Major General Robert (Bob) Arthur Hay CB, MBE

Bob Hay always wanted to become a professional soldier.  His army career which started in 1937  and  ended with his retirement 40 years later,  was  as distinguished as it was  long. He attended BGS for three  years as a boarder (his parents lived in Hamilton) and  finished  as School Captain. He was  an outstanding cricketer and footballer, and  a Cadet Lieutenant of the Cadet Corps. After BGS,  Bob entered the Royal Military College (Duntroon) where he was  equally  successful. He was appointed Battalion  Sergeant Major, awarded the Sword of Honour  (military equivalent of the Rhodes Prize)  and attained full sporting colours for tennis, cricket,  rugby union and  boxing. Bob rose  in rank to become Australia’s most  senior soldier. During the Second World War he held various appointments, serving in Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and  Japan. By 1945  Bob had  been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel  and  been awarded the MBE for his wartime  services. The citation for this award stated he was  an “officer of exceptional ability and efficiency”. In December 1956,  at just 36 and  holding the rank of Colonel, Bob was  appointed Military Attaché in Washington, D.C., which also  involved being  the Military Advisor to the Australian High Commissioner in Ottawa, Canada. These were  to be two of a number of appointments which were  to be of a diplomatic  as well as a military nature. A significant  appointment in his career occurred in March 1969  when  he became Commander for the Australian Force Vietnam. In recognition of his distinguished service in that difficult theatre of war he was  awarded the honour of Companion of the Order  of the Bath (CB). The citation to this award records that appointment: “The harmonious relations which exist between the Australian Force and the United States and Vietnamese High Commands are due  in no small measure to the efforts of Major General Hay.” In March 1973  he returned to Duntroon to head up the Military College before retiring from the Army in 1977.

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