Victor Stantke

Victor Stantke

Major General Victor Stantke, January 1944
Born 15 August 1886
Fitzroy, Victoria
Died 1967
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1911–46
Rank Major General
Commands held Queensland Lines of Communication Area
Battles/wars First World War
Second World War
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Major General Victor Paul Hildebrandt Stantke, CBE (15 August 1886 – 1967) was a senior officer in the Australian Army, serving during the First World War and Second World War. His appointments were mainly to staff and administrative postings, including holding the position of Adjutant-General from 1940 to 1943, and commander Queensland Lines of Communication Area from 1943 to 1946.


Stantke was born in Fitzroy, Victoria, on 15 August 1886.[1] Educated at the University of Melbourne, he served in the Australian Military Forces as a senior cadet from 1906, and was commissioned through this scheme, reaching the rank of captain by 1909. However, after working as teacher at Brighton Grammar School, in 1911 he relinquished his previous rank and joined the Permanent Military Forces.[2][3][4] In the Permanent Force, he was appointed to the Administrative and Instructional Staff (A & I Staff), as a lieutenant,[2] before transferring to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War, and being posted as the adjutant of the 29th Battalion on the Western Front during 1917 and 1918. Promoted to captain,[5] in 1919 he served as Deputy Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Division before returning to Australia later that year.[3]

In the inter-war years Stantke returned to the Permanent Force and as a member of the Australian Staff Corps[2] held various staff and administrative posts.[6] In 1928 Stanke, by then a major, was part of a committee which examined the mechanization of the Australian Military Forces.[7] Later postings included that of Director, Organisation and Personnel Services, and Director, Mobilisation at Army Headquarters in Melbourne from 1933 to 1935,[8] during which time he was promoted to lieutenant colonel.[6] In 1935 he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.[9][10] In 1936 and 1937 he undertook training in Great Britain at the Senior Officers' School in Sheerness.[3] From 1937 to 1939 he was posted to the 4th Military District as both the Assistant Adjutant & Quartermaster-General and as Instructional Group Commander, before being posted to same positions in the 2nd Military District in 1939.[6]

Following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he was raised in rank to colonel. In October that year he was appointed Brigadier in Charge of Administration, Eastern Command after temporary promotion to brigadier; however, in June 1940 he took up the position of Adjutant-General, Army Headquarters on promotion to major general, serving in that role until 1943.[8][3][6] During this time he directed the assembly of a Court of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the events of the Japanese landings in New Britain, Timor and Ambon in 1942, including the subsequent massacre of Australian personnel and civilians at Tol plantation.[11] He also supported proposals which later resulted in the establishment of Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs (DORCA)[12][13][14] and of the Australian Army Education Service (AAES).[1][15] In 1943 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[16][17] Yet, the Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Thomas Blamey, reportedly had not been "satisfied" with Stantke's performance as Adjutant-General and he was replaced by Major General Charles Lloyd.[18] Blamey had felt that Stantke was "obstructionist and was unwilling to visit forward areas, or even leave Melbourne."[19] Stantke subsequently served as commander of the Queensland Lines of Communication Area during 1943–46.[1][20]

Stantke retired from the permanent forces in 1946.[21][22] He died in 1967.[6] His funeral was held on 31 May at St Alban's Church of England in Armadale, Victoria and was attended by the then Minister for the Army, Malcolm Fraser. He was cremated at Springvale Crematorium.[23]


  1. 1 2 3 Long 1963, p. 84.
  2. 1 2 3 NAA: B4717, Stantke/Victor Paul Hildebrand. National Archives of Australia. p. 30. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Men in Uniform: Major-General V. P. H. Stantke, Former Schoolmaster". The Mercury. CLIV (22,167). Hobart, Tasmania. 15 December 1941. p. 3. ISSN 1039-9992.
  4. "New L of C Commander was Teacher". The Telegraph. Brisbane, Queensland. 25 February 1943. p. 3. ISSN 2205-1430.
  5. "Victor Paul Hildebrand Stantke". Honours and Awards. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Ammentorp, Steen. "Biography of Lieutenant-General Victor Paul Hildebrand Stantke (1886–1967)". Generals of World War II. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  7. Grey 2001, p. 95.
  8. 1 2 "Stantke Place". Environment and Planning Directorate. ACT Government. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  9. "Stantke, Victor Paul Hildebrand: The Order of the British Empire – Officer (Military)". Its an Honour. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  10. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119. p. 8. 1 January 1935. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  11. Hasluck 1970, p. 674.
  12. Ryan, Peter (1993). "Conlon, Alfred Austin Joseph (Alf) (1908–1961)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Volume 13. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522845129.
  13. Sligo, Graeme (July 2010). "R. D. ('Pansy') Wright and WWII" (PDF). UMA Bulletin. Carlton, Victoria: University of Melbourne (No. 27): 1–2. ISSN 1320-5838. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 November 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  14. Gray, Munro & Winter 2011, p. 57.
  15. Jones, Roger. "The Origins of the RAAEC". Nashos: Australian National Servicemen Who Taught in PNG 1966–73 in the RAAEC. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  16. "Stantke, Victor Paul Hildebrand: The Order of the British Empire – Commander (Military)". Its an Honour. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36033. p. 2425. 2 June 1943. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  18. Charlton 1983, p. 24.
  19. Horner 1978, p. 270.
  20. "Stantke Hands over Command". The Central Queensland Herald. 17, (900). Rockhampton, Queensland. 13 June 1946. p. 18. ISSN 1838-9783.
  21. "Biographical cuttings on Victor Paul Hildebrand Stantke, Major General, officer in the Permanent Military Forces from 1911 to 1946". Catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  22. "Maj. Gen. Stantke to Retire". Queensland Times (18,466). Ipswich, Queensland. 7 February 1946. p. 1. ISSN 1329-5950.
  23. "Eighty people at funeral". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria. 1 June 1967. p. 6. ISSN 0312-6307.


  • Charlton, Peter (1983). The Unnecessary War: Island Campaigns of the South-West Pacific 1944–45. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Macmillan Australia. ISBN 0-333-35628-4. 
  • Gray, Geoffrey; Munro, Doug; Winter, Christine (2011). Scholars at War: Australasian Social Scientists, 1939–1945. Action, Australian Capital Territory: ANU E Press. ISBN 9781921862502. 
  • Grey, Jeffrey (2001). The Australian Army. The Australian Centenary History of Defence. Volume I. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195541146. 
  • Horner, David (1978). Crisis of Command: Australian Generalship and the Japanese Threat, 1941–1943. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Australian National University Press. ISBN 0708113451. 
  • Long, Gavin (1963). The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army. Volume VII. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 1297619. 
  • Hasluck, Paul (1970). The Government and the People, 1942–1945. Australia in the War of 1939–1945: Series 4 – Civil. Volume II. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 33346943. 
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