved in the Papuan campaign, he was then transferred to a less important posting by General Sir Thomas Blamey.

Cyril Albert CLOWES was born in Warwick (Brisbane) Queensland 1892.

He is the son of Albert CLOWES (a queensland dentist).

Albert is the son of Charlotte BASE from Norwich. She moved to Queensland from England 1882 when she was 46, with her husband and most of her children. Hubby was a chemist and druggist

Charlotte is the daughter of William BASE, your 4x Great Grandfather.

William was a successful shoemaker. He had 9 children in 18 years with his first wife, then married again when he was 54 (in 1849)

The above is just to show the relationship to you and me. This comes from Porky's side of the family.

Cyril was a decorated soldier. CBE (Commander of the British Empire), DSO (Distinguished Service Order, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat) and the MC (Military Cross, granted in recognition of "an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land to all members, of any rank in Our Armed Forces"

He was at the Gallipolis landing on the first day, serving as a forward observation officer and directing naval gunfire against Turkish positions. He was wounded at Gallipolis. After he recuperated Clowes was promoted to captain in the 2nd Divisional Artillery in Egypt during January 1916.

In 1916 he was on the Western Front, serving as the 2nd Division's Trench Mortar Officer and was awarded the Military Cross. He received a promotion to major in January 1917 and the following year was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his work at Villers-Bretonneux.

That spells out some serious involvement in the major touch points for Australian forces in WW1.

He stayed in the amy and was an instructor at Duntroon.

At the outbreak of WW2 he was promoted, and sent to Greece in 1940. He lost the battle but his tactics minimised casualties.

He returned to AU, and was again promoted, and sent to Milne Bay. (Milne Bay, New Guinea, was the site of a large newly built airfield, crucial in all the New Guinea Battles) He took over Command of Milne Force 4 days before the Japanese attacked, beginning the Battle of Milne Bay.

Internal Army Politics caused him not to be recognised for his good work. He was recalled to AU and sidelined for the rest of the war.

His chief staff officer at Milne Bay, Colonel Fred Chilton, said he was " … a fine commander and a steady man. He was a cautious man … this was reflected in his dispositions [of troops]. The only thing I think he can be criticised for, is his lack of public relations – for not sending back phoney reports about what a wonderful job he was doing … his reports were confined to purely military operations and didn't give the boys back in Melbourne what they wanted. At that stage most of them didn't have a clue about fighting battles anyway…

He was known as "Silent" Cyril Clowes. In A Bastard of a Place : The Australians in Papua, Australian historian Peter Brune explained why; " Clowes was a man of few words to those he knew and even less to those he did not. His quiet, calm disposition merely masked a professional, highly trained and courageous officer who was at his best in a crisis."

Full story at

Family of Cyril Albert Clowes and Jack Magennis


  1. Unknown name of person, DB - Qld BDM on line, 1962     C9924     Albert     Clowes     William Church Clowes     Charlotte Rebecca Hall.
  2. Wikipedia,