Confused Commanders

  • Yorick Smaal
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Christmas 1943 brought an unwelcome surprise for Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead, the Commander of New Guinea Force. He received a memo from his chief provost Major Norman Cooper, alerting him to the possibility that a significant number of Australian soldiers under his command were queer. Morshead had just received his first indication of what Eric, the 21-year old Australian soldier and self-identified girl, and his kind were up to. Cooper explained that two men had already confessed to perverted practices; and more were on the way.


Personality Type Psychiatric Assessment Disciplinary Action Civilian Court Genuine Case 
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  1. 6.
    Yorick Smaal and Graham Willett, ‘Eliminate the “Females”: The New Guinea Affair and Medical Approaches to Homosexuality in the Australian Army in the Second World War’, in Legacies of the Pacific: Aftermaths, Remembrance and Culture, eds Christina Twomey and Ernest Koh (London: Routledge, 2015), 233–49.Google Scholar
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  8. Emma Vickers, Queen and Country: Same-Sex Desire in the British Armed Forces, 1939–45 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 132.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Yorick Smaal 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yorick Smaal
    • 1
  1. 1.Griffith UniversityAustralia

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