Brigadier Raymond Walter Tovell CBE, DSO and Bar, ED
After BGS Raymond studied accountancy qualifying in 1911, then continued his studies in London in 1912 to 1913, after which he began work as an auditor in Melbourne. Ever since his days as a cadet at BGS Raymond Tovell was interested in soldiering. On 28 April 1915 Raymond enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Unbeknown to him, his elder brother John had been killed in action at Gallipoli three days previously. During WWI (1914 to 1918) Raymond rose from Private to Brigade Major and won the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). After the war Raymond stayed in Britain until he finished his professional training as an accountant, then returned to Australia to commence practice. Resuming work as a public accountant, Raymond set up a partnership, Tovell & Lucas. Military service followed throughout all the years of peace between the wars, including leading the 46th Battalion (Brighton Rifles) in 1932 to 1938. On the outbreak of WWII Raymond was promoted to Brigadier. He is remembered for his cheerfulness and simple philosophy combined with great leadership in action. He suffered shellshock in France, fought many battles and held many appointments and at the end of the war, he returned to civil life with the CBE, DSO and Bar and two mentions in despatches. Raymond won the Bar to his DSO for his part in the successful withdrawal to Tobruk, Libya, in April 1941 and for the manner in which his men subsequently resisted strong attacks and conducted raids on the enemy. It is recorded throughout the operations Ray displayed ‘ability, resourcefulness, thoroughness and keenness of the highest order’. After the war he became the Chief Patron of the Rats of Tobruk Association. Raymond was prominent in all civic affairs serving as a Brighton City Councillor (1924 to 1926), President (1928 to 1935) of the local branch of the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia, a founding member of the Brighton Grammar School Council, a member of the Firbank Grammar School Council, a director of the Great Melbourne Orphanage and supporter of Brighton Technical School. In 1945 Raymond entered the Legislative Assembly as the Liberal Party Member for Brighton, a role he held for eight years. He was the Minister of Education between 1948 and 1950 and again in 1952. Raymond was a foundation member of the Brighton Grammarians’ Lodge and held high office in freemasonry as a member of the Grand Lodge.
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