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Stevens, Jack Edwin Stawell (1896-1969)


Photograph of Jack E. Stevens

Australian War Memorial

Jack Stevens was born to a working class family in Victoria and went to work in a cigar factory at age 12. In 1915 he joined the post office as a clerk in the electrical engineer's branch. He served a year in the militia before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 2 July 1915, was trained in signals, and quickly rose through the ranks. He fought with distinction at Pozières and at the Ypres salient, Belgium, and received a battlefield commission on 17 January 1917. He remained in the militia following the First World War, and was selected in April 1940 to activate 21 Brigade, being promoted directly to temporary brigadier. He commanded the brigade in Syria, winning distinction by personally leading the difficult assault across the Litani River in spite of being wounded.

Stevens returned with his brigade to Australia in March 1942 and was promoted to command of 4 Division. Over the next few months he was given additional responsibility for militia and service forces in northern Australia, culminating with command of the newly raised 12 Division. In April 1943 he took command of 6 Division at Aitape. Early in 1945 he controversially ordered the division to aggressively probe eastwards toward Wewak, where the Japanese at Wewak were isolated and struggling simply to feed themselves.

Stevens was a short, slender man, but "waspishly aggressive and persistent". Following his retirement, he was active in the development of atomic energy in Australia.

Service record

1896-9-7     

Born at Daylesford, Victoria
1915-7-2
Private
Enlists in Australian Imperial Force
1916-3
Sergeant

1917-1-17
Second lieutenant     
Battlefield commission
1918-4
First lieutenant

1922
Captain

1923

2 Cavalry Division
1924
Major

1926
Lieutenant colonel     
4 Division
1929

3 Division
1935     
    
Commander, 57/60 Battalion
1939-10-13     

6 Division
1940-4
Brigadier    
Commander, 21 Brigade
1942-4
Major general     
Commander, 4 Division
1942-12

Commander, 12 Division
1943-4

Commander, 6 Division
1945-8

Assistant commissioner, Commonwealth Public Service Board
1947

Commander, 2 Division
1950

Military Board
1950-7-1

Retires
1969

Dies


References
Australian Dictionary of Biography (accessed 2010-8-16)

Generals.dk (accessed 2010-8-16)


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