The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Captain (later Lieutenant General) James Legge

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: James Gorden Legge

Ancestor's date of birth: 15/08/1863

Ancestor's date of death: 18/09/1947

Cause of Death: old age

Service Number: Officer - no number

Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: Sydney

Unit: NSW Infantry Company later E Squadron 1st NSW Mounted Rifles

Rank attained in Boer War: CAPT, Date Effective: 1894

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): LTGEN, Date Effective: 14/01/1924

Murray Page: 38, 39

Contingent: First New South Wales

Ship: Aberdeen, Date of Sailing: 03/11/1899

Memorial details: Buried at Cheltenham Cemetery Victoria. In accordance with his wishes, no monument or headstone marks his grave.

Decorations: King and Queen's South Africa medals with clasps. World War 1 medals, reputed to have refused imperial honours (should be awarded a posthumous AC, an honour he would have accepted).

Personal Characteristics: Highly competent commander and trainer of soldiers.

Reasons to go and fight: An officer of the NSW Permanent Military Forces

Details of service in war: The company left for South Africa in November 1899, and on arrival was incorporated in the Australian Regiment. Originally an infantry unit, this became mounted in February. Legge agitated for a separate identity for the New South Wales contingent, with the result that on 7 April 1900, the Australian Regiment was disbanded, and colonial contingents formed into a new mounted division under Lieutenant General Sir Ian Hamilton. Legge's company was incorporated into the 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles and he became adjutant. He saw action at Vet River, Zand River, Diamond Hill and Eland's River. In December 1900, his company had completed its twelve month enlistment and returned to Australia. Legge remained, serving as intelligence officer to Lieutenant Colonel H. de B. De Lisle.

Service and life after the Boer War: On return to Australia, Legge was granted the brevet rank of major. In 1904 he published a handbook on military law. Then on 1 September 1904, he was promoted to major and given the post of Deputy Assistant Adjutant General at Second Military District Headquarters in Sydney, and then Assistant Adjutant General from December 1905. In 1907 he began working with Colonel W. T. Bridges at Army Headquarters in Melbourne on a Universal service scheme, which eventually became a reality in 1909. With the rank of temporary lieutenant colonel, Legge became Quartermaster General and a member of the Military Board in January 1909. Legge continued to serve as an officer of the permanent military forces, promoted major general he commanded the second division with great skill at Pozziers in 1916. Returned to Australia ill he continued to serve as Chief of the General Staff, then Commandant Royal Military College Duntroon CLICK HERE for a detailed biography.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: George Legge, Melbourne VIC
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields