John Coates (general)
Major General John Coates in 1985
|Born||28 December 1932|
Adelaide, South Australia
|Died||11 June 2018 (aged 85)|
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
|Years of service||1953–1992|
|Commands held||Chief of the General Staff (1990–92)|
Royal Military College, Duntroon (1983–84)
3rd Cavalry Regiment (1971)
|Awards||Companion of the Order of Australia|
Member of the Order of the British Empire
Lieutenant General Henry John Coates, (28 December 1932 – 11 June 2018) was a senior officer in the Australian Army who served as Chief of the General Staff from 1990 to 1992. After retiring from the Army he became an author and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Defence Force Academy branch of the University of New South Wales, pursuing aspects of Australia's military history.
Coates was born in Adelaide, South Australia, on 28 December 1932 to George Coates and his wife Gwenyth (née Begg). Educated at Ipswich Grammar School in Queensland, Coates graduated from the Royal Military College, Duntroon into the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in 1955.
Coates was granted his first regimental posting in 1956 to the 1st Armoured Regiment. He served with the unit until 1958, when he was promoted to captain and reassigned as adjutant of the 10th Light Horse Regiment for a period of two years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia in 1962, before completing Honours at the Australian National University in 1965.
He was posted to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and, as a major, was deployed to Vietnam. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1971. He graduated with a Master of Arts from the Australian National University in 1975. He subsequently became Commanding Officer of his Regiment.
Coates was appointed Commandant of the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1983 and Head of the Defence Staff in Washington, D.C. in 1984; he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1987 in recognition of his service there.
He was appointed Assistant Chief of the Defence Force (Policy) in 1987 and appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1990; he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1992 in recognition of his service to the Australian Army, particularly in that role.
In retirement he wrote a number of books about the Australian Army and Australian military history. These include:
- Suppressing insurgency: an analysis of the Malayan Emergency, 1948–1954 (1992)
- Review of the Ready Reserve scheme (co-authored with Hugh Smith, 1995)
- Bravery above blunder: the 9th Division at Finschhafen, Sattelberg and Sio (1999)
- The Australian centenary history of defence, co-editor (2001)
- An atlas of Australia's wars, volume 7 of The Australian centenary history of defence (OUP, Melbourne, 2001)
- An atlas of Australia's wars, 2nd edition, 2006.
- "Lieutenant General Henry John Coates". Who's Who in Australia Online. ConnectWeb. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
- Papers of John Coates, 1916–1994, MS 366, Academy Library, UNSW@ADFA
- Henry John COATES Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans, www.vietnamroll.gov.au
- Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), 21 December 1971, It's an Honour. Gazetted: 16 December 1971, page 7595, position 7
- 17023 Lieutenant General Henry John Coates, (Rtd), Australian Military Units, Australian War Memorial
- Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), 26 January 1987, It's an Honour.
- Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), 26 January 1992, It's an Honour
- Coates, John (1992). Suppressing insurgency : an analysis of the Malayan Emergency, 1948–1954. Westview Press, Boulder. ISBN 978-0-8133-1436-5.
- Coates, John (1999). Bravery Above Blunder: The 9th Australian Division at Finschhafen, Sattelberg and Sio. Oxford University Press, Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-550837-8.
- Lieutenant General John Coates Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Visiting Fellow, Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW@ADFA
- "Vale Lieutenant-General Henry John Coates". Old Boy News. Ipswich Grammar Old Boys. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
- Bio of Major General John Coates, appearing at the end of Moral on the Battlefield, Defence Force Journal, No. 45, March/April 1984, p. 16
- Who's who in Australia 2007, p. 469–470.
- MBE – Major John Coates, Awards and Decorations – 3rd Cavalry Regiment, www.australian-armour.com
- 1990 portrait by Heide Smith
Lieutenant General Lawrence O'Donnell
| Chief of the General Staff
Lieutenant General John Grey