Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899–1956)

by Chris Clark

This article was published:

Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899-1956), by Ivor Hele, 1944

Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899-1956), by Ivor Hele, 1944

Australian War Memorial, ART23697

Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899-1956), army officer, was born on 2 February 1899 at South Fremantle, Western Australia, second and sole surviving child of Thomas Edward Lloyd, postmaster, and his wife Edith, née Lock, both native-born. His parents separated in 1901 and his father committed suicide two years later. Edith worked as a telephone attendant at Coolgardie and Fremantle (from 1909) while raising her son. Educated at Beaconsfield, Fremantle Boys' Central and Perth Modern schools, Charles entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon, Federal Capital Territory, in February 1915. Fellow cadets nicknamed him 'Gaffer' because of his serious demeanour.

Graduating as lieutenant in 1918, Lloyd was sent to complete his training with British Army units in England (1919) and India (1920), following which he held staff appointments with the field artillery in Victoria and New South Wales. At St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, Caulfield West, Melbourne, on 31 December 1921 he married Sybil Drummond. He studied at the University of Sydney (LL.B., 1925) and, after attending the Staff College at Camberley, England (1932-33), was appointed brigade major of the 4th Divisional Artillery in Melbourne; he was promoted major in 1937. Next year he was posted to Army Headquarters as deputy assistant director (later assistant-director) of artillery.

On 13 October 1939 Lloyd was seconded to the Australian Imperial Force and was assistant quartermaster general, I Corps, when he sailed for the Middle East in May 1940. As a colonel on 9th Division headquarters (from 24 December) he was chief of staff to Major General (Sir) Leslie Morshead during the siege of Tobruk (April to October 1941); he subsequently served as chief liaison officer at A.I.F. Headquarters, Middle East. His record in North Africa cemented his reputation as a capable professional and a staff officer 'of uncommon intellectual gifts'. He was appointed C.B.E. (1941). In January-February 1942 he was deputy intendant-general in General Sir Archibald (Earl) Wavell's Australian-British-Dutch-American Command, Netherlands East Indies. He held the temporary rank of major general in the post and Wavell judged him 'a staff officer of great quality'.

Back in Melbourne, Lloyd reverted to brigadier and had two brief postings before July 1942 when he was made director of staff duties, Allied Land Forces Headquarters, South-West Pacific Area. In September Lieutenant General (Sir) Sydney Rowell asked for him as brigadier, general staff, I Corps, in Papua, but in February 1943 the commander-in-chief General Sir Thomas Blamey appointed him adjutant-general at L.H.Q. Once more a temporary major general, Lloyd was entrusted with rejuvenating this key staff branch. He flew to London in July 1945 to represent Australia at a conference on the reorganization of the S.W.P.A. Home again, in December he was an expert witness before (Sir) George Ligertwood's inquiry into Lieutenant General Gordon Bennett's escape from Singapore.

Blamey's successor Lieutenant General (Sir) Vernon Sturdee decided to send Lloyd to Washington as head of the Australian Military Mission—allegedly in retaliation for perceived earlier obstructiveness. Because the post was of reduced military importance in peacetime, Lloyd believed that his prospects of advancement were at an end. He left the army and was placed on the Reserve of Officers on 25 February 1946 as honorary major general; he had been thrice mentioned in dispatches in 1941-42.

Deputy managing director of the Melbourne Argus and Australasian Ltd for eight months in 1946, Lloyd found the newspaper world uncongenial. His attempt to gain Liberal Party pre-selection that year for a seat in Federal parliament proved abortive. Family evidence suggests that he suffered a breakdown at this point, brought on by regret at his hasty resignation from the army. Appointment as a member of the government committee which reported in 1948 on the administration of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan marked his recovery. From August he represented the International Refugee Organization in Australia. He was in the Republic of (South) Korea in 1951-53 as chief of mission for the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency. Gripped by anything to do with postwar reconstruction, he returned to Australia and was vice-chairman of Navcot (Aust.) Pty Ltd which was associated with shipping refugees from Europe.

Lloyd's hobbies were woodworking and model engineering. On a visit to relations in Western Australia, he died of jaundice on 31 May 1956 in the Repatriation General Hospital, Hollywood, Perth. He was buried with Anglican rites in Karrakatta cemetery; his wife, daughter and two sons survived him. A portrait (1944) of Lloyd by (Sir) Ivor Hele is held by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Select Bibliography

  • G. Long, To Benghazi (Canb, 1952)
  • G. Long, The Final Campaigns (Canb, 1963)
  • L. Wigmore, The Japanese Thrust (Canb, 1957)
  • B. Maughan, Tobruk and El Alamein (Canb, 1966)
  • J. Hetherington, Blamey, Controversial Soldier (Canb, 1973)
  • S. F. Rowell, Full Circle (Melb, 1974)
  • D. M. Horner, High Command (Canb, 1982)
  • A. B. Lodge, The Fall of General Gordon Bennett (Syd, 1986)
  • Reveille (Sydney), 1 Nov 1939
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Jan, 11 Mar 1942
  • West Australian, 1 June 1956
  • private information.

Citation details

Chris Clark, 'Lloyd, Charles Edward Maurice (1899–1956)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 25 April 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899-1956), by Ivor Hele, 1944

Charles Edward Maurice Lloyd (1899-1956), by Ivor Hele, 1944

Australian War Memorial, ART23697

Life Summary [details]


2 February, 1899
Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia


31 May, 1956 (aged 57)
Hollywood, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.