Gavin Merrick Long OBE (31 May 1901 – 10 October 1968) was an
Australian journalist and military historian. He was the general
editor of the official history series Australia in the War of
1939–1945 and the author of three of its 22 volumes.
1 Early life
3 Military historian
Gavin Long was born in Foster, Victoria, the eldest of six children of
George Merrick Long, a clergyman. He was educated at Trinity Grammar
School where his father was headmaster, and All Saints College,
He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the
University of Sydney
University of Sydney in
1922 and worked as a teacher in 1922 and 1923. After working as a
jackeroo in 1924 Long travelled to England in 1925 so that he could
marry Mary Jocelyn Britten. During his time in England he worked at
Australia House and was married on 5 September 1925. Two weeks after
their marriage Long and his wife returned to Australia.
After his return to Australia, Long worked as a journalist and moved
between several newspapers. In 1930 he was made a senior reporter at
the Melbourne Argus but was later reduced in rank due to the impact of
Great Depression on the paper. He was appointed a sub-editor at
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Sydney Morning Herald in July 1931 and held this job until he was
posted to the Herald's London office in 1938.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Long was a correspondent
to the British Expeditionary Force in France and was evacuated from
Boulogne in May 1940. In November 1940, he was sent to Egypt where he
reported on the 6th Australian Division during its campaigns in North
Africa and Greece. Long was recalled to Australia in mid-1941 where he
continued writing on defence matters.
Long (front row, second from right) with the other authors of the
official history series at a meeting in 1954
In March 1943
Gavin Long was appointed general editor of the Australia
in the War of 1939–1945, a 22-volume official history of Australia's
involvement in the Second World War, on the recommendation of C.E.W.
Bean, the editor of the Official History of Australia in the War of
1914–1918. Based at the
Australian War Memorial
Australian War Memorial in Canberra, he
spent the remainder of the war planning the series and visiting
forward areas to interview members of the Australian military.
After the war Long played a key role in the official history project.
As well as providing guidance to the other authors, he wrote three of
the volumes in the series (To Benghazi (published 1952), Greece, Crete
and Syria (1953) and The Final Campaigns (1963). He retired as general
editor in 1963 as the project was nearing completion and he did not
believe that a full-time editor was required. Long's books were well
received by reviewers and his close involvement with the other authors
gave the series a unity of purpose and method. Long was appointed an
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1953 for his services as
editor of the official history. In 1956 he was awarded the Greek
Gold Cross of the Royal Order of the Phoenix.
Gavin Long continued to write after his retirement from the official
history project. He was a research fellow with the Australian
Dictionary of Biography, was part of the team which produced the
Australian Government's Style Guide and contributed over 90 articles
Canberra Times. He also wrote two further military history
books, MacArthur as Military Commander (published in 1969) and The Six
Years War (1973), which was a concise summary of Australia's
involvement in the Second World War. The Six Years War was written
well before it was published, but its publication was delayed while
the final volumes in the official history series were completed.
Gavin Long died of lung cancer on 10 October 1968 at his home in
Deakin, Australian Capital Territory, and was cremated.
^ "LONG, Gavin Merrick". It's an Honour. Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gavin Long.
Dennis, Peter (1995). "Long, Gavin Merrick". The Oxford Companion to
Australian Military History. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
pp. 359–360. ISBN 0-19-553227-9.
Maclean, Ian (1993). A Guide to the Records of Gavin Long. Canberra:
Australian War Memorial. ISBN 0-642-19681-8.
Stanley, Peter (2003). "
Gavin Long and History at the Australian War
Memorial". In Jeffrey Grey. The last word? Essays on official history
in the United States and British Commonwealth. Westport: Praeger.
Sweeting, A.J. (2000). "Long, Gavin Merrick (1901–1968)". Australian
Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University.
ISNI: 0000 0000 8268 846X